When Should I Call The Doctor
In rare cases, toenail fungus can cause an infection called cellulitis. Without prompt treatment, cellulitis may pose a serious danger to your health.
You should seek treatment guidance from a trusted healthcare provider if you have:
- Circulation problems.
- Redness, pain or pus near the toenail.
- Weakened immune system.
Signs And Symptoms Of Foot Fungus
Itchy skin is an early sign of foot fungus, or scaly, peeling skin, or tiny blisters on the skin that will pop at times, says Sundling. The skin tends to break out in the shape of a moccasin, or the area of the foot that a moccasin would cover. You dont see foot fungus on the top of the foot very often. Its common to get a fungal infection between the toes as well, she adds.
How To Get Rid Of Toe Fungus
This article was co-authored by . Dr. Mark Co is a Podiatrist who runs his own private practice in San Francisco, California. Dr. Co specializes in treatments for bunions, ingrown toenails, toenail fungus, warts, plantar fasciitis and other causes of foot pain. He also offers custom orthotics for the treatment and prevention of foot and ankle issues. Dr. Co completed a Master of Business Administration at New York University and an MA in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Co also completed his DPM at the California School of Podiatric Medicine and a residency and internship at the Kaiser Permanente Medical Center, Santa Clara, California. Dr. Co was awarded San Francisco’s “Top 3 Podiatrists” in 2018, 2019, and 2020. Dr. Co is also a member of the CPMA .There are 15 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. In this case, 96% of readers who voted found the article helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 1,481,677 times.
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What Is A Fungal Infection
Fungus, plural fungi is a class of organisms with over 144,000 known species. Fungus holds great importance for the environment and medical sector. Fungi are considered as one of the most widely distributed organisms worldwide Some are found free-living in soil or water others from parasitic or symbiotic relationships with plants or animals. Some common examples of fungi include Mushroom, mildews and mold. However, not all types of fungi are harmful but some can cause severe suffering for human beings and other living organisms.
Fungal infections are common all over the world and it only occurs when an invading fungus captures over the human body and the immune system of human is too weak to combat. Fungi are populated in our environment and are found flying freely in the atmosphere, they also divide and reproduce in the tiny spores that are present in the air. These fungi that are not visible to eh naked eye can enter into the human body through our respiratory system and can land inside to form a parasitic relationship within our lungs, throat, liver or any other hospitable part of the body causing a severe infection. In some cases, fungi also attack the intestines or the genital area of the human body causing severe hazard to health however, almost all the infection caused by fungus are curable with proper care and treatment.
Why Fungus Is So Hard To Treat
Your toenail fungus tells me your immune system is weakened. And that youre vulnerable to pathogens, including fungus.
You see, topicals dont work because fungus spores root deep inside your nailbed and can travel through your bloodstream, further harming your immune system. Its a system-wide issue.
And medical antifungals can actually make your spores resistant to antifungals, strengthening your fungus. They also come with nasty side effects, such as tummy pain, diarrhea, gas, headaches, rashes, indigestion, and just plain feeling lousy.
You see, Nature has everything you need to alleviate fungus, reduce discomfort, and enhance your immune health without harsh side effects. The problem is which ones to take and how much to use.
Thats why Ive decided to make it easy for you. No mess, no fuss. Ive combined my 3 favorite fungus fighters and immune building formulas working from inside and out for a powerful triple action bundle called
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How To Treat Toenail Fungus
Despite what you may hear, covering your infection with nail polish or artificial nails will not get rid of toenail fungus, says the AAD.
There are a few different ways to get rid of toenail fungus, whether youre looking for home remedies or stronger prescribed treatments. Just know this, per Dr. Goldenberg: Treating toenail fungus is extremely difficult.
But the earlier you treat the nail infection, the more likely you are to cure it, explains, Joshua Zeichner, MD, a New York Citybased board-certified dermatologist and director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Medical Center. Treatment can take several months, even up to a year, as you need to wait for healthy nail to grow out, which is a slow process, he says.
If you prefer to go the natural route first, these are the home remedies worth tryingplus, stronger prescription options to ask about if the infection persists. It usually takes three months of treatment to cure a toenail fungal infection.
Medical Complications From Untreated Fungal Toenail Infection
Without proper treatment to stop your toenail fungal infection from getting worse, or spreading, complications will eventually develop. Fungal infections of your toenail can spread to the surrounding skin and when your skin becomes cracked, bacteria can enter and cause an abscess.
An abscess on the toe is a tender mass generally surrounded by a colored area from pink to deep red. They are often easy to feel by touching. Inside they are full of pus, bacteria and debris.
Untreated toenail fungal infections can lead to cellulitis and should be treated immediately with antibiotics. Untreated skin infections of the toe may lead to severe cellulitis and if the infection enters the bloodstream it can become septicemia, also known as bacteremia or blood poisoning. Once the infection enters the bloodstream the bacteria and their toxins are carried through the bloodstream to your entire body. If the bacteria levels become high enough, septicemia can quickly become life threatening.
A good reason to seek treatment if you suspect you have a toenail fungal infection is because of the similarity of symptoms for differing diagnosis of more serious toenail conditions. You may have a toenail fungus, but you could also be experiencing similar symptoms of a toenail viral infection , complications from toenail trauma, a pre-malignant lesion or, more seriously, melanoma of the nail bed.
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There are multiple treatments for toenail fungus, though some are faster than others. The fastest way to eliminate the infection is through toenail laser treatment. Laser nail therapy specifically targets the microorganisms under your nail while leaving the keratin intact. In just a few treatments, the infection can be entirely eliminated. This allows your toenail to regrow healthy, clear keratin that then pushes out the old, discolored, damaged areas.
Traditional fungal nail treatments take a little longer to work. Topical medications have to be applied every day to the infected nails for as long as it takes to destroy the infectionwhich can be months. Oral medication is more efficient, since it travels through the blood stream to combat the fungus. Depending on your situation, you may have to take pills for a few weeks to a few months.
Facts You Should Know About Fungal Nails
Fungal infection of the nails sometimes makes the condition sound contagious or related to poor hygiene. In fact, up to 10% of all adults in Western countries have fungal infection of the nails. This percentage increases to 20% of adults who are age 60 or older. Toenail fungus is much more common than fingernail fungus.
In reality, abnormal-looking nails may be caused by a number of conditions including, but not limited to, fungal infection. There are many other reasons why your nails may look different.
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Toenail Fungus Home Care
Sometimes itâs possible to treat your toenail fungus at home. You can try:
- Over the counter antifungal creams or ointments. File or cut off any white markings on your nails. Soak your nails in water and dry off before you put on the medicated cream.
- Special nail care. If you keep your nails trimmed, it can reduce the pressure and pain you feel. You can also thin your nail bed by filing it down. This can help antifungal creams get to the problem easier.
Who Is Most Likely To Develop Fungal Infections
Men are at a higher risk of developing fungal infections as compared to women. The reason is their poorer immunity as compared to women as the only fighting factor that prevents fungus from occurring in the immune system and women are said to have a stronger immune system than men.
Older people have more chances of developing finger and toenail infections. This is due to their poor circulation system as our antibodies are present in blood so a poorer circulation speed will result in the rate at which antibodies reach the target site to be slowed down. Besides that, our nails also grow more slowly and thicken as we age.
People suffering from diabetes develop foot infections more often. Because the healing power of people suffering from diabetes is affected drastically due to their abnormal blood sugar level. Risen sugar levels result in poor immunity thus more prone to bacterial infections.
Moreover, if you regularly wear artificial nails or apply nail polish that is shared with several people or have a nail injury the chances of bacteria attacking and causing an infection are more likely. Also, swimming in public swimming pools, visiting swampy, high moisture places and wearing closed shoes such as boots and tennis shoes and gloves will cause fingernails and toenails to develop a fungal infection.
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When To See A Doctor
In most cases, toenail fungus is considered a cosmetic problem. Still, it may cause serious complications for some people.
If you have diabetes, toenail fungus may lead to foot ulcers or other foot problems. According to a 2012 study, chronic toenail fungus is a significant risk factor for bacterial cellulitis of the leg.
If you have diabetes or a weakened immune system, you shouldnt use home remedies for toenail fungus. Contact your doctor for the appropriate course of action.
Natural Toenail Fungus Treatment
Step 1: Eliminating the Source of Yeast and Fungus
The first step in treating toenail fungus is using one of the most effective and natural ways to fight candida. In other words, youll likely need to make some changes in your diet and adopt a candida diet. The most crucial tactic for treating candida overgrowth is to eliminate what feeds the yeast and candida virus living in your digestive tract in the first place: sugars and conventional grain products.
Candida albicans is a common yeast that grows inside the human body. In healthy people, other bacteria and immune cells keep this yeast under control so it doesnt cause any problems, but in some people candida can become overgrown and cause infections in various areas. One of the ways candida shows up is through the skin where it can cause noticeable reactions or infections. Other ways are on the mouth, vagina and anus.
What triggers candida in the first place? This overgrowth of yeast can develop from a number of factors, including antibiotic use, poor digestion, low immune system function, a high sugar and grain diet, stress or hormonal changes. All these create an acidic environment that encourages yeast growth and the presence of candida. Many people opt for over-the-counter anti-fungal creams or even medications, but they only treat the symptoms, not the environment that allows candida to flourish.
Step 2: Replenishing Healthy Bacteria
Step 3. Consume More Fiber, Protein and Quality Fats
Foods to Eat Plenty Of:
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Tips To Combat Foot Fungus
The best way to combat foot fungus is to reduce your exposure to it. There are simple things you can do to prevent from contracting foot and nail fungus.
Can I Wear Nail Polish If I Have Toenail Fungus
You may feel tempted to cover up a discolored toenail with nail polish. If you are using a topical antifungal, you probably should not use polish. Some providers may tell you not to wear it in any case. Polish traps in moisture from the nailbed . Because fungi thrive in moist environments, wearing nail polish may make a fungal infection worse. However, the nail continues to grow with or without polish.
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Step : Treatment Application
Part 3.1: Eliminate Moisture
- Dry Infected Area: Use a clean towel or blow drier to remove all moisture from the infected area you just washed.
Part 3.2: Apply topical medication
- Treatment solution and applicator brush: As mentioned earlier, choose a treatment solution with exactly 10% Undecylinic Acid . All the products weve recommended will come with an applicator brush normally attached to the containers cap.
- Apply to nail tops: Using the applicator brush, apply a liberal amount of the treatment solution to the tops of infected nails. Make short, even brushstrokes towards your body. Distribute the treatment solution as evenly as possible across the entire nail.
- Apply to nail sides and surrounding skin: Continue with the brush, applying treatment solution around the nails. These areas are great entry points for the solution to penetrate the nail and reach the source of the fungus.
- Brush treatment solution onto nail front:The front of the nail, especially when thick and separated, can be a key re-entry point for fungal infections. Brush this area thoroughly with treatment solution.
Part 3.3: Allow treatment solution to get absorbed and dry
- Wait: Allow the treatment solution to dry completely before putting on socks or other footwear – this could take up to ten minutes.
Toenail Fungus Treatment Options
If you have a toenail fungus, there are a variety of treatment options to consider. There are over-the-counter medications as well as ones that your podiatrist can prescribe. Many at-home treatments work for mild cases that are caught early. For more advanced cases, however, these treatments are not effective.
Consult with your podiatrist for cases that do not respond to treatment at home. Your podiatrist will examine your feet and determine treatment based on your needs. Treatment will depend on the severity of your condition and the type of fungus causing it. A combination of topical and oral medications is typically effective in clearing up the fungus.
Some treatments that a podiatrist may recommend include:
- Prescription topical cream
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Toenail Fungus: Causes And Risk Factors
Toenail fungus is a fungal infection in the toenail. It happens when a fungus anything from mold to yeast to other types of fungus gets in the nail bed from a cut or break in the nail or repetitive trauma to the nail, and penetrates the nail itself, says Dr. Sundling. The nail then continues to grow with the fungus. Once a nail plate is infected with fungus, it will never not be infected, and you must wait to see how it grows out and whether the new nail growing behind it is healthy. The new nail rarely grows in healthy without treatment, says Sundling.
Toenail fungus is very common 14 percent of people have it in North America, according to an article published in the journal PLoS Pathogens and its more common the older you get, adds Sundling. Wearing shoes that are too small can damage the nail and make it more vulnerable to fungus, as can having a fungal infection on the skin of the foot and not treating it, which could expose the nail to fungus. You may be more at risk to toenail fungus if you have diabetes, or a weaker immune system.
Cure Nail Fungus At Home
The Right Method And Treatment Works
Symptoms: The prolonged discoloration and darkening of nails.
Causes: In the vast majority of cases, black toenails are an early sign of Onychomycosis, commonly known as: Nail Fungus. The prevalence of onychomycosis is very common with 6-8% of the adult population suffering an unsightly fungal infection of the nails.
Treatment: Nail Fungus will continue to become worse and more difficult to treat the longer it is left to grow and spread. Treatment of Nail Fungus can be a long and frustrating process when incorrect or incomplete treatment methods are used. Ensure that whatever treatment is used contains an active anti-fungal ingredient along with nail penetrating essential oils. Most treatment formulas fail to reach the nail bed where the Nail Fungus lives and grows.
Global Nail Fungus Executive Team:
Sandy Getzky – Executive Coordinator
Sandy is an experienced manager of medical research operations and authority content creation.
Pat B. – Head of Research
Pat holds a PhD in Natural Health and has been a Registered Nurse for 35 years.
Diana Arevalo – Contributor and Research Coordinator
Diana is a registered Nutritionist-Dietitian. Graduated with a degree in Nutrition and Dietetics.
Gary Smith – Medical Presenter
Gary is a professional medical presenter with over 35 years in this industry.
Tell Your Story
Global Nail Fungus Executive Team:
Sandy Getzky – Executive CoordinatorPat B. – Head of ResearchGary Smith – Medical Presenter
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