Toenail Fungus Treatment Complications
Here are some things to think about when deciding on a nail fungus treatment.
If you have a disease like diabetes, your doctor will make sure you treat nail fungus. This illness often makes you more likely to have other problems from minor foot issues.
You may not be able to take antifungal pills because of side effects or because they donât work well with other drugs you take. If that’s the case, try a product that goes onto your nail. Your doctor will call this a topical treatment.
Be patient. Your nails may not look “normal” after treatment. It can take as long as a year to 18 months for your nail to grow out a fungus.
Nail Fungus Consumer Review
Did you take off your shoes and discover a black toenail? Once youre over the bad surprise of finding it, its important to determine the cause to apply the best possible treatment. Is it black toenail fungus? Was your toe injured? Could it be related to cancer or diabetes?
Most often a black toenail is caused by an injury or a fungal infection. Sometimes a home treatment solves the problem. Sometimes you should visit a doctor. Whats the right thing to do?
Keep reading to learn how to identify, prevent, and treat black toenails in the most appropriate way.
How Is Toenail Fungus Treated
Toenail fungus is notoriously tricky to treat. You may need to treat the condition for several months to get rid of the fungus. Still, toenail fungus often comes back.
A dermatologist or podiatrist can explain your treatment options. If you have a mild case that doesnt bother you, your provider may recommend no treatment.
Toenail fungus treatment options include:
- Oral antifungal medication: You take prescribed medication, such terbinafine , itraconazole and fluconazole , to treat the fungi. You will need to take this medication every day for several months . Your provider may use blood tests to check for potential medication side effects. These medications can affect the liver and interact with other medications, so oral antifungals are not for everyone.
- Topical medication: You regularly apply a medication right on the nail. The medication treats the fungi over time. Topical medications are most effective when paired with oral medications.
- Laser treatments: Your provider directs a high-tech laser beam and special lights at the toenail to treat the fungus. Lasers are FDA approved for temporary increase of clear nail in nail fungus but is not a cure. Cure rates for laser treatment are lower than oral and topical mediations so they are not typically used as first line treatments for nail fungus.
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Ariella Nail Fungus Treatment
O-hydroxybenzoic acid is a powerful antifungal agent and is at the heart of the Ariella Nail Fungus Treatment formula. Ariella mixes it with other ingredients that attack the fungus cell walls and facilitate the activity of the O-hydroxybenzoic acid.
What we like: Ariella Nail Fungus Treatment goes after nail fungus with a potent one-two punch that weakens it and then takes it out. Other ingredients restore the nail tissue once it is free of the fungi.
Flaws: Must use two or three times per day in order to see benefits.
Prevention Is The Best Medicine
Ultimately, the best way to deal with toenail fungus is toprevent it. Follow these tips to help to help prevent this condition, or to avoidit from reoccurring following treatment.
- Avoidwalking barefoot in communal areas such as locker rooms or pools
- Dontshare shoes or nail clippers and nail files
- Dontwear damp shoes
- Disinfecthome shower areas regularly with a bleach cleaner
- Makesure that nail salons are sanitizing tools and disinfecting footbaths
- Trimtoenails short and straight across and use sanitized clippers or scissors
- Use antifungalpowders or sprays inside of shoes and socks
- Washand dry feet regularly
- Wearbreathable footwear
Essex Union Podiatry is a complete foot and anklepractice serving the podiatric needs of Essex and Union counties. Ourspecialty-trained physicians utilize the latest techniques and tools todiagnose and treat conditions such as toenail fungus and provide preventivecare for all foot and ankle conditions. We emphasize patient education andprovide personalized care with a treatment plan tailored to meet individualneeds.
For more information or to schedule an appointment withone of our podiatrists, contact us today.
Book your appointment today!
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What Causes Nail Fungus
Onychomycosis happens when cuts or cracks in the skin allow for fungi to get between the nail and skin, causing an infection, explains Lucy Chen, M.D., a dermatologist at Riverchase Dermatology in Miami. On top of infection, you can also experience discoloration, thickening, and separation from the nail bed.
Unfortunately, the simple truth is that everyone is exposed to the microorganisms that cause these infections, says Dana Stern, M.D., a New York City-based dermatologist and nail health expert at Nu Skin. So, why do some people develop full-on nail fungus and others dont? The causes are multi-factorial but some of the more common factors that put you at risk for fungal infections include older age, diabetes, suppressed immunity, poor circulation, excessive sweating, and irregular growing nails, notes Dr. Stern.
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How To Manage And Cure Nail Fungus
The first steps to treating a nail fungus infection involve cleaning the area and trimming the nails. The infected nail can be cut to keep it as short as possible. A dermatologist can also scrape off some debris thats lodged under the infected nail. These steps help remove some amount of the fungus.
Next, you may have to use medication applied directly to the nails on a daily or weekly basis , for several months as your nails grow out and uninfected new nails replace the old infected ones. For those with very severe infections, oral antifungal medication may also be prescribed.
Take these additional precautions to fully cure nail fungus:
- Always wash your hands before and after you touch an infected nail whether to clean it or to apply medication.
- Always dry your feet well, taking care to wipe properly between the toes.
- Skip manicures and pedicures till the infection is gone to avoid spreading it to others. And stick to using only hygienic and reputed salons for future pedicures/manicures to avoid reinfection.
- You may not be allowed to use nail polish until the treatment is complete check with your doctor.
- Never go barefoot in public areas like swimming pools, locker rooms, and gyms.
What To Avoid In Nail Fungus Treatments
- Azole Antifungals – While moderately effective, this antifungal agent has been linked to liver toxicity and hypersensitivity.
- Unnecessary ingredients – There are often added elements that have no bearing on fighting nail fungi. Itâs worth doing a fair amount of research about the ingredients and whether thereâs enough clinical evidence to support such claims.
- No money-back guarantee – The absence of a money-back guarantee suggests that the manufacturer may not have the confidence that their product works.
- Low success rate – Topical nail fungus solutions are not all the same. The difference in choice and quality of ingredients means that some topical solutions do a better job fighting nail fungus than others. It would be prudent to do your research and avoid products with a low success rate .
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Toenail Fungus Prescription Medications
Sometimes prescription medications are needed to treat a toenail infection that just wont go away with natural remedies or over-the-counter medication in a few months. In this case, prescription-strength antifungal medication can eradicate stubborn onychomycosis.
Topical medications often are effective in treating mild to moderate toenail fungus. Topical solutions may include medicated nail polishes or liquid medications. Loprox , Penlac , Kerydin , and Jublia are among the top prescription drugs for toenail fungus.
Heres What We Looked For In A Product:
Strength of Active Ingredient: After trying several products, weve found that those with an active ingredient – typically with a concentration greater than 10% – work best for nail fungus. A product that includes very little active ingredient, or none at all, may take months of frequent applications to finally get rid of the fungus.
Skin Nourishing Vitamins and Oils: Skin affected by a fungal infection is often brittle, discolored, and damaged. Thats why its so important to give your skin extra nourishment with essential oils, vitamins, and minerals to help strengthen and rebuild damaged skin. These rejuvenating oils include, but are not limited to, Tea Tree, Jojoba Seed, Rosehip, and Vitamin E.
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Ask The Doctor: What’s The Best Way To Treat Toenail Fungus
Q.My toenails are thick and discolored. They’re so unsightly that I’m too embarrassed to wear sandals when I go on vacation. What can I do about them?
A. Toenails naturally change in consistency with age. But coupled with discoloration, the thickening, as well as other symptoms like brittleness and white or yellow streaks on the sides, could be a sign of nail fungus. Fungi like to live in the toenails, which provide a dark, moist environment for them to grow. As you get older, reduced blood circulation and the natural thickening of your toenails makes you more likely to develop an infection.
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How Fungi Infect The Nail
Onchomycosis, or toenail fungal infection, is an invasion by a microscopic organism that thrives in warm, damp environments. Fungal spores are in the air, and they will grow if they land on a receptive surface like your toenail. They feed off the nail tissues, burrowing into the skin under the nail. Over time the nail thickens and may lift off the nail bed as fungal debris accumulates. Once your nail is raised off the nail bed, it won’t reattach, and a new nail won’t grow from that part of the nail bed. However, your nail will continue to grow from the root at the base.
Best Alternative: Vicks Vaporub Ointment
Yes, you read that correctly. Vicks VapoRub is often mentioned as an effective nail fungus treatment because of both the active and inactive ingredients it contains. says Dr. Stern. Thymol, menthol, camphor, and oil of eucalyptus have shown efficacy against dermatophytes in a lab setting, she explains. The caveat? If youre using this regularly and not seeing any improvement after two months for fingernails or four months for toenails, see a dermatologist, she advises.
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Apply Or Consume Garlic
A 2019 study published online indicated that garlic is an antifungal powerhouse, potentially making it a gem for treating toenail fungal infections. It is best to place crushed or chopped garlic on the affected area daily, Hayag says. It is important to take caution when following this remedy, as garlic has the potential to cause chemical burns to the skin. To avoid any burns, theres also the option of taking garlic supplements to see if that might help clear things up.
What Is The Prognosis Of Fungal Nails
Curing fungal nails can be difficult and treatment can take up to 18 months. Relapse and reinfection are common. Trying to remove or modify your risk factors, if possible, is essential to preventing reinfection. People who have medical illnesses that predispose them to fungal nails can have an even more difficult time eradicating the fungus.
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Clean Socks And Shoes
Regularly changing your socks and shoes can also cut down on the growth of unwanted foot fungus. Both socks and athletic shoes can also be washed in hot water to rid the growth of yeasts and fungi that may be growing on the fabric. Some shoes can be machine dried. Drying shoes in the sun is another option when cleaning footwear.
Adding a half-cup of baking soda or one cup of vinegar to the washing machine can help eliminate bacteria or fungus on socks or shoes.
Boots and other footwear that are not machine washable could be wiped out with a vinegar and water solution or sprayed with an over-the-counter antifungal spray. Medicated powders are also helpful in treating shoes for foot fungus.
Allowing the feet to breathe by taking off shoes and socks when possible can prevent fungal growth. Protect your feet by wearing breathable footwear and clean socks. Antimicrobial socks and shoes made from bamboo, copper, or specialty fabrics are also available. They can help reduce unwanted bacteria and yeast from growing in your footwear.
A proactive approach to keeping your feet clean and dry can prevent the spread of toenail fungus. You can wash or soak feet with warm soapy water or a foot bath using everyday household items. Soaking your feet in an all-natural, homeopathic concoction can be beneficial in reducing or eliminating toenail fungus.
Cover The Affected Area In Oregano Oil
Believe it or not, the tasty herb can also work wonders for treating toenail fungus at home. According to a 2006 study published in the Journal of Skin Appendage Disorders, researchers found that oreganos antibacterial properties are able to inhibit fungal growth in nails.
While the effectiveness of oregano oil has only been known anecdotally, thymola common component of oregano oilhas been reviewed to be an effective antibacterial and antifungal agent, Hayag says. People with toenail fungus can apply the product to affected areas twice daily and can expect no improvement, partial improvement, or complete improvement of their toenail fungus after using oregano oil. That said, she mentioned that oregano oil is quite potent and can cause an adverse reaction if you have particularly sensitive skin. For this reason, she recommends starting with a patch test. Additionally, to prevent an adverse reaction, consider mixing oregano oil with a carrier oil, such as olive or avocado oils, to dilute its potency.
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What Is The Outcome For Someone Who Has Nail Fungus
With treatment, many people can get rid of nail fungus. Even when the fungus clears, your nail may look unhealthy until the infected nail grows out. A fingernail grows out in 4 to 6 months and a toenail in 12 to 18 months.
To clear the fungus, its important to:
Use the treatment exactly as prescribed
Apply the medicine for as long as prescribed
Keep all follow-up appointments with your dermatologist
Nail fungus can be stubborn. If you had a severe infection, its possible to clear the infection. A healthy looking nail, however, may be unrealistic, but you can expect the nail to look better and feel more comfortable.
Even with clearing, nail fungus can return. Youll find steps to reduce your risk in Tips: 12 ways to prevent another nail infection.
ReferenceGold LFS and Rosen T. Onychomycosis: Diagnosis, treatment, and prevention strategies. Dermatology News . March 2016:2-15.
Creams & Topical Treatments For Toenail Fungus
Over-the-counter fungal creams like clotrimazole dont work well for treating toenail fungus. Prescription nail polishes are available, but they take longer to work and arent effective for severe cases. Thats because they dont penetrate the nail very well. That said, they are still a good option for people with mild cases of toenail fungus, or for those who cant take the oral antifungals. Examples include:
Side effects are usually minor and include redness or burning at the application site.
You might hear or read about medicated chest rub as a treatment for toenail fungus, but its mostly hype. Its a tempting option because its so safe, easy to use, and cheap. But its not likely to help.
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Soak Your Feet In Vinegar
Heres another pantry item that can deliver optimal results for toenail fungal infections. According to Hayag, applying white vinegar to the fungal-infected areas can prove worthwhile, thanks to its antibacterial properties.
Similar to oregano oil, applying white vinegar topically on fungus-infected toenails has some anecdotal evidence that supports its antibacterial benefits. Soak your foot in one part vinegar to two parts warm water for up to 20 minutes daily, she suggests, saying that this can help with the fungus, help with just the discoloration, or it may not help at all, depending on how your toes react.
Best For Toenails: Fungi
This is one of my favorites because it relieves symptoms such as burning and itching, and also restores the skin under the nail and around the cuticle, says Dr. Chen. Its also very easy to use and wont break the bank, she adds. It touts Tolnaftate 1%, a clinically proven anti-fungal active ingredient, to cure and prevent infection, as well as five essential oils tea tree oil, aloe vera, eucalyptol, olive oil, and lavender to restore skin health.
My nail was cut in a pedicure, causing my nail to get fungus, shared a customer. This stuff cleared it right up. My nail fell off and grew back healthy. Worked and quickly in about a week.
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