If You See A Doctor What Will Your Treatment Be
When you see your toenail fungus doctor, there may be a few treatments they recommend or prescribe some of which are more pleasant than others. It all depends on the kind of fungus you have, as well as how severe your case is.
The doctor may have to take samples, which would be sent off to a lab to determine exactly what kind of fungus you have. So, be prepared for multiple doctor visits.
Your doctor may prescribe oral antifungal drugs or topical antifungal therapies. Sometimes, combining the two types of treatment has more success than one alone.
Oral antifungal drugs are generally taken for six to twelve weeks, but most of the time, you wont see any positive results until the nail has completely grown out.
There are also medicated nail polishes and medicated nail creams that can be prescribed, but the nail polish can take up to a year to deliver results.
In the most severe of cases, surgery to temporarily remove the nail might be recommended. This is so the doctor can treat the fungal infection under the nail directly.
If the infection is severe enough, the doctor might recommend the permanent removal of the nail.
Podiatrist Located In Greater Los Angeles Arcadia Ca
Nail fungus is unsightly and painful, and it can be very difficult to treat, especially without a doctors intervention. As a leading podiatrist in Arcadia, CA, Dr. Wenjay Sung, DPM, offers state-of-the-art solutions for the treatment of nail fungus, helping patients eliminate the fungus and restore the healthy nail
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How Do Dermatologists Diagnose Nail Fungus
To find out if a patient has nail fungus, a dermatologist examines your nails and nearby skin. Its important to check the skin because the fungus can spread. You may already have a skin infection caused by fungus like athletes foot.
To get rid of the infection, you will need to treat all infected areas.
Before giving you the diagnosis, your dermatologist may also take some samples. Collecting a bit of debris from beneath a nail, trimming off part your nail, or scraping off a bit of skin can be very helpful. In a lab, these samples can be examined under a microscope to find out whats causing the problem.
Are you hiding an infected nail with nail polish?
Be sure to ask your dermatologist if you can wear nail polish while treating nail fungus.
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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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How Is It Treated
Whether to treat a fungal nail infection is up to you. If it isnt treated, it wont go away. It might get worse.
If you decide to treat a fungal nail infection, you can try a non-prescription antifungal medicine that comes in a cream, lotion, or nail polish. Your doctor can also prescribe a stronger medicine. You may need to use this medicine for a few weeks or for as long as a year. Even so, it may not get rid of the infection.
Antifungal pills give the best chance of curing a severe fungal nail infection. But they may cost a lot and have serious side effects. You will need to see your doctor for regular testing if you take these pills.
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What Should I Ask My Healthcare Provider About Toenail Fungus
If you have toenail fungus, you may find it helpful to ask your provider:
- What type of infection do I have?
- Do you recommend I treat it? Why or why not?
- How long will I need treatment?
- What steps can I take to stop it from coming back?
- Should I be aware of any potentially serious complications or treatment side effects?
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Toenail fungus is an incredibly common infection that can be difficult to treat. The condition usually isnt painful, but it may make you feel self-conscious about how your foot looks. If it bothers you, talk to your provider about your treatment options. A trained specialist can provide guidance on whats most likely to address your concerns while protecting your overall health.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 12/17/2020.
Types Of Toenail Fungal Infections
Toenail infections affect about 14 percent of the population at any given time, according to a study published in June 2014 in PloS Pathogens. The most common symptoms of a toenail fungal infection include discoloration of the nail, debris under the nail, irregularity of the white part of the nail, nail thickening, and pain, says Sheth.
Toenail fungal infections can usually be categorized into one of the following five subtypes:
Distal Subungual Onychomycosis This is the most common form of toenail fungal infection, usually occurring in the portion of the nail closer to the tip and on the underside of the nail. The nail may become thick, yellow, or brittle.
Endonyx Onychomycosis People who have endonyx onychomycosis have fungus growing between the layers of the toenails. With this type of fungus, toenails usually have a milky white color and may be pitted or split. They usually dont thicken or separate from the nail bed.
Proximal White Subungual Onychomycosis This is a relatively uncommon form of toenail fungus, seen most often in people with weakened immune systems due to conditions such as HIV. The fungus enters the toenail through the cuticle and affects the part of the nail closer to the base, turning it a whitish color.
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Signs And Symptoms Of Toenail Fungus
Toenail fungus starts as a white or yellow spot at the tip of the nail, which then spreads backwards into the nail. The more the infection spreads, the more discolored the nail can become.
The nail will get thicker, and begin to flake and crumble at the edges, becoming ragged and distorting in shape. It will also become darker as debris builds up under the nail, and will start emanating a slightly foul smell. The greater these symptoms, the worse your case.
These infections can range from simple discoloration to mild irritation, to severe and painful. They can be contained in a single nail, or they can spread to the surrounding ones as well.
Can I Have My Toenails Cut By A Pedicurist Instead
If you are looking to save on your bill or just avoid going to a clinic, you might consider seeing a pedicurist for your toenail care. While this is a sure option for some, its not advisable for people who might have serious health conditions and medical needs such as those listed above or even older individuals.
This is because you cant know that a pedicurist will follow the proper sanitization practices and caution that doctors are trained to follow. There is no guarantee that your toenail issues will be properly treated by a pedicurist, leading to small issues becoming major because they werent diagnosed and treated in ways only a medical health professional could know. Just one bad visit can get you stuck with long-term nail issues.
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How Do Dermatologists Treat A Fungal Nail Infection
Treatment usually begins with your dermatologist trimming your infected nail, cutting back each infected nail to the place where it attaches to your finger or toe. Your dermatologist may also scrape away debris under the nail. This helps get rid of some fungus.
To completely get rid of the infection, most people also need one or more of the following treatments:
Medicine you apply to the nail: If you have a mild infection, a medicine that you apply to your nails may get rid of the infection. This treatment helps keep new fungus out while the nails grow. Fingernails typically grow out in four to six months. Toenails take longer, usually takes 12 to 18 months.
Probably the most difficult part of this treatment is remembering to use it as often as prescribed. Some treatments must be applied every day. Others you apply once a week. To get the best results, its essential that you apply these medicines exactly as directed.
The US Food and Drug Administration has approved the following medicines that you apply to the nail to treat nail fungus:
Side effects from these medicines are generally mild. Possible side effects include redness and swelling, an ingrown toenail, and stinging or burning when you apply the medicine. In clinical trials, none of these side effects caused patients to stop using the treatment.
The FDA has approved the following systemic medicines to treat nail fungus:
Can I Treat My Toenail Fungus At Home
If your toenail fungus isnt severe and you dont have a serious condition such as diabetes, HIV/AIDS, or other immune deficiency, then you can attempt several home treatment options before choosing to call a podiatrist in Bethesda, MD or podiatrist in Springfield, VA if it doesnt clear up. If your problem persists, however, or even gets worse, its time to consult a podiatrist.
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Topical Prescriptions What Kind Of Doctor Should I See For Toe Nail Fungus
A variety of effective items are readily available, such as efinaconazole , tavaborole , as well as ciclopirox .
You may need to apply everyday for a long time prior to you see recognizable results.
Because they zap fungi externally of the nail, these products may work for early, surface fungal infections. The surface of the nail may require to be submitted to enable them to get to much deeper in. A research study uncovered that they had a remedy rate of around 35%.
What Is Toenail Fungus
Toenail fungus is a widespread fungal infection that affects the toenails. Less commonly, nail fungus infects the fingernails. Nail fungus is also called onychomycosis.
Toenail fungus happens when fungi get between the toenail and the toenail bed . This usually happens through a crack or cut in your toe.
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What Is The Best Home Remedy For Toenail Fungus
Self-care and body awareness can be key in keeping toenail fungus at bay. Wash feet with warm soapy water and pat completely dry to reduce the spread or growth of fungus on the feet. Allow feet to breathe when possible. Protect your feet and wear breathable shoes and clean socks. Change socks regularly and wash in hot water if you are struggling with toenail fungus. Over-the-counter antifungal powders used for treating athlete’s foot can also be used for treating mild cases of toenail fungus.
Avoid nail polish and pedicures that use polish or nail plate coatings. Even though you may want to conceal the discolored or warped look of an infected toenail, allowing maximum air circulation to the nail and skin of the toes is best.
Living With A Nail Fungal Infection
If you have a nail fungal infection, some things can help:
- Keep your nails cut short and file down any thick areas.
- Dont use the same nail trimmer and file on healthy nails and infected nails. If you have your nails professionally manicured, bring your own nail file and trimmer from home.
- Wear waterproof gloves for wet work . Wear 100% cotton gloves for dry work.
- Wear socks made of wicking material . This pulls moisture away from the skin. Change your socks when they are damp from sweat or if your feet get wet. Put on clean, dry socks every day. Put over-the-counter antifungal foot powder inside your socks to keep your feet dry.
- Wear shoes with good support and a wide toe area. Dont wear pointed shoes that press your toes together.
- Avoid walking barefoot in public areas, such as locker rooms.
Conditions That May Look Like Toenail Fungus
Several health conditions can affect the appearance of your toenails and may be mistaken for toenail fungus.
Psoriasis Psoriasis can cause red, scaly patches on the skin. More than half of people with skin psoriasis also have it on their nails. Toenails and fingernails affected by psoriasis may be thick, discolored, crumbly, or loose. Some people will have nail changes with psoriasis, and if it affects the matrix , then these changes are permanent, says Sheth.
Skin Cancer A discolored spot underneath a toenail may be a sign of melanoma, a potentially fatal form of skin cancer. Melanoma under a toenail usually looks like a brown or black streak or may appear similar to a bruise. Although this isnt common, its also not rare, says Sheth. Her advice: Its always good to check it out.
Darier Disease This genetic disorder typically causes yellowish, wartlike blemishes on the body. However, some people with Darier disease also have fingernail or toenail irregularities, such as nails that are marked with red and white streaks, according to Genetics Home Reference. Sheth notes, however, that shes never had a biopsy come back with a diagnosis of Darier disease.
What Are The Symptoms Of Toenail Fungus
Usually nail fungus starts as a white or yellow spot under the tip of your toenail. The infection can go deeper, causing symptoms such as:
- Change in nail color
- Bad toenail odor
Toenail fungus can spread to other toes and your fingernails, so it is important that you keep your nails clean and use treatments to eliminate fungus.
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Who Gets Toenail Fungus
Men are more likely to get it than women. The older you are, the better your chances are, too. People who have diabetes, athlete’s foot, or a weak immune system, who smoke, or whose family members have it are also at a higher risk. If you spend a lot of time in the water or you’ve injured your toenail, your odds for getting toenail fungus go up.
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Types Of Common Fungal Nail Infections
In general, there are four types of fungal infections that affect the toes. These include:Distal subungual onychomycosis : This is the most commonly diagnosed and treated fungal infection. Also known as Athletes Foot, this infection spreads across the nail bed, which causes the nail to become discolored and weak.White superficial onychomycosis : Far less common than Athletes Foot, WSO causes white patches to appear across the entire nail.Candida onychomycosis: This chronic fungus is usually caused by trauma, and it causes the toenails to become bulbous or enlarged.Proximal subungual onychomycosis : This fungal infection causes yellow or white spots to appear near the base of the toenail.
Concerns What Kind Of Doctor Should I See For Toe Nail Fungus
Nail fungi can trigger extreme soreness as well as can harm your nail completely.
Furthermore, those with a suppressed immune system, who take drug or experience diabetic issues or other medical issues, might create severe infections that spread beyond their feet.
The blood supply and circulation to your feet might be reduced if you have diabetes mellitus. As well as having a higher danger of bacterial infections , youre more likely to experience rashes.
You should avoid this spice if you are suffering from toe or skin fungus. As a result, any trivial injury to your feet, like an infection in your nails, can cause an even worse repercussion. Diabetic issues clients that create nail fungus must see their doctor.
Fungal infections can establish in nails because of athletes foot and can spread from one nail to another. Infections from other individuals are unusual, nevertheless.
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Accurate Diagnosis Should Be First Step In Treating Nail Fungus
NEW YORK Board-certified dermatologist can evaluate condition, recommend treatment
- If you get a manicure or pedicure at a salon, make sure the staff sterilizes its equipment. Dont shave your legs for at least 24 hours before a pedicure, as this may cause nicks and breaks in the skin that could lead to infection.
- Because fungus can thrive in warm, moist environments, wear breathable socks, and use flip-flops at public pools, gyms, locker rooms and showers.
- If you notice symptoms of a fungal infection in any of your nails or your feet , see a board-certified dermatologist for diagnosis and treatment to prevent the disease from spreading onto other nails or to other members of your household.
Nail fungus can be an embarrassing problem, but you shouldnt be embarrassed to discuss it with a board-certified dermatologist, who can help you manage this condition, Dr. Lipner says. Dermatologists have the expertise to determine whats causing your nail problem and recommend an appropriate treatment, so see a dermatologist if you have any concerns about your nails.