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What To Do If You Have Toe Fungus

How Is Toenail Fungus Treated

How do you know if you have a fungal nail infection?

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.

What Causes Toenail Fungus Under The Nails

Toenail infections, like other infections, are caused by tiny microscopic organisms living where theyre not supposed to be. In the case of toenails, these organisms are often fungi, like yeasts and molds. These invaders can live in the layer of dead skin cells around and underneath your toenails.

Toenail fungus is contagious and you can get it from being exposed to others infections. These yeasts and molds are present everywhere in the environment, but tend to grow and flourish in warm, moist places like community pools, gyms, and change rooms.

Your risk of getting the toenail infection increases if you:

  • spend time in a warm, moist climate or wear sweaty shoes,
  • wear shoes that are too tight or have metal toe-caps that may cause tiny injuries to the toenails,
  • have health issues , or even from
  • increasing age.

If you think you have toenail fungus under your nails, reach out to me or your health care provider to get an accurate diagnosis. Before treating it, you want to be sure if the reason for your unsightly toenails is, in fact, fungus under your nails . You dont want to let a fungal infection go too far, as not treating it can lead to further complications.

Tips To Prevent Fungal Nail Infections

Making a few simple lifestyle changes can help prevent a fungal infection of the nails. Taking good care of your nails by keeping them well trimmed and clean is a good way to prevent infections.

Also avoid injuring the skin around your nails. If youre going to have damp or wet hands for an extended amount of time, you may want to wear rubber gloves.

Other ways to prevent fungal infections of the nails include:

  • washing your hands after touching infected nails
  • drying your feet well after showering, especially between your toes
  • getting manicures or pedicures from trustworthy salons
  • avoiding being barefoot in public places
  • reducing your use of artificial nails and nail polish

Products to help you avoid nail fungus

If youre prone to excessive moisture around your fingernails or toenails, consider buying:

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How To Treat Nail Fungus And Why You Always Should

Aside from the pain and discomfort, its crucial to treat nail fungus because it can spread and cause permanent damage to your toenail beds. Plus, it is more difficult to treat when it advances, and it does not just go away on its own.

For those with diabetes or a weakened immune system, nail fungus can increase the risk of an infection of the surrounding skin.

Treatments include medicated nail polish, topical antifungal creams, and oral medications. At Town Center Foot & Ankle, podiatrist Dr. Stephen G. Eichelsdorfer offers an effective high tech treatment to get rid of toenail fungus and prevent it from returning. He uses PinPointe FootLaser system to destroy the fungus on the affected toe as well as the surrounding toes.

This method enables Dr. Eichelsdorfer to destroy fungus that is present on neighboring toes but has not caused symptoms yet. This way you destroy all the nail fungus at once to prevent a recurrence. Recurrences are fairly common.

For more information on how to prevent, diagnose, and treat toenail fungus, call Town Center Foot & Ankle with offices in Kingwood and Atascocita, Texas, or make an appointment online.

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What Causes Fungal Nails And What Are Some Of The Risk Factors

In normal, healthy people, fungal infections of the nails are most commonly caused by fungus that is caught from moist, wet areas. Communal showers, such as those at a gym or swimming pools, are common sources. Going to nail salons that use inadequate sanitization of instruments in addition to living with family members who have fungal nails are also risk factors. Athletes have been proven to be more susceptible to nail fungus. This is presumed to be due to the wearing of tight-fitting, sweaty shoes associated with repetitive trauma to the toenails. Having athlete’s foot makes it more likely that the fungus will infect your toenails. Repetitive trauma also weakens the nail, which makes the nail more susceptible to fungal infection.

Elderly people and people with certain underlying disease states are also at higher risk. Anything that impairs your immune system can make you prone to getting infected with the fungus. These include conditions such as AIDS, diabetes, cancer, psoriasis, or taking any immunosuppressive medications like steroids.

Causes Of Toenail Fungus

Toenail fungus is usually a sign of an imbalance of bad bacteria to good bacteria. In other words, bad bacteria such as yeast and fungus are more compared to the good bacteria. As a result, you may develop fungal infections which can show on your skin i.e. toenail fungus. Other factors that may lead to development of toenail fungus include having athleteâs foot, psoriasis, circulation problems, coming into contact with fungi, say in the swimming pool, damaged nail beds and putting on dirty or poor fitting shoes and socks. Types of fungus that can cause fungal nail infections include dermatophytes â fungus that grows on skin, hair and nails, yeast, and non-dermatophytes such as mold which often grow in soil.

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Foot Hygiene For Lasting Results

Using medications or procedures can vastly improve the appearance of your toenails if you have a fungal infection. However, for lasting results, you need to step up your foot hygiene habits. Remember, there is always a chance of reinfection because the fungus is present everywhere in the environment.

Here are some suggestions:

  • Be nicer to your feet by wearing comfortable well-fitting shoes. Dispose of your oldest footwear and use an antifungal power in other footwear.
  • Keep your feet clean and dry with daily washing with soap and thorough drying with a clean towel. Wear cotton socks, or none at all if youre in a warm, humid climate.
  • Keep your toenails trimmed and regularly disinfect all tools you use to cut, file, or otherwise attend to your feet.
  • Never share your footwear with others and wear something on your feet whenever you go to a swimming pool, gym, or another warm place where people walk around barefoot.

What Are The Treatments For Toenail Fungus

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Toenail fungus is notoriously hard to cure. If over-the-counter fungal treatments have not worked, see your doctor. Treatment will depend on how severe the infection is and the specific type of fungi causing it.

Your doctor may start by trimming your nail, removing debris from under the nail, and scaling away the dead nail layers. Then, treatment may involve the following:

  • Topical toenail fungus medication in the form of medicated nail polish or cream you apply to the nail. Some products are for daily use and others are once weekly. Treatment can take up to 18 months and is only suitable for mild infections. Thinning the nail with a file before application may be necessary to help the medicine penetrate the nail. Always sterilize nail tools after use. Topical medicines include amorolfine , ciclopirox , efinaconazole , and tavaborole .
  • Oral antifungal drugs you take by mouth include fluconazole , griseofulvin , itraconazole , and terbinafine . These drugs have a higher cure rate and work more quickly than topical products. Treatment generally takes up to 12 weeks. However, they carry a risk of liver toxicity, side effects, and drug interactions. You will need blood tests and frequent monitoring if your doctor prescribes these medications.
  • Combination therapy can be more effective than either topical or oral drugs alone.

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Tips For Prevention Of Fungal Nails

Nail fungus causes only 50% of abnormal-appearing nails. It can be hard to tell the difference between the different causes of discolored nails . Onychomycosis is often not treated. Reasons to receive treatment include

  • diabetes,

    No one knows where a specific person catches the fungus, as it is everywhere. However, since the fungus does thrive in warm moist areas , there are certain areas one should avoid or use with caution. Shower floors, locker rooms, and swimming pools are suspected of being sources of the fungus, although there are no studies proving this fact. Nail polish and acrylic nails also make the nail less “breathable” and make the nail more susceptible to fungal infection. Fungi are everywhere — in the air, the dust, and the soil. Hygienic measures such as spraying socks and footgear sound sensible, and perhaps these measures can even help a little bit. However, avoiding tight, nonbreathing shoes or steering clear of athletic facility floors may very well be the best prevention available. Daily washing of the feet and drying between the toes can help to prevent nail fungus. The fungi carried on the coats of pets, like cats and dogs, don’t often cause nail fungus. Wearing white socks does not help.

    Keep Clippers To Yourself

    If you have been using a certain pair of clippers on your toes, you will very much want to disinfect or replace those as well. How best to do this?

    • Let the clippers soak in boiling water for a few minutes.
    • After removing them , scrub with dish soap and an old toothbrush to clean off any remaining dead skin cells or residues.
    • Rise, then wipe down the clippers with a paper towel soaked in rubbing alcohol.
    • Completely dry the clippers with a paper towel to avoid rusting.

    You can also use Barbicide if you happen to have it around.

    Now that you have a clean pair of toenail clippers, make sure to use them only on your toenails. They should be the larger kind designed for toenails, too. Sharing clippers runs another risk of fungal infection, and using the same pair of clippers on your fingernails and toenails can run the risk of transferring an infection from your feet to your hands, or vice versa.

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    Facts You Should Know About Fungal Nails

    Many changes in fingernails or toenails may cause people to think they have a fungal infection of the nails, medically known as onychomycosis or tinea unguium.

    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.

    What Other Conditions Can Be Mistaken For Fungal Nails

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    Here are some other conditions you may have instead of fungal nails:

  • Lines and ridges: These are common and may be considered normal. They may worsen during pregnancy. A large groove down the center of the nail can be caused by nail biting. Some people may develop these changes following chemotherapy.
  • Senile nails: As you age, the nails become brittle and develop ridges and separation of the nail layers at the end of the nail. To avoid this, try to clean solutions and don’t soak the nails in water.
  • Whitish or yellowish nails can occur due to onycholysis. This means separation of the nail from the nail bed. The color you see is air beneath the nail. The treatment is to trim the nail short, don’t clean under it, polish if you want to hide the color, and wait two to three months. Persistent onycholysis can make the nails susceptible to fungal infection.
  • Red or black nails due to a hematoma, or blood under the nail, usually occur from trauma . The discolored area will grow out with the nail and be trimmed off as you trim your nails. If you have a black spot under your nail that was not caused by trauma, you may want to see a dermatologist or a podiatrist if it involves a toenail to make sure it is not melanoma . A simple biopsy can rule out malignancy .
  • Trichophyton

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    When To See A Doctor About Toenail Fungus

    If you are experiencing persistent toenail fungus or pain is present, you may need to see a specialist. A dermatologist or podiatrist may be able to assess your symptoms and send a small sample of the affected toenail or flesh to a laboratory to be analyzed as there are various types of fungi and yeasts that cause onychomycosis. Knowing the specific cause of your foot fungus can help identify what route to take to treat your condition.

    Nail changes can also be caused by underlying conditions, like psoriasis and diabetes, so its important to seek professional medical advice if your condition persists or worsens. Bacterial and fungal infection of skin in diabetes patients often result in hospital admissions, and in severe cases, can result in amputations. If you are at a higher risk for infection, you should skip home remedies and seek professional medical treatment.

    Are There Home Remedies For Toenail Fungus

    The Internet is filled with anecdotal information on how to cure toenail fungus using home remedies. Vinegar is a commonly recommended home remedy. Some people apply various oils such as tea tree oil, coconut oil, essential oils, and oil of cedar leaf to their nails as well. The effectiveness of these home remedies is highly doubtful. Application of household bleach and hydrogen peroxide is also not recommended due to lack of evidence that these treatments work. These agents can also cause unwanted skin irritation. Thickened nails that have been affected by fungus can be difficult to trim. Using topical urea cream will soften the nail and make it easier to trim. These creams do not require a prescription.

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    Treatment Options For Nail Fungus And Nail Psoriasis

    There are treatments for both nail fungus and nail psoriasis. Nail fungus is usually treated with medication. Patients may be given topical medication that is applied directly to the nail.2

    These are available as creams and polishes and may be used in conjunction with other treatments. Nail fungus patients may also be prescribed an oral antifungal medication.2 Oral medications are usually given for 12 weeks to 6 months. They can be used with or without topical treatments.

    Nail psoriasis can be treated with topical corticosteroids.1 Some patients have had success with corticosteroid injections under the nail since it is difficult for topical medications to get through the nail into the nail bed.3

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    Dangers Of Using Bleach For Toenail Fungus

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    Bleach may actually cause toenail fungus to worsen and increase the likelihood of a toenail infection.

    According to an article in the Asian Journal of Research in Dermatological Science, use of topical bleach can increase the risks for fungal infections because it can damage the skin and nails. This allows opportunistic fungus to come in through the damaged skin or nail and cause an infection.

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    What To Do About Toenail Fungus Under Your Nails

    Are you embarrassed about your unsightly toenails?

    If your toenails look discolored, thickened, or are becoming more brittle or painful, you may have toenail fungus under your nails.

    Dont worry, youre not alone! Millions of Americans have toenail fungus infections, called onychomycosis. Its estimated to affect 10 percent of the general population, 20 percent of people over 60 years, and 50 percent of those older than 70 years.

    The good news is there are a number of strategies that can help turn your discolored and unsightly nails into clearer, healthier-looking nails.

    Acrylic Nail Fungus Home Remedies

    The first step after noticing an infection is to have the acrylic nail removed and to wash your fingernail with soap and water. Avoid putting on a new nail until the infection clears.

    Anecdotally, some people claim the following home remedies have helped them clear their infection:

    • Vinegar. Vinegar contains acid that can inhibit the growth of fungi and bacteria. Try soaking your finger in a 2:1 ratio of warm water to vinegar.
    • Vicks VapoRub. An older 2011 study found Vicks VapoRub seemed to have a positive clinical effect on killing toenail fungi. You can try applying a small amount to your finger once a day.
    • Tea tree oil. According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health , one small study found evidence that tea tree oil may help treat nail fungus, but more research is needed. Try applying oil to your nail twice per day.
    • Oregano oil. The chemical thymol found in oregano oil may have antifungal properties. Try applying oregano oil to your nail twice per day with a cotton swab.
    • Listerine mouthwash. Listerine contains ingredients that have antifungal properties. Some people claim soaking your finger in original Listerine for 30 minutes a day may help clear the infection.

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