Take Care Of Your Toes
Use soap and water to wash your feet, and dry well, including between toes. Trim your toenails — straight across — to keep them shorter than the end of your toe. Make sure the tools you use are clean, too. Wash clippers and files with soap and water, then wipe with rubbing alcohol. You might be tempted to cover up discolored nails with polish, but don’t. Your nail bed can’t “breathe,” which keeps fungus from going away.
What Causes Toenail Fungus And How To Prevent It
Unfortunately, the warm and moist environment inside your shoe can make you vulnerable to fungal infections. When these occur on the toenail, doctors call the condition onychomycosis. Fungal skin infections commonly called athletes foot can often affect the foot as well.
One of the you get a fungal toenail infection is when fungus invades small cracks in your toenail. Some people are at greater risk for this occurring, including those with:
- circulation problems, especially related to the feet
- history of injury, surgery, or damage to the nail
- impacted immune system function
Orthopedic Doctors For Foot Care
Many people dont realize just how vital proper foot care really is until they have an infection thats difficult to treat. The medical professionals at the Colorado Center of Orthopaedic Excellence realize how important caring for each and every part of the body is to maintaining the body in top condition.
We are an Official Orthopaedic Medicine Provider of the Olympics as an Olympic Training Center. We achieved this designation because our team is specially trained in treating sports injuries, including issues involving the feet, muscles, and joints.
Our team offers top-notch medical care and state-of-the-art techniques and technologies diagnosing and treating professional athletes and amateurs alike right here in Colorado Springs.
Call us today at to schedule an appointment, or fill out our simple online appointment request form. We look forward to helping you get back on your feet again!
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Nail During Treatment For Fungal Nail Infection
The fungi that are killed with treatment remain in the nail until the nail grows out. Fresh, healthy nail growing from the base of the nail is a sign that treatment is working. After you finish a course of treatment, it will take several months for the old infected part of the nail to grow out and be clipped off. The non-infected fresh new nail continues growing forward. When it reaches the end of the finger or toe, the nail will often look normal again.
Fingernails grow faster than toenails, so it may appear they are quicker to get back to normal. It may take up to a year after starting treatment before toenails look completely normal again and six months for fingernails to look completely normal.
Consult a doctor if there does not seem to be any healthy new nail beginning to grow after a few weeks of treatment. However, the infection can still respond to treatment even after you finish a course of medication. This is because the antifungal medication stays in the nail for about nine months after you stop taking medication.
What Oral Medications Are Available
To treat fungal nail infections from inside the body, you can take tablets that inhibit the growth of fungi or kill them. They are all prescription-only. Terbinafine and itraconazole are typically used for this purpose.
- Terbinafine is preferred if the nail fungus is caused by a skin fungus . This is usually the case.
- Itraconazole is generally used if the nail infection is caused by yeast or mold.
Itraconazole and terbinafine tablets can both be taken either continuously or with breaks between treatments. But they are used differently:
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Whos At Risk For Fungal Infections
There are many different causes of fungal nail infections. Each cause has a treatment of its own. Although many of the causes of a fungal nail infection are preventable, some risk factors increase the likelihood of developing one. Youre more likely to develop a fungal nail infection if you:
- wear closed-toe shoes, such as tennis shoes or boots
Nail infections occur more often in men than in women, and the infections are found in adults more often than in children. If you have family members who often get these types of fungal infections, youre more likely to get them as well.
Older adults have a high risk for getting fungal nail infections because they have poorer circulation. The nails also grow more slowly and thicken as we age.
A fungal infection of the nail may affect part of the nail, the entire nail, or several nails.
Common signs of a fungal nail infection include:
- a distorted nail that may lift off from the nail bed
- an odor coming from the infected nail
- a brittle or thickened nail
Nail Fungal Infection Treatment
Prescription medicines can treat a fungal nail infection. Oral antifungal medicines help a new nail grow. This will replace the infected nail. You may need to take antifungal medicine for 6 to 12 weeks. Some oral medicines are not safe for people who have liver problems. They are not safe for people who have a history of congestive heart failure. Tell your doctor if you have one of these conditions. Your doctor will decide which medicine is right for you.
Apply topical treatments to the top of your nail. Topical medicines usually do not cure fungal nail infections.
In severe cases, a doctor might remove the nail completely. It can take several months to a year for the infection to go away.
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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.
Diagnosing And Treating Toenail Changes
If you notice changes in the appearance of your toenails, see a doctor promptly. If a fungal infection is suspected, a sample of the nail can be taken and analyzed by a lab to make a diagnosis. If the test comes back positive, an oral or topical antifungal medication may be prescribed to treat the fungus. Most antifungal medications are effective against most forms of toenail fungus, although treatment can take some time, in part because its hard to deliver any type of medication through the nail plate to the skin under the nail.
Most of the time, the treatment requires the whole nail to grow out, which can take up to a year, says Sheth. Treatment needs to be consistent and long-term if it has any chance of working.
If the test comes back negative for fungus, your doctor may begin investigating other causes for the abnormal appearance of your toenails. Sometimes symptoms involving other parts of the body help point to a diagnosis.
People with yellow nail syndrome, for example, may experience leg swelling or breathing problems. Those with alopecia could see their hair begin to fall out.
And, according to Goad, With psoriasis, patches of red, scaly skin may be seen on the knees, elbows, and face, too. Its usually not limited to just the toenails.
Additional reporting by Susan Jara
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If You Have Toenail Fungus Under Your Nails Remember
Once your diagnosis is confirmed, you have several options available to deal with it. You and your podiatrist can decide on the best course for you: anti-fungal pills, medicated nail polish, and/or laser therapy. The reason I prefer laser procedures is that theyre very safe and effective at improving the look of unsightly nails due to fungal infections.
Regardless of which method you use, for lasting results, its important that you follow-through with proper foot hygiene to reduce the risk of getting it again.
Im Dr. Kelly Geoghan, DPM, Board Certified Surgeon and Aesthetic Podiatry Specialist. If youre in the Baltimore area, contact me for an appointment for your personalized plan for flawless feet at:
- Lutherville: 753-4422
- Dundalk: 753-4422
Q: Does Medicare Pay For Diabetic Shoes And Custom Orthotics
A: Medicare will cover diabetic shoes and inserts with some patients.
- Patients must meet and have specific qualifying conditions that must be verified by the Physician managing their diabetes.
- If you have diabetes, you should have an annual foot evaluation performed by a foot doctor or podiatrist to determine if you are eligible for this benefit through Medicare and other insurance carriers.
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When Home Remedies Make Sense:
For most people with mild to moderate nail fungus, home remedies are an option, especially when a trip to the doctor seems intimidating. Readers of our syndicated newspaper column have been sharing their success stories for over 40 years.
Lisa points out that patience is a critical component for overcoming nasty nail fungus:
I fought toenail fungus for several years. It seemed like I had two different kinds. One made the surface of the nail white and rough, and the other turned the nail yellow or orange. That one also caused the nail to crumble over time.
After reading about it on the Peoples Pharmacy, I tried tea tree oil first. It was very effective on the white toenail fungus. The nails grew out clear and stayed that way.
I tried Vicks next, and it worked on the yellow toenails. That was a slower process, as there was more damage. Several times when I was just getting one nail finished, the fungus would start on another one. It took about three years to get every nail clear, but I have had no new fungus for over a year now. The treatments were inexpensive and easy, but patience is required!
Lisa is absolutely on target. Even pricey prescription nail fungus treatments are tested for about a year. You can read about a pricey prescription anti-fungal liquid at this link:
FDA Approves Jublia for Fighting Nail FungusJublia is a topical liquid for treating nail fungus. How good is Jublia? Not that great. How pricey is Jublia? Very! Is it worth the cost?
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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What Are The Common Signs Of A Fungal Toenail Infection
Signs and symptoms of a fungal nail infection
- discolouration of the nail it may turn white, black, yellow or green.
- thickening and distortion of the nail it may become an unusual shape or texture and be difficult to trim.
- pain or discomfort particularly when using or placing pressure on the affected toe or finger.
Why Does My Nail Fungus Keep Coming Back
A fungal infection starts out small enough usually a white or yellow spot appears on your toenail. All too soon, your entire nail is consumed by the fungus and your neighboring nails become infected, too. This leaves you with crumbling and unsightly toenails that youre forced to hide. These types of infections are notoriously difficult to get rid of, but not impossible, especially if you get the right treatment.
At Neuhaus Foot and Ankle, our team of foot health experts knows all too well how difficult it is to fight toenail fungus once it takes hold. Yet, with the right medical care, as well as patience on your part, we can not only prevail in your current battle against toenail fungus, we can prevent it from recurring in the future.
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How Is Athletes Foot Treated
Athletes foot can often be treated with over-the-counter topical antifungal medications. If OTC medications dont treat your infection, your doctor may prescribe topical or oral prescription-strength antifungal medications. Your doctor may also recommend home treatments to help clear up the infection.
There Is A Wide Range Of Options With Varying Success Rates
Other than keeping your toenails trimmed and perhaps painted, you may not pay much attention to them unless a problem develops. Healthy toenails are pink, shiny and smooth, but a fungal infection can cause them to become discolored, thick, brittle and even painful.
Toenail fungal infection, known as onychomycosis, is a common but challenging condition toenail fungus treatments include a wide range of options with varying success rates.
Causes of toenail fungus
Fungal nail infections are usually caused by fungi called dermatophytes that infect the skin beneath the nail yeast is another common culprit. Toenails are especially vulnerable to infection when your bare feet contact damp surfaces such as showers, swimming pools and locker rooms. If you have athletes foot, the infection can spread to the nails.
Wearing closed shoes such as athletic shoes for extended periods also can contribute to infection if your shoes and/or socks are damp from perspiration or heat. Moreover, if your shoes fit snugly enough to put pressure on your toes, they can damage the nail bed, making it more susceptible to infection.
People with chronic diseases, such as diabetes or circulatory problems, also may be more prone to toenail infections.
Symptoms of toenail fungus
Toenail fungus symptoms can develop slowly over time and may go unnoticed at first. Symptoms can include:
Toenail fungus treatments
When to see a doctor for toenail fungus
Preventing toenail fungus
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What If I Get Turned Down From A Toenail Fungus Pedicure
Some people have been known to offer to bring their own foot basin and nail utensils when they have a fungus in a bid to convince the salon to give them a pedicure.
But most salons will still refuse you after all, toenail fungus can spread very easily, particularly in the wet conditions of a salon.
If youre desperate for a pedicure, however, fear not as there are certain spas that specialize in medical pedicures or toenail fungus cover-ups.
They apply a topical treatment to the affected nail which makes your nails look like new and attempts to halt and reverse the fungal spread.
These spas can also treat other foot problems like excessive hard skin, callouses and more.
Bear in mind that theyre generally more expensive than your average pedicure, but it will be a much better investment for your toenails.
The Supplements And Medicine For Fungus Removal
You can treat the toenail fungus through internal treatments. It is possible by working on your immune system, and letting the body clean the toenail fungus on its own.
Many supplements are exclusively designed to treat toenail fungus or any other skin infection. They may contain probiotics, immunity boosters, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant compounds. These supplements are going to make your body stronger and treat toenail fungus internally.
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What Are Treatments For Toenail Fungus
Do you need to treat your nail fungus? Maybe it doesn’t hurt, and the yellow, thick nails don’t bother you.
But nail fungus doesn’t go away by itself. And if you don’t treat it, there’s a chance it could get worse. It could spread to other nails or through your body. It could cause pain when you walk.
There are a number of ways to take care of it, including:
Nonprescription options. You can buy antifungal creams, gels, and nail polish at the store and online without a prescription. You might want to try one of them first if the infection doesn’t look bad. Some people also swear by home remedies like menthol rub, tea tree oil, mouthwash, or snakeroot extract — but studies show mixed results.
Prescription polish and creams. Your foot doctor will likely trim your nail and file away its dead layers. They may also take a piece of your nail and send it to the lab to make sure itâs really a fungus and to find out what type it is.
The doctor might suggest an antifungal drug that you paint on your nails. This may work on its own, or they may suggest you take it with antifungal pills.
Prescription medications. One of several antifungal pills may help. They work, but it may take many months to do the job. They also come with side effects like nausea, vomiting, and headaches. They may cause liver damage too, so your doctor will watch you closely while you take them. Be sure to tell them about any other meds youâre taking — some antifungal pills might not work well with them.
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