A Pharmacist Can Help With Fungal Nail Infections
Speak to a pharmacist if the look of your nail bothers you or it’s painful.
They may suggest:
- antifungal nail cream it can take up to 12 months to cure the infection and does not always work
- nail-softening cream it’s used for 2 weeks to soften the nail so the infected part can be scraped off
The infection is cured when you see healthy nail growing back at the base.
Causes Of Toenail Fungus
- Onychomycosis stems from a number of fungal pathogens, primarily a certain group of fungi known as dermatophytes. Other relatively less common carriers of this infection are yeast and mold.
- Your susceptibility to this type of infection increases with age as older people tend to have increasingly brittle and dry nails that may allow the fungus to slip in through the cracks.
- Direct skin-to-skin contact with people grappling with fungal infections like athletes foot or ringworm on their hands can transmit the fungus onto you, paving the way for a toenail infection.
- A warm, moist environment such as a pool deck or a locker room provide the ideal breeding grounds for these infection-causing fungi. Therefore, people who walk barefoot in such areas tend to pick up this infection quite easily.
- Another common way of catching a fungal nail infection is by sharing an infected nail clipper or towel.
- Moreover, people who are prone to having moisture-ridden nails or often wear sweaty socks and shoes are increasingly predisposed to getting a fungal nail infection all by themselves.
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.
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If You Arent Sure Of The Diagnosis
If a podiatrist has never diagnosed you with nail fungus before, you may be incorrectly self-diagnosing your condition. There are many foot and nail conditions that can mimic the abnormalities associated with nail fungus, such as onycholysis, a hematoma under the nail, psoriasis, and paronychia. By scheduling an appointment with a foot and ankle specialist, you can be sure that youre getting the right treatment for your specific condition.
Toenail Fungus Spreads Easily
You can get toenail fungus by walking barefoot in public places, especially showers and pools. Fungus loves warm, moist places, even if it’s your own home. If one person in a household has toenail fungus, it can spread through shared bathrooms and other living spaces.
Tips to prevent toenail fungus:
- Clean bathtubs and tiled floors with antiseptic. Antiseptic kills fungus and prevents its spread.
- Replace old or soiled shoes. If this isn’t possible, spray an antimicrobial spray inside of the shoe and allow it to dry for 24 hours.
- Wear flip flops in public showers.
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Symptoms For Nail Fungus
The fungus affects toenails more than fingernails. Toenails have more chances of coming in contact with fungus while walking barefoot. If an infected person has walked in a public place, they can spread the infection to others. The following symptoms will help you diagnose finger fungus correctly.
Nail color changes to grey, green or brown depending on the sub species of fungus causing. It begins as a spot and then spreads to your entire nails. Such hyperpigmentation is not observed in nail psoriasis.
Nails become more brittle, crumbled and patches may develop. It easily spreads throughout as your nail grows.
Nail fungus can also spread to other uninfected nails and the surrounding skin.
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How Does Laser Therapy Work
In simplified terms, the laser therapy device shines a laser light into the toenail, penetrating down on, in, and through the nail to reach the fungus. It vaporizes the fungus. It also leaves the skin and tissue around the fungus alone.
Essentially, the laser device is set at a certain wavelength that only the fungus will absorb. When it penetrates the fungus, it destroys it.
If we want to get a little more technical, there are a few ways it can destroy fungus depending on the laser. Most lasers use photothermolysis that causes photomechanical or photothermal damage. We like the non-thermal laser therapy as it is pain-free since it doesnt use heat. It is still absorbed by the fungus only and damages the structure of the fungus.
But what you need to know is that laser therapy has been proven effective in clinical trials and because of this, the FDA began clearing laser devices.
As with all the treatments, you wont see the results right away. You have to wait until your nice fungus-free nail grows in. This will take months. But youll start to see the difference as the new nail comes in.
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Treating Fungal Nail Infection
Treatment may not be necessary in mild cases of fungal nail infection. For more severe or troublesome cases, antifungal medication may be recommended.
A fungal nail infection is unlikely to get better without treatment, but if you’re not bothered by it you might decide it’s not worth treating because treatment can take a long time, may cause side effects, and isn’t always effective.
Whether or not you decide to have treatment, you should still follow the self-help advice below to help stop the condition getting worse or spreading to others.
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.
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How Does Laser Nail Fungus Removal Work
Laser nail fungus treatment involves the use of a 1064nm wavelength laser. Depending on the type of laser, light or carbon dioxide heats the nailbed, killing fungi and any spores present.
Why does laser nail fungus removal work better than other treatment methods?
This modern solution targets infections deep within the nail bed. During treatment, you can help recovery progress by keeping your feet as dry as possible, wearing protective footwear in public showers and locker rooms, not sharing nail clippers, and paying attention to your blood sugar levels.
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If You Observe Certain Nail Changes
For prompt, effective treatment of your toe nail condition , you should see a podiatrist as soon as possible, especially if you notice certain changes to your nails. These abnormalities may include toenail deformities, discoloration, or thickening. By seeing a podiatrist as soon as possible, you can reduce the risk that youll suffer permanent damage to your toenails.
If you are in need of a foot doctor in Sugar Land, TX , visit Advanced Foot & Ankle Specialists or call 281-242-3338.
Nail Psoriasis Or Fungus How To Know When To See A Doctor
Imagine a great mani-pedi session leaving your hands and feet feeling soft and clean. Sounds great right? But wait? Are you seeing some unusual changes on your nails? Discoloration? An unseen spot? Cracking? Your nails might be trying to tell something.
Our nails are made up of keratin-the same protein that makes up your skin and hair. There are times when the keratin structure is altered, damaged, or taken over by fungal infections.
It is not uncommon to have trouble with your nails. However, sometimes it can get complex if not treated timely. You may be suffering from nail fungus or nail psoriasis.
Nail fungus or Onychomycosis is an infection caused by fungus growing in your nails. It is a contagious disease that begins as a white or yellow spot on your nails. The fungus can spread rapidly infecting your entire nail. It may even turn brown or black if left untreated.
Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune skin disease. People suffering from this disease have red, scaly patches on their skin. Psoriasis is a genetic autoimmune disease that spreads to your chest, trunk, fingernails, and toenails. Fingernail and toenail psoriasis is caused due to psoriasis.
Toenails and fingernails are susceptible to both of these nail infections. If you notice any of the below-mentioned symptoms, you must seek help from your dermatologist immediately.
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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
What Kind Of Doctor To See For Toenail Fungus
If you notice unusual changes in your nails you need to see a foot nail doctor, who is a podiatrist. A podiatrist deals with all your foot, ankle, heels, and nail issues. They effectively offer toenail fungus treatment Houston and recommend surgical treatment where necessary. Some people prefer visiting a dermatologist, but then the specialist must be able to diagnose and treat skin, hair, and nail conditions.
Toenail fungus is caused by dermophytes fungithat thrive on the keratin andthe skin keratin is a component of the nails and the hair. The fungus gets under the nail bed in addition to causing discoloration, which is one of the visible symptoms, it grows and it destroys the nail growth. The nail may fall off, become brittle, thicken, and harden. The condition can be very challenging to get rid ofsometimes.
Home remedies do not cause any harm, however, relying on them when looking to get rid of the fungus can be risky. This is because most of the time you do not have the correct diagnosis and it could be dangerous for your health. If left untreated toenail fungus causes deformity and severe pain.
If home remedies are not improving your fungal toenail, you may want to consult a nail fungus doctor at DeNiel Foot and Ankle Center. Dr. Ejodamen Shobowale, a foot and ankle specialist will provide you with the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet. She has many options for toenail fungus treatment in her Houston office
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When To Call A Doctor For Severe Nail Fungal Infection
Nail fungal infections can be treated without going to the doctor. They can be successfully and easily cured with over-the-counter medications. Many topical ointments, though, get a bad rap because they are thought to be ineffective in treating nail fungus. However, newer topical solutions that have 10% undecylenic acid and nail-penetrating essential oils are proven to provide effective, safe, and fast cure.
For severe cases of nail fungal infections, its best to see a doctor for best possible treatments. These include worst case scenarios of onychomycosis, in which patients deal with discomfort or increased pain and swelling, other infections, red streaks extending from the area, discharge of pus, and fever with no other cause.
Its also best to go to a doctor if the fungal infection appears to be spreading to the surrounding skin. Other people also seek a doctors advice even if their nail condition is a moderate case because the appearance of the infected nail bothers them.
A general practitioner may be able to handle nail fungal infection cases. However, it is recommended to seek a dermatologist to pinpoint the problem. A dermatologist can give proper diagnosis on skin and nail conditions, and therefore will be able to identify the fungal infection and what type it is.
When Should I See A Podiatrist For Nail Fungus
Nail fungus is difficult to get rid of on your own. You should schedule an appointment at AllCare Foot & Ankle Center if you have nail fungus thats bothersome, painful, or resistant to over-the-counter treatments.
If you have diabetes or another condition that causes circulation problems, you should call AllCare Foot & Ankle Center at the first sign of nail fungus. Diabetes increases your risk of complications from any type of foot wound, including nail fungus.
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How To Help Toenail Fungus
Once you have been diagnosed with toenail fungus under your nails, there are several strategies that can help. They can be used independently or together, depending on your circumstances.
One treatment is with anti-fungal medications. These are pills taken by mouth, sometimes for weeks or months. Some people have medical conditions or are taking other medications that make these antifungal pills risky. Others who take them sometimes experience unwanted side effects. In these cases, I recommend other strategies.
Another common treatment for toenail fungus is medicated nail polish. These arent always very effective and must be used for many months. This is because nails are naturally a tough protective barrier. Because the infection is located underneath the nail, this makes it hard for the medication to penetrate through the nail to reach the underlying infection. This is especially true in cases where at least half of the nail is infected.
Both medications and medicated polish are long-term strategies that may be risky for many people, and may not work at all. Plus, treatment with these often takes several months.
This is why I prefer using laser technology. Its safe, quick, and pain-free.
What Can I Do About It
There are many treatments. None of them work all the time.
Your doctor can give you pills to kill the fungus. They work better than other treatments. But you need to take them every day for several months. You will have to have blood tests to check for side effects.
If you have fungus on only half of one nail, special nail polishes can sometimes kill the fungus. There are also treatments that use lasers and special lights to kill the fungus. These are new treatments, and doctors donât know yet how well they work. Most health insurance plans wonât pay for them.
Here are some things you can do to lower the chance of getting more fungus on your nails:
Dry your feet with a towel and hair dryer after bathing.
Wear sandals or shoes made of real leather. Donât wear shoes made of rubber, plastics, or man-made materials.
Wear socks made out material that absorbs moisture, such as merino wool, nylon, or polypropylene. Donât wear cotton socks.
Use antifungal sprays or powders in your shoes. You can buy these at drugstores without a prescription.
Donât go barefoot in public showers.
Donât use nail polish or nail extenders, such as acrylic or gel nails. If you get manicures and pedicures, go to salons you trust, or bring your own tools.