You Can Prevent Fungal Nail Infections By Taking These Simple Precautions:
- Exercise proper hygiene and regularly inspect your feet and toes.
- Keep your feet clean and dry.
- Wear shower shoes in public facilities whenever possible.
- Clip nails straight across so that the nail does not extend beyond the tip of the toe.
- Use a quality foot powder in conjunction with shoes that fit well and are made of materials that breathe.
- Avoid wearing excessively tight hosiery, which promotes moisture. Socks made of synthetic fiber tend to “wick” away moisture faster than cotton or wool socks, especially for those with more active lifestyles.
- Disinfect home pedicure tools and don’t apply polish to nails suspected of infection.
Depending on the type of infection you have, over-the-counter liquid antifungal agents may not prevent a fungal infection from recurring. A topical or oral medication may need to be prescribed, and the diseased nail matter and debris removed, a process called debridement. Note: Please consult your physician before taking any medications.In severe cases, surgical treatment may be required to remove the infected nail. Permanent removal of a chronically painful nail, which has not responded to any other treatment, permits the fungal infection to be cured and prevents the return of a deformed nail.
Contact Foot and Ankle Associates of Southwest Virginia, P.C. today at 344-3668 for more information on Toenail Fungus Treatment in Salem, VA.
How Do I Treat Toenail Pain
The common causes of toenail pain are badly-fitting footwear, ingrown toenails, fungal infections, and injuries. All of these problems can often be treated at home with measures such as over-the-counter medication and correct footwear. In some cases, however, it might be necessary to visit a healthcare worker for professional advice and treatment.
One of the easiest toenail problems to treat is pain caused by improperly-fitting footwear. The shoes you wear can cause pain if the toe box is too narrow to allow your feet enough room. Any of the toes can be affected, but the big toe tends to take the most pressure from shoes that are too tight.
High-heeled shoes often cause this kind of pain because the shape of the shoes typically includes a narrow toe. The height of the heel is another factor, and in general, the higher the heel, the more likely the shoe is to cause some kind of pain. Wearing comfortable, low-heeled shoes instead of higher heels is the best way to reduce toenail pain caused by footwear.
Foot and Nail Fungus
Injury to the Foot
Causes Of Toenail Fungus
Your toenails are frequently being exposed to the pathogen that causes fungal infections.
In fact, fungus and bacteria can be found almost anywhere, from public pools and locker rooms to the inside of your own shoes warm, damp, and dark places are the perfect environment for fungus to thrive. And when it finds a home in which to fester, the fungus begins to damage the keratin in the nail and, in severe cases, even cause debilitating pain.
However, fungal toenails can also develop in other ways in some cases, the fungus is contracted after an initial injury to the nail bed. Something as simple as a stubbed toe or an ingrown toenail can make the area more susceptible to the development of this condition.
In other cases, toenail fungus is the result of other underlying conditions that may contribute to a person developing infections in general. A good example of this is diabetes if you are living with diabetes, then you are already at a higher risk of infection, so when fungi comes into the picture, it is likely to take hold of the nail quite quickly.
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Best Ways To Treat A Nail Fungus
Nail fungus can cause thick, discolored nails, and, for some patients, it can even be painful. An Internet search will bring up plenty of ways to treat the condition, but which ones are best? Dermatologist Dr. Christopher Hull discusses what nail fungus actually is, why its so hard to get rid of, and which treatments work best.
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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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How Do Doctors Diagnose Toenail Fungus
In most cases, doctors can diagnose toenail fungus by examining your nails. Sometimes, doctors take a nail clipping or scrape some nail debris to send to a lab. The lab will examine the sample and identify the specific organism causing the infection. This may be necessary to tell the difference between toenail fungus and skin conditions, such as , that can look similar.
Mayo Clinic Q And A: Treatment For Toenail Fungus Isnt Always Necessary
DEAR MAYO CLINIC: I am in my late 50s, and a few of my toenails have turned a yellowish color and seem to have thickened. Is this something I should be concerned about? Is there anything I can do to fix this?
ANSWER: What youre likely experiencing is a fungal nail infection. Fungal nail infections are common, especially among older adults. As nail growth slows with age, its easier for fungus to establish in the nail bed. Treatments are available, although they may take some vigilance and are not always necessary.
Toenail fungus usually is caused by a microscopic organism called dermatophyte fungus. It often begins as a white or yellow spot under the tip of your toenail. But as the infection goes deeper, nail fungus may cause your nail to discolor, thicken and crumble at the edge. These fungal infections are more likely to happen in your toenails than in your fingernails because toenails often are confined in a dark, warm, moist environment, where fungi can thrive. Toes also have less blood flow than fingers, making it harder for your bodys immune system to detect and stop the infection. But it is possible for fingernails to be affected.
The older you are, the more likely you are to get toenailfungus. Thats because as you age, your immune system changes. Inaddition, your nails become more brittle and drier over time, creating morecracks where fungus can live.
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Why Does Toe Nail Fungus Hurt
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The Danger Of Waiting To Treat The Fungus
The greatest danger of not treating the foot or toenail fungus is that it can spread to other parts of the body, such as the hands and groin.
If for some reason you cant treat your toenails or your feet right away, at least use an antifungal topical cream on the surrounding skin, Dr. Ng says. That will help keep it from spreading and keep the skin intact.
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What Tests Might I Have For Toenail Fungus
Your provider will probably take a small sample from underneath your nail to further analyze it. Viewing the cells under a microscope can confirm a toenail fungus diagnosis. If the initial test is negative, a scraping can be sent to see if the fungus grows out in a culture. It also helps your provider identify the type of fungus.
How Do I Get Rid Of Black Toenail Fungus
- The best way to get rid of black toenail fungus is to trim the toenail.
- It is also a good idea to clean out the underlying callus underneath the toenail.
- The key to curing black toenail fungus is to make sure the new toenail can grow back in safely without more fungus underneath it.
- A podiatrist can help you do this, and this can greatly help remove the toenail fungus.
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What Are The Most Effective Treatments For Toenail Fungus
The experts at Easton Dermatology Associates offer treatment customized to your exact situation, whether youve just noticed an irregularity with your toenail or youve been battling fungus for a while. Treatment options include:
- Prescription oral antifungal medications
- Topical nail cream
- Special antifungal nail polish that allows your nails to breathe
No matter what treatment you adopt, patience is key. It can take several months to clear up toenail fungus because even nails that grow at an average rate dont grow rapidly. We treat your fungus until its a thing of the past, and we also advise you on how to prevent a recurrence.
Its much easier to solve the problem when youre in the early stages of infection, before it becomes too advanced.
Do at either of our locations in Easton or Salisbury, Maryland, so we can start helping you eliminate embarrassing and persistent nail fungus problems ASAP. When next summer rolls around, you can be back in those oh-so-chic sandals!
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Is Toenail Fungus Painful
Quite often toenail pain is disregarded until it can no longer be endured. In fact, the pain can be so excruciating that walking in your shoes may be difficult. Even more, people often procrastinate in seeking medical attention until walking is unbearable.
However, you can completely avoid toenail pain if treatment is done early on. In fact, prompt treatment may be the solution to fast healing and decreasing pain.
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Softening And Scraping Away The Nail
As it can take a long time for antifungal medication to work, some people may prefer to use a treatment that involves softening and removing infected parts of nail over a few weeks.
Treatment kits are available from pharmacies that contain a 40% urea paste, plasters and a scraping device. The paste softens the infected parts of the nail, allowing them to be scraped away so they can be gradually replaced with healthy nail.
To use the treatment:
How Are Thick Toenails Treated
Although not all cases of toenail fungus need to be treated, thick toenails may be a sign that the fungus has gotten worse. Several methods are available to treat your toenails. You can try some home-based treatments first and then talk to your doctor about prescription-based options. Topical and oral medications are the mainstays of therapy.
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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.
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.
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What Does Toenail Fungus Look Like
There are a few different types of toenail fungus. They are all treated the same way, but the treatment times vary depending on how long you have had the fungus. Below is a list of the most common types of toenail fungus and a description of what they look like:
- White Superficial Onychomycosis The first signs are a white powdery substance on your toenail. As the area becomes larger, the nails will become brittle and start to crumble. The fungus enters through the layers of your nail, gradually getting into the nail bed itself.
- Black Toenail Fungus Sometimes this is mistaken for dried blood under the nail or trauma, but you cant recall banging your toe.
After a while, though, the fungus will grow, and the nail discoloration will become worse. You will notice changes in your nail such as thickening, crumbling, and an unpleasant odor.
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Know It May Have To Be Permanent
At this point, if he or she has not discussed this with you earlier, the doctor may recommend that you have the nail permanently prevented from growing back. This is only done in severe cases of fungus or other disorders where the problem would simply keep occurring if the nail grew back.
To do this, the doctor must destroy the nail matrix, which is the part of the toe that produces keratin, the element that toenails are made of.
The matrix can be dissolved chemically, which is the most common. This is called chemical cauterization, and involves the application of a chemical called phenol. Occasionally, some patients report their nails growing back, but generally this method is effective.
If this does not work, your doctor will perform a surgical matrixectomy. A flap of skin is surgically created at the base of the nail, where the matrix is located. After retracting the flap, the matrix is surgically removed.
Start A Program Of Treatment When You Have Mild Toenail Fungus
This is the stage where you should start a fungal treatment. You wont have any pain at this point, only a toenail that is starting to change. The yellowing and discoloration, and the toenail starting to get thicker are symptoms of mild toenail fungus.
Treating it now will ensure that it doesnt get so bad as to cause you any pain. When your nail fungus is mild, you can easily treat it with any treatment, although a tea tree oil foot soak is highly recommended.
Foot soaks can get into your skin and nail at the same time. They will also soften the nail, letting you file off the extra layers of nail. As more layers come off, the treatment will work faster. You can make the experience more pleasant with a quality foot spa machine. Many people use them to improve circulation and reduce stress after a busy/hectic day.
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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