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.
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
How Do I Know If My Toenail Fungus Is Dying
Top 5 signs your toenail fungus has gone nuclear Nail color changes. If your nail turns white and chalky or yellow, its not a good sign. Nail position changes. If your nail starts to curl downward or upward, its time to be concerned. Nail texture changes. Nail smell changes. Nail sensation changes.
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Do I Have Nail Fungus Or Nail Psoriasis
Nail fungus and psoriasis can both infect the nail and the nail bed. They both can cause changes in the nails, making diagnosis difficult. However, nail fungus and psoriasis are different skin conditions.
Nail fungus is a fungal infection. Its caused by a group of fungi called dermatophyte. Fungi are everywhere around us. They love moisture and can thrive in moist, warm areas of the body. Thus, if your nails are always wet or moist, you are more likely to get nail fungus. Athletes are at highest risks because they usually sweat a lot. People with diabetes or obesity are also commonly affected by nail fungus.
Nail psoriasis is an autoimmune disease. It occurs when the immune system becomes overactive and attacks the healthy nails. In fact, the body causes the skin cells to build up rapidly under and around the nails. This can lead to pain and inflammation of the nails. People with psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis can be more at risk of getting it.
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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:
How Do You Treat Fungal Nails
Fungal infections can be difficult to cure using self-care remedies and over-the-counter products. Podiatrists usually prescribe topical and oral medications or laser treatment for fungal nails. Typically, treatment strategies will depend on the severity of your condition and the type of fungus that caused it.
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What Causes A Fungal Infection In The Feet
If your feet are damp or sweaty, fungi can take root under the nails of the toes. Common causes of toenail fungus include the dermatophyte fungus, mold, yeast, or simply athletes foot .
Additional factors can contribute to a toenail infection, such as trauma to the nail, lack of daily hygiene, and certain vascular diseases. If you regularly swim in a pool, the continual exposure to water can increase your risk of fungal exposure.
Top 5 Signs Your Toenail Fungus May Have Escalated To An Infection
A little case of toenail fungus is practically a rite of passage you quickly learn not to go barefoot in a locker room or shared shower area again and to always pack clean socks. But what happens when your toenail problem goes beyond a suspect smell and yellowed appearance?
At Rocky Mountain Foot and Ankle Center, with locations in Wheat Ridge, Granby, Evergreen, and Arvada, Colorado, our team of podiatrists and foot and ankle surgeons provide care for fungal toenail infections and much more. They believe in educating patients about skin and nail care so you can help avoid common problems and keep your feet healthy and strong.
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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.
How Can You Get Infected With Toenail Fungus
Anyone can find themselves with toenail fungus and it doesnt necessarily reflect on your cleanliness or lifestyle as we mentioned, its very common and very contagious.
You will be more prone to pick up toenail fungus if you fit the following risk profile:
- Coming into contact with others who have toenail fungus
- Keeping your feet in a dark and humid environment like wearing socks and shoes all day. Fungus thrives in darkness and humidity
- Wearing ill-fitting shoes or having nail injuries
- Having circulation problems
- Being over the age of 60
- Having long toenails this allows plenty of space for the fungus to grow and thrive
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Fungal Nails Laser Treatment
Laser treatment for fungal nails uses energized light to destroy the fungus without affecting nearby healthy tissues. Furthermore, the heat emitted by the laser will decompose the affected skin and nails while also sterilizing the surrounding areas to prevent another fungal growth.
Laser therapy may be a relatively new treatment option against nail infections. However, studies proved that patients with fungal toenail infection showed 91% clinical improvement after their laser treatment.
Besides its effectiveness, this treatment is also painless, fast , and requires no anesthesia.
Is Toenail Fungus Really Such A Problem
If youre thinking you can just live with it, we dont advise letting toenail fungus go untreated. Its an insidious problem, and without treatment, you have to deal with the discomfort of the nail as well as feeling self-conscious about its unsightliness.
If you let a nail fungus infection go for too long, several problems emerge. The infected nail can become misshapen and increasingly separated from your nail bed. Itching and pain are unpleasant side effects if theyre too severe, you can have trouble wearing shoes or walking.
You need to be especially attentive to treating toenail fungus if your immune system is compromised. If youre living with diabetes, its critical not to ignore the fungus. Even a mild infection like this can snowball into something more serious, like cellulitis, a severe bacterial skin infection.
Another problem is that untreated fungus eventually can spread to either neighboring toenails or to the skin of your foot, causing athletes foot. Possibly the worst outcome of untreated nail fungus is needing to have your nail surgically removed.
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Is It Possible To Prevent The Recurrence Of Nail Fungus
Tinea pedis, also known as athlete’s foot or foot fungus, can cause recurrence of fungal nails. Therefore, it is important to manage this condition. One can apply over-the-counter antifungal medicines such as clotrimazole or terbinafine cream as directed to affected skin. Keeping footwear and socks clean can be helpful. You can also use portable UV light sanitizers to disinfect shoes.
Does Foot Fungus Stay In Socks
Athlete’s foot spreads either through contact with fungi or by contact with infected skin. Perpetually damp areas like locker rooms, bathroom floors, showers, and swimming pools are prime breeding grounds for the fungi. They can also live in socks, shoes, and towels, all of which have a tendency to remain moist.
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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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Know It Need Not Be Your Only Option
As already mentioned, nail removal is usually a last resort, after other methods have failed to be effective. As such, your doctor is not likely to recommend or even mention nail removal before trying oral and topical medications, ointments, and various other treatments.
Depending on the precise issue, many people have found great success and healing using all kinds of other treatments. Because nail fungus is a very common reason for toenail removal, look at thesedifferentoptions for how to safely and effectively treat toenail fungus.
However, the more severe the case and the longer it has gone without treatment, the more likely your doctor will insist on nail removal as the only possible option.
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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
What Do I Do If I Have Toenail Fungus
Feb 26, 2019 | Foot Care
The average worker wears shoes for 9-12 hours a day. If their shoes are uncomfortable or if their socks are not made of breathable material, moisture will accumulate inside the shoes ideal conditions for fungus to grow.
A fungal infection can make its way inthrough cuts in the skin or through cracks in the nail. Because toenail fungusis a progressive infection that hardly displays any serious symptoms in theearly stages, the disease often goes unnoticed for long periods of time.
An infected toenail will slowly changecolor. You might notice a yellowish or whitish discoloration and a thickening ofthe toenail.
If left untreated, the infection caneasily spread to the adjoining toenails as well as to the skin.
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Prevention Is Better Than Cure
Youve heard the saying, now lets ensure it doesnt happen to you again:
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Scroll For Disturbing Toenail Fungus Pictures Below
The first symptom you may notice is a small white or yellow spot on the nail, this spot may be very small making it hard to notice. The small spot on the nail is the beginning stages of the fungal infection and with time will grow and progress to a much larger area, sometimes engulfing the whole nail. The lack of discomfort, and the use of nail polish in women, can allow this minor change to go by un-noticed.
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Is It Toenail Fungus Or Something Else
Odd-looking toenail? It may be a fungal infection, but there’s a good chance that another condition could be to blame.
If you notice an odd spot on your toenail, you might assume its a fungal infection. However, theres a good chance that its not.
Spots or discolorations on or under a toenail could be bruises resulting from trauma to the nail, blood blisters, warts, or even subungual melanoma, a type of skin cancer, says Ami Sheth, a doctor of podiatric medicine in Los Gatos, California, and a spokesperson for the American Podiatric Medical Association.
Since nail irregularities can be caused by diseases besides these as well, its best to get it looked at, says Dr. Sheth.
Richard Goad, a doctor of podiatric medicine at Baylor Scott & White Health in Waco, Texas, concurs. Sometimes the nail will be the first place to show another underlying problem, Dr. Goad says.
So is it a fungus, a false alarm, or another condition entirely?
Facts You Should Know About Fungal Nails
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.
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