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Does Toenail Fungus Ever Go Away

What Causes Nail Fungus

Why does it take so long for a fungal toenail infection to go away?

Nail fungus occurs when fungi, yeast, or mold infect the skin. These types of infections are more likely to affect toenails than fingernails, and can be associated with athletes foot. Symptoms typically include white, brown, or yellow discoloration of the nail or thickening, cracking, and/or brittleness of the nail. If left untreated, the area of the infection can become painful.

There are several risk factors for developing nail fungus: tight shoes damaged nails walking barefoot in moist areas like swimming pools, saunas, and public showers poor blood circulation in your legs a weakened immune system and other skin conditions, such as psoriasis. You may even have a genetic predisposition to developing nail fungus.

Here at North Central Texas Foot & Ankle, well assess your specific case, perform tests to get to the bottom of the issue, and determine which treatment to provide you based on the test results.

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Side Effects Of Toenail Fungus Medication

One of the many benefits of using a homeopathic remedy is that there are little to no adverse side effects. Topical treatments often prescribed to treat toenail fungus can potentially burn or blister the skin. Oral medications for treating onychomycosis can cause liver or gastrointestinal damage. Be sure to read your medications list of potential side effects. Consult your pharmacist, physician, or specialist if you are concerned about side effects of prescription drugs.

Preventing Toenail Fungus From Spreading

While you can’t avoid contact with the microscopic organisms that cause toenail fungus its present anywhere that is warm, dark, or moist keeping your feet clean and dry and clipping your nails properly can help prevent an infection.

For fungus to grow, there needs to be some type of trauma to the nail where the nail-skin junction, or natural barrier, is disrupted, says Sheth. For example, from a pedicure, ill-fitting shoes, or the repetitive trauma of running or hiking that causes the nail to lift or get pressed on from shoes or boots.

Still, some people are more vulnerable than others, she adds. Some people have it only on one toe or one foot, and some have lived with a partner who has it but they never get it,” Sheth says. “And for some you see it in their entire family. It’s not as straightforward as it seems, and it’s an annoying problem.

If you do get a toenail fungus infection, these measures can help stop it from spreading:

Getting rid of established toenail fungus can be difficult. Successfully eliminating it depends on careful adherence to a treatment plan.

“What happens over time is that the fungus breeds in the nail tissue and goes from being just a little bit on the nail, to a really discolored and thickened nail, to a nail that is totally embedded with fungus,” explains Marlene Reid, a doctor of podiatric medicine in Naperville, Illinois, and a spokesperson for the American Podiatric Medical Association.

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Can I Wear Nail Polish If I Have Toenail Fungus

You may feel tempted to cover up a discolored toenail with nail polish. If you are using a topical antifungal, you probably should not use polish. Some providers may tell you not to wear it in any case. Polish traps in moisture from the nailbed . Because fungi thrive in moist environments, wearing nail polish may make a fungal infection worse. However, the nail continues to grow with or without polish.

Foot Fungus: Causes And Risk Factors

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A foot fungus is a fungal infection of the skin, better known as athletes foot, says Sundling. The fungus enters through cracks in the skin. Its known as athletes foot because athletes or anyone who is more active and sweats a lot is more at risk. Kids are also more at risk, because they dont tend to wear different shoes, and changing your shoes is one way to avoid foot fungus.

Foot fungus is very common. It does not mean that someone is dirty or didnt bathe, and if you have a compromised immune system, you may be more susceptible, says Sundling.

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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:

  • Amorolfine

  • Efinaconazole

  • Tavaborole

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:

  • Fluconazole

  • Itraconazole

  • Terbinafine

Why Toenail Fungus Infection Is More Common In Elderly People

Although toenail fungus infection can affect people of all ages, those who are 60 years old and above are more likely to suffer from it than those who are younger. The condition affects nearly 20% of seniors, while it only affects 2.6% of children younger than 18. There are several factors why people over 60 are at an increased risk of nail alterations and disorders, and these point to their less-than-optimal health. Older people generally have weakened circulation on their distal extremities, impaired immune system, and faulty biomechanics. They also undergo normal age-related changes and disorders, making them more susceptible to nail fungus infections.

Also, elderly people who have health issues such as diabetes are doubly at risk of acquiring nail fungus infections.

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How Do You Know If You Have Toenail Fungus

Your best bet is to get your toenails looked at by your trusty podiatrist. If you see any of the signs weve mentioned, just make an appointment for an evaluation. Since the infection will usually spread, youre better safe than sorry.

Detecting it early also improves the chances for the treatment to do its thing and keep it from moving onto other nails or your skin.

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Is It Fungus Or Melanoma

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Melanoma is a form of skin cancer that can develop on the nail bed. It has a dark brown or black color and can be mistaken for toenail fungus or another toenail problem like a bruise. Melanoma is much less common than toenail fungus, but it can be life-threatening if not caught early.

Both toenail fungus and melanoma can appear as a dark stripe on the toenail and may increase in size over time. The toenail can become split and damaged in both conditions.

Toenail fungus is more likely to cause thickening of the toenail and a buildup of material underneath it. Melanoma causes the skin of the nailbed to change color, which does not happen with toenail fungus, but it can be difficult to see.

Because melanoma can be very aggressive, its important to have your doctor examine a darkened toenail. Your doctor can confirm the diagnosis of toenail fungus by looking at clippings under a microscope and of melanoma by taking a biopsy.

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What Causes Toenail Fungus

It is very unlikely that a few exposures to an unclean environment will cause a fungal infection. Walking barefoot once or twice in a public shower will not generally spread the infection. Similarly, it is also unlikely that a single visit to a pedicurist will cause the infection. Lengthy exposure to a contaminated environment is often required in order to contract the fungal infection although individuals may be more susceptible to fungal infections than others.

Is Onychomycosis Still A Problem

The great majority of superficial fungal infections are caused by dermatophytes, which belong to one of three genera , with T. rubrum being the most prominent cause of nail infection . summarizes the prevalence of various superficial fungal infections in different geographic areas . Among superficial fungal infections, by far the most difficult to cure is toenail onychomycosis . The prevalence of onychomycosis has been reported to be as high as 23% across Europe and 20% in East Asia . In North America, the incidence of onychomycosis is up to 14% , with fungal infection responsible for 50% of all nail disease . With millions of dollars being spent annually on oral and topical prescriptions, laser treatments, over-the-counter products, and home remedies, it is obvious that people are still bothered by their fungal toenail infections and are determined to get rid of them. Unfortunately, this is easier said than done. To successfully cure toenail onychomycosis requires long treatment duration that may extend to a full year. Even then, complete cure, defined as clinical cure plus mycological cure , is often unattainable.

Distal subungual onychomycosis of the great toenail.

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A Pharmacist Can Help With Fungal Nail Infections

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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.

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What Is Toenail Fungus

Toenail fungus is a widespread fungal infection that affects the toenails. Less commonly, nail fungus infects the fingernails. Nail fungus is also called onychomycosis.

Toenail fungus happens when fungi get between the toenail and the toenail bed . This usually happens through a crack or cut in your toe.

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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    Why Wont My Toenail Fungus Go Away

    Now that its sandal season, youre probably going to be showing off your toenails a little more, and yellowish nails can leave you feeling self-conscious about toenail fungus. While toenail fungus may not seem like an immediate concern, youre going to want to take proactive treatment because its unlikely that the fungus will go away on its own. Today, we take a look at some of the ways you can treat lingering toenail fungus.

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    According to a 2016 review, thymol has antifungal and antibacterial properties. To treat toenail fungus, apply oregano oil to the affected nail twice daily with a cotton swab. Some people use oregano oil and tea tree oil together. Both products are potent and may cause irritation or allergic reaction.

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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.

    Will Fingernail Fungus Go Away On Its Own

    No, fingernail fungus will not go away or cure on its own. Fingernail fungus is relatively less and easy to treat compared to toenail fungus. But even fingernail fungus needs treatment for longer periods to cure it completely. If fingernail fungus is left unattended or not treated then it can spread to other parts of the body, cause skin infections and even spread to other people. So, all fungal nail infections need treatment as it does not get cured on its own. If you have diabetes mellitus or any immunocompromised status it is important you treat the fungal nail infection properly, otherwise, it can cause some serious problems.

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    Can You File Away Toenail Fungus

    With that in mind, I generally encourage healthy adult patients with mild toenail fungus to not treat it or to treat it just using topical measures. For example, you can buff the nail down with a file to keep it thin, so the fungus has less of a home to live in. You should also keep the nail trimmed.

    How To Use Clotrimazole Solution

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    The solution comes in a bottle with a plastic dropper which lets the solution out in drops.

    Apply clotrimazole solution thinly and evenly to the affected areas.

    A few drops of clotrimazole solution should be enough to cover an area the size of a hand.

    If your ear is infected, put 2 to 3 drops of clotrimazole solution into your ear.

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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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    Why Is My Big Toenail Yellow

    When toenails turn yellow, a fungus is usually to blame. This type of fungal infection is so common that you might not even need to see a doctor for treatment. Try an over-the-counter antifungal cream. If your nail is yellow and thick, gently file down the surface so that the drug can reach deeper layers.

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    What Is The Outcome For Someone Who Has Nail Fungus

    With treatment, many people can get rid of nail fungus. Even when the fungus clears, your nail may look unhealthy until the infected nail grows out. A fingernail grows out in 4 to 6 months and a toenail in 12 to 18 months.

    To clear the fungus, its important to:

    • Use the treatment exactly as prescribed

    • Apply the medicine for as long as prescribed

    • Keep all follow-up appointments with your dermatologist

    Nail fungus can be stubborn. If you had a severe infection, its possible to clear the infection. A healthy looking nail, however, may be unrealistic, but you can expect the nail to look better and feel more comfortable.

    Even with clearing, nail fungus can return. Youll find steps to reduce your risk in Tips: 12 ways to prevent another nail infection.

    ImageGetty Images

    ReferenceGold LFS and Rosen T. Onychomycosis: Diagnosis, treatment, and prevention strategies. Dermatology News . March 2016:2-15.

    How Can I Stop My Nail Fungus From Returning

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    Chances are, if youre exposing your feet to the same spaces in which they previously became infected, theyll likely get infected again. Instead of walking barefoot through communal areas like public pools and showers, try wearing flip-flops or other appropriate shower shoes. Just make sure you thoroughly clean and dry your feet afterward.

    When you treat yourself to a pedicure, make sure the establishment is clean, licensed, and in accordance with state standards. Are the nail techs sterilizing their equipment between each use? If not, this could be why nail fungus keeps popping up on your toes. Time to find a new favorite spot!

    If youve taken medication for nail fungus or used antifungal creams or polishes and stopped using them at the first sign of healthier nails, this could be why your nail fungus keeps coming back. Although it seems like the fungus is gone, some that isnt visible to the naked eye could remain. If treatment is stopped too early, some remnant fungus may continue to grow, which will lead to what is perceived to be another infection.

    If your doctor gives you oral medication, make sure to finish it in accordance with your doctors recommendations. If youre using over-the-counter polish or cream, its recommended that you keep using it up to a couple of weeks after the appearance of a healthy nail.

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