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How Serious Is Toenail Fungus

How To Get Rid Of Nail Fungus

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Toenail fungus is notoriously difficult to treat.

In order to be rid of the fungus, youâll need the nail to fully grow out while treating it. And, nails grow slowly, so change can take time.

A fungus is not like a bacteria that can be washed away with some soap and water, or treated with antibiotics. A fungus infection will require an antifungal treatment and the growth of new healthy toenails.

Kill The Fungus And A New Fungus Will Replace It

  • If you attempt to eradicate the fungus, it wont help because the space underneath the nail will still be there.
  • Eventually a new strain of fungus will just enter through the cracks in the tissue and continue to inflame and irritate the area under the nail.
  • This opening and cracking under the nail is initially caused by microtrauma or a systemic disease.

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Fungal Nail Infection Causes

Itâs a good idea to wash your hands and feet often. Use soap, and make sure you get between your fingers and toes.

Keep your fingernails and toenails short and trimmed straight across.

Wear socks that wick away moisture. If your feet sweat a lot, change your socks once or twice a day, or take off your shoes and let your feet cool when you have the chance.

Use antifungal powder or spray on your feet as well as in your shoes. Throw away old pairs of closed-toe shoes since fungi might be living in them.

If you get manicures at nail salons, visit only the ones that disinfect tools after each client. You can also bring your own file and clippers from home. Ask that your cuticles not be cut, since this can cause tiny breaks in the skin that let germs in.

Donât share towels if someone else in your family has nail fungus. This will pass around the infection.

See your doctor if you think you have nail fungus. You may need a prescription to treat it, whether that means taking a medicine by mouth or using a special cream. In severe cases, your nail may need to be removed so a healthy new one can grow in its place. Doctors can also use lasers to treat nail fungus.

You get an infection when a crack in your nail or the skin around it allows fungus to get inside and grow.

Youâre more likely to get a fungal nail infection if you:

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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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Can Severe Toenail Fungus Be Cured

Dangers of Ignoring a Toenail Fungus Infection

Yes but not by just topical medication!

  • Many people with toenail fungus are never able to successful treat their toenail fungus.
  • It is unfortunate because they desperately try every home remedy and buy expensive topical creams that state they are a miracle cure. But nothing ever works out.
  • This is because they are treating the symptoms of the disease and not the cause.
  • The toenail must become weak and the nail bed must be damaged before the fungus ever enters into the picture.
  • According to current scientific literature, less than 30% of all deformed and thick nails were initially caused by toenail fungus.

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Stop This Skin Infection In Its Tracks With These Over

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Verywell Health / Sabrina Jiang

Toenail fungus is a common fungal condition that often starts after a rash on the foot spreads to the nails. When mild, it looks like white and yellow spots growing under the nail beds. But if left untreated, the fungus can grow severely by hardening the nails and spreading to other toes.

The fungus often begins in the form of athlete’s foot between the toes or on the soles of the feet. At this stage, the fungal infection is easier to treat with over-the-counter medication. But Shari Lipner, MD, a board-certified dermatologist at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medicine, told Verywell Health toenail fungus can be difficult to treat because of how slow the nails grow. The more severe the toenail fungus, the thicker the nail, and the more nails involved makes it that much harder to treat the nails even with effective therapies, she says.

Diagnosing the fungal infection early is key to make treatments effective. Dr. Lipner recommends visiting a board-certified dermatologist to properly treat the infection if it grows to be too severe.

Here are a few of the best over-the-counter toenail fungus treatments on the market.

Medical Complications From Untreated Fungal Toenail Infection

Without proper treatment to stop your toenail fungal infection from getting worse, or spreading, complications will eventually develop. Fungal infections of your toenail can spread to the surrounding skin and when your skin becomes cracked, bacteria can enter and cause an abscess.

An abscess on the toe is a tender mass generally surrounded by a colored area from pink to deep red. They are often easy to feel by touching. Inside they are full of pus, bacteria and debris.

Untreated toenail fungal infections can lead to cellulitis and should be treated immediately with antibiotics. Untreated skin infections of the toe may lead to severe cellulitis and if the infection enters the bloodstream it can become septicemia, also known as bacteremia or blood poisoning. Once the infection enters the bloodstream the bacteria and their toxins are carried through the bloodstream to your entire body. If the bacteria levels become high enough, septicemia can quickly become life threatening.

A good reason to seek treatment if you suspect you have a toenail fungal infection is because of the similarity of symptoms for differing diagnosis of more serious toenail conditions. You may have a toenail fungus, but you could also be experiencing similar symptoms of a toenail viral infection , complications from toenail trauma, a pre-malignant lesion or, more seriously, melanoma of the nail bed.

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Who Gets Toenail Fungus

Men are more likely to get it than women. The older you are, the better your chances are, too. People who have diabetes, athlete’s foot, or a weak immune system, who smoke, or whose family members have it are also at a higher risk. If you spend a lot of time in the water or you’ve injured your toenail, your odds for getting toenail fungus go up.

So Can Toenail Fungus Spread Internally

Severe Toenail Fungus: Still Making Progress (Birthday Bonus Video!)

Yes, the fungi that cause this infection are in fact very contagious and they can spread to other parts of the body and even in the blood as well if not treated properly. But most commonly they spread to other nails of the feet or fingernail.

I always recommend that once you realize you have nail fungus you should get it treated as soon as possible before it gets late.

Ignoring a fungus is very dangerous, and finding out what happens to a fungal infection if left untreated likely isnt something you want to experience yourself.

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Can Toenail Fungus Spread To Other Areas Of The Body

Toenail fungus can spread to other areas of the body, find out more about what nail fungus is and how it can be managed.

One of the questions that is often asked is whether toenail fungus can spread to other parts of the body. The short answer to this question is that toenail fungus can often spread if it is not treated. This is one of the main reasons for treating toenail fungus as soon as you notice that you have it. Generally, it is possible for a fungal nail infection to spread to other nails, and it can also spread to the skin and cause dermatological issues, skin infections, athletes foot or even ringworm .

More importantly, it is also possible for toenail fungus to spread to the blood too, but it is not very common for toenail fungus to migrate to become a fungal blood infection in this way except in severe cases. Generally speaking, this is a risk factor for individuals with a compromised immune system or existing health conditions. Since this risk can be a serious concern, these people should treat all forms of fungal nail infection immediately and skip the home remedies such as tea tree oil.

Why Does My Nail Fungus Keep Coming Back

Are you dealing with stubborn nail fungus that just doesnt seem to go away and stay gone? However frustrating it may be, the good news is, youre not alone! Nail fungus is very common, with an estimated 3 to 12 percent of the population being affected.

It isnt always easy to determine if whats happening under your nails is a fungal infection or another skin condition. To be sure, go ahead and make an appointment with one of our experienced podiatrists, Samantha Childers, DPM, or Ricky Childers, DPM, at North Central Texas Foot & Ankle. In addition to our Decatur, Texas, location, we have an office in Roanoke, Texas, as well.

In the meantime, lets go over the causes of nail fungus, why it might keep recurring, and some ways to try to prevent it.

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How Do You Treat Toenail Fungus

Depending on the nature and severity of your infection, treatments may vary. Most over-the-counter treatments are minimally effective at best, but almost none of them have produced a permanent treatment. The main reason for these poor results is that the fungal infection resides deep within the nail or nail bed and the topical medications have great difficulty in penetrating to this depth. A fungus may work its way through the entire nail, penetrating both the nail plate and the nail bed. Podiatrist Dr. Burns at Arizona Foot Doctors offers penetrative nail fungus treatments to completely remove the fungal infection. Each patient case is unique, so consult with Dr. Burns to find the best treatment option for you. Treatment may include:

  • Topical or oral medication and debridement . The newer oral antifungal medications are the most effective . Common oral medications are Lamisil and Sporanox. A common topical medication is Penlac nail lacquer.
  • Temporary removal of the infected nail
  • Permanent removal

Foot Pain And Discomfort

How to Give Yourself the Perfect Pedicure with Toenail Fungus

Generally, nail fungus is painless which can lead it to being ignored and left untreated. Nail fungal infections make the nails thickened and deformed. Initially, they might not seem worrying, but ignoring a nail fungus can become painful overtime. The pain begins when the thickening of the nail causes a hindrance when wearing certain footwear. There might be difficulty in walking, and change in footwear may be deemed necessary.

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Soak Your Feet In Vinegar

Heres another pantry item that can deliver optimal results for toenail fungal infections. According to Hayag, applying white vinegar to the fungal-infected areas can prove worthwhile, thanks to its antibacterial properties.

Similar to oregano oil, applying white vinegar topically on fungus-infected toenails has some anecdotal evidence that supports its antibacterial benefits. Soak your foot in one part vinegar to two parts warm water for up to 20 minutes daily, she suggests, saying that this can help with the fungus, help with just the discoloration, or it may not help at all, depending on how your toes react.

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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

Nail Fungus May Spread To The Skin And Other Nails

Is This Too Far Gone? Severe Fungal Toenails

Nail fungal infections are highly contagious, and it is possible that they may spread to other healthy nails surrounding it. Fungus does not only infect nails. It may also result to the contamination of the foots skin. This condition is more commonly known as athletes foot and it makes the skin on your feet red, itchy, and cracked. People who wear heavy footwear and sweaty socks all day are more susceptible to the spread of nail fungal infections to the other areas of the feet.

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How Do You Get It

You make yourself receptive to this kind of infection by walking barefoot in damp or wet areas such as public shower rooms and around swimming pools.

A history of athletes foot, a problem of more than ordinary foot perspiration, or prior damage to a nail may contribute to the problem. People with ongoing health conditions such as diabetes, immune-related issues, or circulatory difficulties are especially at risk.

A Family History Of Toenail Fungus

“Toenail fungal infection can be affected by heredity and some families are more prone to it than others. In these cases, toenail fungus is sometimes seen at an earlier age,” says Cary Zinkin, DPM, a podiatrist in Deerfield Beach, Florida, and a spokesperson for the American Podiatric Medical Association. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, toenail fungus is most common in men over age 60. If you have a family history of toenail fungal infections, take time to inspect your feet daily and see a doctor promptly if you suspect toenail fungus.

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Your Options For Treating Toenail Fungus

If you think you may have toenail fungus, you should see a podiatrist or dermatologist, who will send a specimen or a piece of your nail to a lab. Different types of fungus are treated slightly differently, so its important to know which type you have, says Sundling.

Also, sometimes the root of the problem is not a fungus at all, but rather another condition, or some kind of trauma to the nail bed for instance, if you dropped something on your toe. There is no treatment for toenail trauma, but removing the nail may be an option if the nail is painful.

If you do have a toenail fungus, your doctor will likely recommend one or more of the following treatment options:

What Causes Toenail Fungus

Severe Toenail Fungus Right Foot

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.

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How Can I Tell If I Have Toenail Fungus

Toenail fungus usually starts subtly, so you might not notice anything different with your nail immediately. After a while, though, you see some noticeable differences that indicate a fungal condition. Nails become:

  • Thicker
  • Discolored
  • Tender

Because a nail infected with a fungus is compromised, it can also break or split easily. As the condition progresses, itchiness and pain can occur, and the nail becomes separated from the nail bed.

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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