How To Treat Fungal Toenails
Posted on 05.30.17|Yuko Miyazaki, DPM|
There are many places to go and things to do in Berkeley all year long, and especially in our summer months. No matter if you enjoy visiting the Berkeley Rose Garden or revisiting your childhood with a ride on the Tilden Park Merry-Go-Round, its always a little better when youre wearing sandals or open-toed shoes to air out your feet and keep them cool. You may disagree, though, if you have a case of fungal toenails!
Whereas some people are quite comfortable sporting open-toed shoes, others feel the need to keep discolored, distorted toenails hidden from the world. If you are one of those individuals, you should know there are fungal toenail treatment options that can help.
When it comes to treatment for fungal toenails, the best place to start is with methods you can try on your own at home. We will certainly provide professional treatment if you need it, but you may want to try any of the following remedies first:
- Apple cider vinegar. This particular type of vinegar has a mild acidity, which both prevents the fungal infection from spreading and eradicates the offensive fungus . To correctly perform this form of treatment, mix apple cider vinegar with an equal amount of water in a basin. Soak the affected foot in the solution for about thirty minutes.
Home care is a good starting point, but there is certainly a chance you will benefit from professional treatment. In these cases, you may need:
When To See Your Doctor
If you think you have athletes foot and it hasnt subsided after a week of home treatment, make an appointment to see your doctor. You may need prescription antifungals to get rid of the infection.
You should also make an appointment to see your doctor if you have athletes foot and diabetes. This is especially true if you have signs of a secondary bacterial infection, which can be more dangerous in those with diabetes due to their nerve damage.
Signs of infection include redness, pus, swelling, drainage, and fever. If you have diabetes, you may not feel pain in your feet due to nerve damage.
Your doctor will likely be able to diagnose athletes foot just by looking at it.
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.
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Laser For Toenail Fungus
If you have a wedding coming really soon, and you want to look good think of having a laser session to treat toenail fungus. this is the fastest treatment to root up fungus. However, you need to have a lot of money to execute this process.
There are two types of leaser treatment for toenail fungus. The expensive one is the cold laser it will take only a few minutes to remove the toenail fungus. The second option is the hot laser treatment for nail fungus. it is not recommended of children, older adults, and pregnant women. It will take almost 4 weeks for the treatment of toenail fungus.
You can read about the Laser treatment in detail from various experts like Dr. Ron has covered everything regarding laser treatment to cure toenail fungus, from where it would be much easier for you to understand the treatment.
Also, there are many home laser devices which one can use as laser treatment for fixing the fungus.
However, the regular method is very expensive in terms of cost.
Tips To Combat Foot Fungus
The best way to combat foot fungus is to reduce your exposure to it. There are simple things you can do to prevent from contracting foot and nail fungus.
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When To Contact A Doctor
Toenail fungus is typically not a significant problem for most people. However, if there are no improvements or complications occur as a result of home remedies, people should speak with a doctor and stop using the home remedy as soon as possible. It is also advisable to contact a podiatrist if a person notices any discoloration, thickening, or abnormality of the toenails.
Furthermore, people at higher risk for complications should seek medical treatment for their toenail fungus and avoid home remedies altogether. This includes those with diabetes or with weakened immune systems.
Do Vinegar Soaks Help Toe Fungus
In short, there is a lot of anecdotal evidence to suggest vinegar foot soaks can help you to get rid of fungal toenail infections over time and with repeated use.
There are further benefits to a vinegar soak. It could remove dry, cracked or dead skin cells from your feet. Its also thought that giving your feet a vinegar bath could help tackle other fungal infections, like athlete’s foot.
But will vinegar kill toenail fungus? Theres no concrete clinical evidence to suggest that soaking feet in vinegar will definitely work, though some users do report that the treatment can work on mild cases of fungal infections. It is also a low-risk treatment, so it is unlikely to cause you any harm if you do decide to test out this home remedy.
Usually, your doctor will recommend using medication to treat toe fungus rather than relying on a home remedy.
There are two main types of medical treatment that are normally recommended for fungal nail infections: nail paints and tablets.
Amorolfine nail paint is available from our online pharmacy for the topical treatment of fungal toenail infections. The antifungal nail paint works by stopping the growth of fungus that causes infections. It also breaks down the fungi cells and removes the fungus as the nail grows out. Amorolfine is the cheaper generic version of the branded Curanail antifungal treatment. You could also use Loceryl 5% nail lacquer, which is a prescription treatment you apply directly to your infected nail.
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What About The Cost Of Oral Medications For Fungal Nails
A further consideration is cost. Because newer oral antifungal agents are very expensive, some insurance companies balk at paying for what they consider a “cosmetic issue,” unless nail fungus causes pain or other functional symptoms. Terbinafine and fluconazole are now available as generic drugs and are quite inexpensive.
When To See A Doctor
In most cases, toenail fungus is considered a cosmetic problem. Still, it may cause serious complications for some people.
If you have diabetes, toenail fungus may lead to foot ulcers or other foot problems. According to a 2012 study, chronic toenail fungus is a significant risk factor for bacterial cellulitis of the leg.
If you have diabetes or a weakened immune system, you shouldnt use home remedies for toenail fungus. Contact your doctor for the appropriate course of action.
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Preventative Steps To Take
While you cant always help your risk factors for toenail fungus, there are some preventive steps you can take:
- Bring your own sterilized instruments, such as nail clippers, to a nail salon.
- Keep your toenails short and clean to prevent nail trauma that can lead to cracking. If you have difficulty trimming your own toenails, your doctor may recommend seeing a podiatrist to help.
- Dont share personal care items like fingernail clippers or pumice stones with another person.
- Throw away or treat potentially infected footwear.
- Wear clean socks and wash socks after use.
- Wear sandals when walking in a locker room, public shower, or any other places where fungus is likely to grow.
Toenail fungal infections have a high rate of recurrence, even after youve treated them. Thats why its important to couple treatment measures with preventive ones to give yourself the best chance for keeping your toenails healthy in appearance.
Toenail Fungus Prescription Medications
Sometimes prescription medications are needed to treat a toenail infection that just wont go away with natural remedies or over-the-counter medication in a few months. In this case, prescription-strength antifungal medication can eradicate stubborn onychomycosis.
Topical medications often are effective in treating mild to moderate toenail fungus. Topical solutions may include medicated nail polishes or liquid medications. Loprox , Penlac , Kerydin , and Jublia are among the top prescription drugs for toenail fungus.
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Baking Soda And Vinegar
Before you put them on, sprinkle baking soda into each shoe to absorb odor. It also acts to decrease the activity of fungal spores. Fill a spray bottle with diluted white or apple cider vinegar and spray it into your shoes whenever youre not going to wear them. It can help slow down the growth of fungal spores. Dont worry, the vinegar smell will disappear as it dries. Use both together to keep bacteria under control.
White Vinegar Or Apple Cider Vinegar
Vinegar is slightly acidic, so natural remedies like apple cider vinegar work to balance the pH of the skin. It also helps to prevent the fungus from spreading and kills bacteria and fungi. Mix equal parts vinegar and water and soak the infected area for 30 minutes daily. Make sure to thoroughly dry your foot after.
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Clean Socks And Shoes
Regularly changing your socks and shoes can also cut down on the growth of unwanted foot fungus. Both socks and athletic shoes can also be washed in hot water to rid the growth of yeasts and fungi that may be growing on the fabric. Some shoes can be machine dried. Drying shoes in the sun is another option when cleaning footwear.
Adding a half-cup of baking soda or one cup of vinegar to the washing machine can help eliminate bacteria or fungus on socks or shoes.
Boots and other footwear that are not machine washable could be wiped out with a vinegar and water solution or sprayed with an over-the-counter antifungal spray. Medicated powders are also helpful in treating shoes for foot fungus.
Allowing the feet to breathe by taking off shoes and socks when possible can prevent fungal growth. Protect your feet by wearing breathable footwear and clean socks. Antimicrobial socks and shoes made from bamboo, copper, or specialty fabrics are also available. They can help reduce unwanted bacteria and yeast from growing in your footwear.
A proactive approach to keeping your feet clean and dry can prevent the spread of toenail fungus. You can wash or soak feet with warm soapy water or a foot bath using everyday household items. Soaking your feet in an all-natural, homeopathic concoction can be beneficial in reducing or eliminating toenail fungus.
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.
ReferenceGold LFS and Rosen T. Onychomycosis: Diagnosis, treatment, and prevention strategies. Dermatology News . March 2016:2-15.
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 Other Conditions Can Be Mistaken For Fungal Nails
Here are some other conditions you may have instead of fungal nails:
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Foot Fungus: Causes And Risk Factors
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.
Use Baking Soda And Hydrogen Peroxide
The best way to do this is to use an unused toothbrush, baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, and water. The baking soda and hydrogen peroxide will be a 1:1 ratio.
Get about 4 tablespoons of baking soda and put it in the bowl and mix with about 4 tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide and add a splash of water.
Use the toothbrush and mix the ingredients. Then, use the toothbrush and scoop up some of the baking soda mixtures on the bottom and scrub in a circular motion on the shoes that need to be cleaned.
This needs to be a deep scrub. Start on the inside and make sure it is fully saturated, then go to the front, then to the sides, and then to the rest of the shoes.
Let sit for about 15 minutes and use ONLY hydrogen peroxide and water to clean the baking soda residue off of the shoes. Then let sit for another 20 minutes. After the 20 minutes is up, get water and rinse off the shoes using the toothbrush to ensure they have no chemicals on them.
At this point, the shoes should be completely cleared of any fungal spores and they should be whiter too! This process can be done to clean dirty shoes, carpet stains, pet odors, teeth whitening, and more!
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Treatments How To Clear Toe Fungus
There are a number of treatments for onychomycosis. Unfortunately, many are not very effective. The most aggressive and effective way to treat the fungus is with oral anti-fungal medications. The most common oral anti-fungal medications are Itraconazole and Terbinafine . Both medications are expensive and insurance companies tend to consider onychomycosis a cosmetic problem. If you are diabetic, your insurance company may consider onychomycosis a medical problem, and will cover the treatment. If you are experiencing pain or have developed ingrown toenails as a result, then your insurance company may cover treatment. The medication needs to be taken once daily for 3 months. The effectiveness of the medications ranges from 60 to 80%, with a recurrence rate of about 10-15%. Complete cure rates have been reported as low as 28%. Lamisil® appears to be more effective and has fewer drug interactions than Sporonox®. How To Clear Toe Fungus