Black Toenail Fungus Or Black Toenail Melanoma
A subungual melanoma can develop underneath the toenail. This is a dangerous toenail cancer and toe cancer.
Toenail cancer is sporadic and accounts for only about 1-2% of all diagnosed melanomas in the human body.
Of the subungual melanomas, 60% are found in the fingernails, and about 40% are found in the toenails. It is sporadic ever even to consider the black toenail fungus or toenail melanoma question.
Subungual melanomas are more common in older individuals 60+ years or older and have a history of cancerous skin growth.
A subungual melanoma or a toenail melanoma black toenail line is usually very wide .The black line extending into the epidermis is called a Hutchinson sign. It is usually associated with a thickened toenail nodule. It might also possibly show bleeding that extends into the surrounding toenail skin.is
Usually, only one toenail is infected. It is scarce for there to be multiple subungual melanomas.
Important melanoma warning: It is essential to see your podiatrist or your oncologist perform a biopsy.
If a subungual melanoma is not detected, it can spread through the rest of your body. Going to see your podiatrist is a great start to diagnose whether you had a black toenail fungus or a black line associated with subungual melanoma.
Can Thick Toenails Cause Complications
Untreated toenail infections can cause some complications. Over time, the infection can get worse, and symptoms may become more severe. Toenails can thicken to the point that they cause discomfort when you try to wear shoes or even make it more difficult to walk.
If you have pre-existing medical conditions, treatment is vital so the fungus doesnt contribute to secondary infections or complications.
Terbinafine For Toenail Fungus Treatment
The best pill for toenail fungus is terbinafine. Evidence suggests it works better than the alternatives with the fewest side effects. Terbinafine results in resolution of toenail fungus 76% of the time. Common side effects may include headaches, skin rash, and vomiting. It is taken once a day for 6 to 12 weeks.
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What Is Toenail Fungus
Toenail fungus is usually an infection of the toenail caused by opportunistic fungi, explains Oliva. It may cause your nail to turn a yellow or white hue, thicken, or crumble at the outer edges.
While toenail fungus can occur in people of all ages, board-certified dermatologist Marie Hayag, MD, says that its most common in older folks. As the nail ages, it is prone to becoming brittle and dry, which can result in cracks in the nails that make it susceptible to fungal infections, she explains, noting that all of the aforementioned causes can be even more of a concern as a result.
Meet the Expert
- , MD, is a board-certified dermatologist practicing in Manhattan. She is an assistant clinical professor at Mount Sinai Hospital and also teaches in the Dermatology Departments surgery clinic.
- Francisco Oliva, DPM, is a Miami-based podiatrist who has been in private practice for 25+ years.
Nevertheless, because developing a toenail fungus can occur at all ages, we reveal the best ways to treat toenail fungus at home, below.
Prevention And Treatment Of Toenail Fungus
Once its taken hold, toenail fungus can be hard to kick. Here are some techniques for the prevention and treatment of toenail fungus.
Anyone who enjoys wearing open-toed sandals in the summer knows how good it feels to have healthy-looking toenails. But good looks arent the only reason to keep your toenails in top shape. Fungal infections of the toenails also known as onychomycosis don’t go away on their own, and if left untreated, the fungus will spread and can eventually destroy the nail.
If you have comprised blood flow, theres even more reason to safeguard your toenails, since youll have trouble healing, says Ami Sheth, a doctor of podiatric medicine in Los Gatos, California, and a spokesperson for the American Podiatric Medical Association. And once you have a wound, you can get fungal skin infections, which can lead to a subsequent bacterial infection if the skin breaks down, notes Dr. Sheth.
However, because toenail fungal infections are typically painless, people are often unaware that they have a problem unless they are inspecting their feet regularly.
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Creams & Topical Treatments For Toenail Fungus
Over-the-counter fungal creams like clotrimazole dont work well for treating toenail fungus. Prescription nail polishes are available, but they take longer to work and arent effective for severe cases. Thats because they dont penetrate the nail very well. That said, they are still a good option for people with mild cases of toenail fungus, or for those who cant take the oral antifungals. Examples include:
Side effects are usually minor and include redness or burning at the application site.
You might hear or read about medicated chest rub as a treatment for toenail fungus, but its mostly hype. Its a tempting option because its so safe, easy to use, and cheap. But its not likely to help.
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.
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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:
/6toenail Infection Is A Contagious Disease
Toenail fungus also known as onychomycosis is a common infection of the toenail. This contagious disease can be very painful and can even spread to other parts of the body, if not treated immediately.
The most common symptom of the toenail infection is a white, brown or yellow discoloration of one or more toenails. It may spread and even cause the nails to thicken and crack.
Traditionally, anti-fungal treatments such as terbinafine or fluconazole are used to cure toenail fungus, but these treatments have some serious side effects like upset stomach, dizziness, and jaundice. Most people opt for home remedies to cure this disease.
You can also try these popular home remedies, if your toenail is troubling you.
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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 To Prevent Toenail Fungus
Because fungi are everywhere , they can be present months before they find opportunities to strike and before signs of infection appear. By following certain precautions, including proper hygiene and regular inspection of the feet and toes, chances of the problem occurring can be significantly reduced.
- Regularly clean and dry feet to resist disease. Follow a strict regimen of washing the feet with soap and water.
- Change socks and hosiery daily and change out shoes on a regular basis.
- Clip toenails straight across so the nail doesnt extend beyond the tip of your finger or toenails.
- Wear socks that are made of synthetic fiber to wick away moisture. Cotton and wool socks dont wick away moisture as fast as synthetic fiber does. This can be helpful in denying a hospitable environment for the fungi to grow in.
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What Are Treatments For Toenail Fungus The Best Fungal Nail Treatment
Do you need to treat your nail fungus? Maybe it doesnt hurt, and the yellow, thick nails dont bother you.
But nail fungus doesnt go away by itself. And if you dont treat it, theres a chance it could get worse. It could spread to other nails or through your body. It could cause pain when you walk.
The best fungal nail treatment There are a number of ways to take care of it, including:
Nonprescription options. You can buy antifungal creams, gels, and nail polish at the store and online without a prescription. You might want to try one of them first if the infection doesnt look bad. Some people also swear by home remedies like menthol rub, tea tree oil, mouthwash, or snakeroot extract but studies show mixed results.
Prescription polish and creams. Your foot doctor will likely trim your nail and file away its dead layers. They may also take a piece of your nail and send it to the lab to make sure its really a fungus and to find out what type it is.
The doctor might suggest an antifungal drug that you paint on your nails. This may work on its own, or they may suggest you take it with antifungal pills.
Nail removal. If the infection is deep and youve had it for a while, your doctor may want to remove all or part of your nail. A new nail usually grows back, but it might take a year or so. While its coming back, your doctor will likely give you a cream or other treatment to put on your nail bed to keep fungus away.
How Fungi Infect The Nail
Onchomycosis, or toenail fungal infection, is an invasion by a microscopic organism that thrives in warm, damp environments. Fungal spores are in the air, and they will grow if they land on a receptive surface like your toenail. They feed off the nail tissues, burrowing into the skin under the nail. Over time the nail thickens and may lift off the nail bed as fungal debris accumulates. Once your nail is raised off the nail bed, it won’t reattach, and a new nail won’t grow from that part of the nail bed. However, your nail will continue to grow from the root at the base.
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How Do I Know If I Have A Fungal Nail Infection
Because other infections can affect the nail and mimic symptoms of a fungal nail infection, the only way to confirm a diagnosis is to see a doctor. Theyll take a scraping of the nail and look under a microscope for signs of fungus.
In some cases, your doctor may send the sample to a lab for analysis and identification.
Over-the-counter products arent usually recommended to treat nail infections since they dont provide reliable results. Instead, your doctor may prescribe an oral antifungal medication, such as:
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:
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Treating Toenail Fungus Medically
How a toenail fungal infection is treated may depend on its severity.
In white superficial onychomycosis, for example, the white patches of fungus that form on the nails can sometimes simply be filed off and an over-the-counter antifungal topical medication can be applied to the nail to kill the fungus.
For infections affecting deeper layers of the nail, over-the-counter topical medications often don’t penetrate the nail deeply enough to kill all of the fungus and prevent the infection from recurring. Repeated applications of the medication or a prescription-strength drug may be necessary.
The symptoms of more severe infections include thickened, discolored toenails that may eventually become painful. In these situations, you should see a podiatrist who can devise a treatment plan that may include these actions:
Debridement The thickened portions of the nail can be debrided, or removed, to reduce pain and allow a topical treatment to penetrate more effectively.
Topical Medication Medications that are applied like nail polish or hand cream are sometimes used to treat nail infections. However, topical medication often fails because it doesn’t move deeply enough into the nail to reach the fungus or users forget to apply it daily for almost a year, as is required.
How Can I Prevent Toenail Fungus
Theres no way to guarantee that you wont get toenail fungus. But you can take several steps to help prevent it:
- Avoid going barefoot in communal areas such as hotel rooms / showers, public showers, locker rooms and swimming pools. Most people pick up fungus in these situations. It helps to wear flip flops in these public areas.
- If you have a family member with foot fungus or nail fungus, try to use different shower or wear flip flops in the shower to avoid coming in contact with it.
- Trauma due to accidental or aggressive clipping of the nails can turn into portals of entry for the fungus.
- Clean your nail trimmer before using it.
- Do not tear or rip your toenails on purpose.
- If you have diabetes, follow all foot care recommendations from your healthcare provider.
- Keep your feet dry. Make sure to fully dry your feet after a shower.
- Soak toenails in warm water before cutting them. Or you can cut your nails after a shower or bath.
- Trim toenails straight across .
- Wear shoes that fit correctly. They should not be too loose or tight around the toes.
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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.
Best Medicated Nail Polish: Arishine Toenail Fungus Treatment
Treats discoloration, brittleness, and cracked nails
Easy, on-the-go treatment
Only works on nail plates
Treatment process can be slow
The Arishine Toenail Treatment has the design and convenience of a pencil. Perfect for storing in a bag or pocket while at work, the repair pencil allows you to use a paintable nail polish on your infected toenail three times a day with ease to treat a nail fungal issue.
The Arishine treatment uses two percent deacetylated chitin, three percent O-hydroxybenzoic acid, and Angelica dahurica as active ingredients to get rid of fungus and heal the damage. This solution can help treat discoloration, brittleness, split, rough, and cracked nails. Ultimately, this medicated nail polish can lead to stronger and healthier nails.
Arishine is made of natural ingredients and does not conduct animal testing. Treatment requires three applications a day and should be used for four to 12 weeks, although improvement may be visible in as few as two weeks. Arishine offers customers a satisfaction guarantee.
Active Ingredients: Deacetylated chitin , O-hydroxybenzoic acid , and Angelica dahurica | Dose: Applicator automatically delivers correct amount with two to three clicks. Apply around nail on cuticles and under nail bed. | Uses: Treats fungus infection on and around nails helps heal discolored, brittle nails
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