What Causes Toenail Fungus And How Can I Get Rid Of It
If your toenails are crusted with white, yellow, or brown patches, or are crumbly or flaky, scraping them or painting them over with regular nail polish wont solve your problem. Most of the time, when your toenails look deformed or discolored, you have a fungal infection.
Nail fungus, or onychomycosis, can spread to your feet, too. A fungal infection between your toes or on the soles of your feet is referred to as athletes foot, or tinea pedis.
At Foot and Ankle Excellence in Philadelphia, we know how embarrassing and frustrating onychomycosis can be. Our expert podiatrist, Bruni Leka, DPM, has a few tips for preventing toenail fungus, which accounts for about half of all nail diseases.
Onychomycosis is difficult to resolve, so if you suspect you have a case of it, be sure to get it diagnosed and treated as soon as possible.
Reasons Why You Should Use Hydrogen Peroxide For Your Feet
When you are beginning treatment for your nail fungal infection it is important to consider a few things like is it safe, is it affordable, and does it work?
Here are three reasons you should consider using hydrogen peroxide for fungus:
Reason #1: Its safe.
Hydrogen peroxide is generally safe to be used on the skin for wounds and cuts. In addition, it is safe to use it for nail fungus without any adverse health effects.
Reason #2: Its affordable
The average cost for a 2 pack of Equate 3% Hydrogen Peroxide can be purchased at Walmart for $1.71 which makes it one of the most affordable ways to cure toenail fungus. It equals about $0.03 / fl oz which compared to other treatments like Lamisil which is roughly $15.35 / fl oz. This makes hydrogen peroxide is quite the bargain!
Reason #3: No prescription needed
There is no shortage online of people posting the results of their nails but the best thing is starting this type of treatment is that it can be as simple as opening your medicine cabinet. If not a simply run to the grocery store can be the first step of treating your nail fungus.
How Do You Treat Nail Fungus
Often, treatment begins with testing. Your podiatrist scrapes a small amount of the fungus for lab analysis. Then they recommend treatment based on the exact kind of nail fungus and its severity.
Common treatment approaches for fungal nails include:
- Debridement removal of the infected portion of your nail
- Oral anti-fungal medication
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What Are The Symptoms Of A Toenail Fungus Infection
Toenail fungus infections can persist for years without causing dramatic symptoms or even pain. This condition is often overlooked because it starts out as a simple change in your toenails color, like small white dots. As the fungal invaders continue spreading throughout your nail bed though, you may start experiencing:
- Pain while walking or running
- Yellow to brown-colored nails
- Severely brittle nails
- Thickened nails
The more and more fungi continue to thrive, the more likely you are to begin noticing a foul-smelling odor. These symptoms all indicate that its time to seek professional toenail fungus infection treatment.
Garlic As A Remedy To Treat Toenail Fungus Naturally
Garlic is another one of the most effective home remedies for toenail fungus treatment. Garlic is considered to have fine antibacterial properties. It helps effectively to get rid of toenail fungus faster. You can use the garlic remedy by both, internally and externally method. It also useful for boosting immunity.
- Squeeze out some garlic juice and dip a cotton ball in it.
- Dab the infected area with the soaked cotton ball.
- Take some garlic clove and add a few drops of olive oil in.
- Crush and mix them well to make a fine paste.
- Apply this paste on the affected area for at least 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes, wash the area with soap in lukewarm water. Pat it dry well.
- Go on with this remedy for a few weeks.
- For precaution, continue this remedy for longer even after condition heals.
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What Does Toenail Fungus Look Like
Toenail fungus doesnt take on the gruesome appearance you might expect from any kind of fungus. Instead, toenails with fungal infections tend to be:
- Lifted from the nail bed
Toenail fungus doesnt cause any pain, but affected toes can eventually become inflamed and tender as their nails thicken. To prevent these complications, you should visit Lake Erie Podiatry as soon as you notice changes in the nails.
How To Apply Bare Urea Gel On Infected Nails
Use a mild soap or cleanser to wash the skin or nail area to be treated. The moisturizing effect works better if Bare Urea Gel is applied while the skin is still damp after washing or bathing. Moisten a cotton swab and apply a thin layer of urea gel to the affected skin. When applying Urea Gel to the nails, avoid getting any medicine on the cuticles or surrounding skin. Apply generously to the nail and allow the medicine to dry. You may cover the nail with a bandage or gauze if your doctor advises. The treated nail should be easily removed after several days. Apply 40% Urea Nail Gel to damaged nail tissue or affected skin area twice a day or as directed by a physician.
Bare 40 Urea Gel gently dissolves the intercellular matrix of the nail plate, which results in loosening the horny layer of skin and shedding of scaly skin at regular intervals. Urea 40% gel, thereby, penetrates the nail to soften hyperkeratotic nail units, facilitate nail debridement and remove infected fungal nail. It is ideal for patients with multiple nails affected. The moisturizing urea gel is designed to remove dead damaged, devitalized and ingrown nails. The Bare 40% Urea Gel penetrates the nail softening the nail making it easier to remove the infected nail.
Podiatry specialists recommend Bare 40 Moisturizing Urea Gel to remove dystrophic nails without surgery.
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Cornstarch To Get Rid Of Toenail Fungus At Home
Another one of the most useful home remedies for toenail fungus is cornstarch. It is an ideal deodorizer as it reduce the odd smell caused due to toenail fungus. Cornstarch is also known as cornflour. It is a proven remedy to get rid of toenail fungus. Cornstarch helps in preventing fungus from breeding and multiplying in numbers as it has moisture-absorbing qualities. It also soothes skin very well.
- Roast the cornstarch till it turns to brown color.
- Apply this roasted cornstarch on your feet and toenail to prevent and remove toenail fungus.
- Otherwise, make a fine paste by mixing a bit of garlic with a few drops of olive oil.
- Apply this paste on your toes and toenail.
- Leave the paste for half an hour.
- After half an hour, rinse and clean the affected area with warm soapy water. Pat your feet dry.
- Continue the same for a few weeks even after condition is healed completely .
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Keep The Dermatophytes Away
Onychomycosis is highly contagious and difficult to treat. Prevent a fungal infection by protecting your feet in public or shared spaces. Wear flip-flops or beach sandals in the following spaces:
- Steam room
Dermatophytes love warm, moist environments, so be sure to wash your feet daily and towel them dry thoroughly. Also dry your feet including between the toes when you get out of the pool, ocean, or shower.
You can use foot powders on the tops of your toes, in the toe webs, and on your soles to absorb excess moisture. Always wear clean socks and change them at least daily .
Keep your toenails trimmed short and straight. Gently file down sharp edges that could wound your nail bed, making it more susceptible to infection. Make sure you disinfect your nail clippers after each use, and only entrust your toenails to nail salons that disinfect all their tools between customers.
Other tips to reduce your risk of onychomycosis include wearing footwear thats made of breathable, natural materials that give your toes plenty of space. Choose socks made of cotton or a wickable material that keeps them dry.
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Treat Toenail Fungus Cheaply And Effectively
Theres much hype lately about treating the humdrum problem of toenail fungus with a high tech laser. Many forget the less glamorous but inexpensive and effective treatments for this problem. Combining one ancient treatment with a new topical drug is proving extremely effective for my patients without the use of far more expensive laser treatment.
Ten percent of the U.S. population some 35 million Americans suffer from toenail fungus, or onychomycosis. Before they head out for the latest and greatest treatment of toenail fungus, they might want to try longtime remedies and new medications.
The mainstay of fungus nail treatment for podiatrists going back maybe hundreds of years maybe thousands has been debridement of the toenails. Debridement is an ugly, yet fancy, medical word for grinding down the toenail so it is thin and then using an instrument to clean out the debris underneath the toenail. This reduces the fungus in the toenail by removing some of the fungus underneath the nail. Also, thinning the toenail allows topical medicine to penetrate the nail and kill the fungus within it. An important side benefit of debridement is that the toenail immediately looks much better. I have seen fungus toenails almost an inch thick. A toenail that thick can be painful in a shoe and is nearly impossible to cure with a topical medicine because nothing can penetrate that thick toenail.
Instructions To Trim Thick Toenails: 6
First, get the right tools. This is critical the right tools make for an easy job clipping even the thickest nails
The products below are the ones we recommend to our patients and they are also affiliate links so we may receive a small commission at no additional cost to you if your order from the link.
- Nail Grinding Tool: The most effective one we have found is the Beurer Electric Nail and Foot Care Kit a podiatry-grade electric nail grinder and thinning tool. It comes with bits specifically made to work on thick toenails. The large cone, small cone, and disc bits are made from long lasting sapphire and diamond chips. We have tried many of these units over the years and this is best one we have found and the one we recommend to our patients. The video below shows how to use the Pedinova Nail Grinder.
- Heavy duty podiatry-grade toenail clippers: We recommend ClipPro nail clippers for our patients.
The ClipPro Toenail Clipper is the best consumer nail clipper we have found for extra thick and irregular nails. Its jaw opens up to over 1 wide and the top of blades is slightly curved to contour around your nails. It is very easy to maneuver and provides a clean and smooth cut. Only use professional grade toenail clippers like these for thick nails dont try to thin thick toenails with fingernail clippers. Its usually more painful as they just dont cut these thick nails very well and you end up kind of gnawing at the nail with the nippers.
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Late Stage Treatment Of Onychomycosis With Topical Antifungals
In later stages of onychomycosis, the nail thickens and becomes yellow. As the nail thickens, it becomes difficult for a topical medication to penetrate the nail. At this stage, mechanical or chemical debridement of the nail is required to enable effective use of the topical antifungal medication. Nail cutters can be used to mechanically debride the nail. Use of a nail cutter can leave the nail rough and irregularly shaped. Chemical debridement is often preferable due to the fact that chemical debridement is a slow and gradual method that preserves the shape of the nail. The optimal method of debriding the nail is to use both chemical and mechanical debridement. Chemical debridement softens the nail while use of a nail cutter will help remove the softened nail.
In the Myfootshop.com lab, we developed a unique topical antifungal that chemically debrides the nail and treats the fungal infection at the same time. The properties of Natural Antifungal Nail Butter include:
Natural Antifungal Nail Butter is the only product on the market today that manages the thickness of fungal nails and treats the fungus simultaneously.
How Do Dermatologists Diagnose Nail Fungus
To find out if a patient has nail fungus, a dermatologist examines your nails and nearby skin. Its important to check the skin because the fungus can spread. You may already have a skin infection caused by fungus like athletes foot.
To get rid of the infection, you will need to treat all infected areas.
Before giving you the diagnosis, your dermatologist may also take some samples. Collecting a bit of debris from beneath a nail, trimming off part your nail, or scraping off a bit of skin can be very helpful. In a lab, these samples can be examined under a microscope to find out whats causing the problem.
Are you hiding an infected nail with nail polish?
Be sure to ask your dermatologist if you can wear nail polish while treating nail fungus.
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The Basics Of Toenail Debridement
As our seniors increase in numbers, foot and toenail care will become a vital part of healthcare. When this care is done properly and given regularly, it is capable of preventing infections and even ulcerations.The tools to help you get started are simple: Clippers, curette and Dremel.Clippers are available in single-action and double-action.
Double-action clippers provide a more ergonomic grip over single-action clippers. This mechanical advantage is important when dealing with thick mycotic toenails. The depth of the clipper blade is less important since you will only be using the distal 2-3 millimeters of it when cutting nails. Curettes come in a variety of lengths and tip sizes. For foot care, a double-ended 2.5 millimeter curette is ideal. Bigger curettes are not recommended since they will not comfortably slide underneath the nail. Remember that nail care should never be painful. If your patient is in pain, you have been too aggressive, whether with a nail clipper, a Dremel or a curette.
When clipping extremely curved nails, also known as omega or pincher nails, take care to change the angle of intent often in order to adjust to the curvature of the nail.
*If you are concerned about fungal infections in the lungs from dystrophic nails, understand that toenail onychomycosis is not transferrable through sanding particles. If you have concerns about inhaling fine particles in general, we recommend that you were a mask while sanding.
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Lavender As A Toenail Fungus Cure
Lavender oil is another known remedy to have the anti-fungal properties. It prevents and helps to get rid of the toenail fungus fast. Its pleasing smell helps in treating unpleasant odor. Here is the method to use lavender oil to cure toenail fungus.
- Add a few drops of lavender oil in 1 tsp of any mild skin lotion you use.
- Rub down it to the infected toe 2 to 3 times daily to treat toenail fungus faster.
- Instead of lotion you can use any carrier oil with lavender oil.
When To Refer To Podiatry
Before initiating topical or oral therapy, patients should ideally be referred to a podiatrist for nail trimming and debridement. This assists with removing as much fungus as possible and improves topical drug penetration. Debridement alone cannot be recommended for the treatment of OM patients using a combination of debridement and topical nail lacquer have shown a significant improvement in mycological cure compared with debridement only. Patients with nail trauma owing to footwear, dystrophic toenails affecting other toes or who describe discomfort when walking owing to thickened toenails should also be referred.
When there is treatment failure with topical, oral and combination therapies, a podiatrist may be able to carry out a chemical or surgical nail avulsion .
If there is doubt over the original diagnosis, or where no improvement has been seen with treatment, pharmacists should refer patients to a podiatrist or their GP.
Supported by RB
RB provided financial support in the production of this content.
The authors were paid by The Pharmaceutical Journal to write this article and full editorial control was maintained by the journal at all times.
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