Staying One Step Ahead Of Toenail Fungus
An established fungal infection is hard to eradicate, but you can stop its spread and improve your toenail’s appearance.
Toenail fungus isn’t a pressing health problem. Yet a fungal infection can ruin the appearance of your nails and cause pain as it lifts the nail away from the nail bed. And fungal infections are notoriously difficult to get rid of. “You may want to consider fungal toenail a condition to be managed rather than cured,” says Dr. James P. Ioli, chief of the podiatry service at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
How To Prevent Toenail Fungus
The easiest way to combat toenail fungus is to change your socks and shoes often, especially after exercising. Whenever youre in any kind of communal setting involving wet feet, like a locker room, wear flip-flops and avoid exposing your bare feet to any common surface.
Its always a good idea to wash your feet with antibacterial soap. When exercising, wear shoes that allow for proper ventilation and wear socks that are made with a breathable or wicking material.
Foot Hygiene For Lasting Results
Using medications or procedures can vastly improve the appearance of your toenails if you have a fungal infection. However, for lasting results, you need to step up your foot hygiene habits. Remember, there is always a chance of reinfection because the fungus is present everywhere in the environment.
Here are some suggestions:
- Be nicer to your feet by wearing comfortable well-fitting shoes. Dispose of your oldest footwear and use an antifungal power in other footwear.
- Keep your feet clean and dry with daily washing with soap and thorough drying with a clean towel. Wear cotton socks, or none at all if youre in a warm, humid climate.
- Keep your toenails trimmed and regularly disinfect all tools you use to cut, file, or otherwise attend to your feet.
- Never share your footwear with others and wear something on your feet whenever you go to a swimming pool, gym, or another warm place where people walk around barefoot.
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How Do I Know If I Have Toenail Fungus Or A Bruise
If the spot is black and shiny, it is likely a bruise and less likely toenail fungus, especially if you recall when or why that bruising might have occurred . If the discoloration is yellow, gray, or greenish in tint, it is more likely a toenail fungus infection.
Furthermore, What is the white hard stuff under my toenails? Keratin is a protein that promotes the development of the skin and nails. Nail psoriasis sometimes causes too much keratin to grow under the nail. This overgrowth is called subungual hyperkeratosis. People with hyperkeratosis may notice a white, chalky substance under the nail.
Secondly, What is the fastest home remedy for toenail fungus?
Try One of These 10 Home Remedies for Toenail Fungus
- Vicks VapoRub.
What kills toenail fungus instantly?
Hydrogen peroxide can kill fungus that grows on toenails. You can directly wipe hydrogen peroxide on your infected toes or toenails with a clean cloth or cotton swab. Hydrogen peroxide can also be used in a foot soak.
Why Vicks For Toenail Fungus
Now that we know how someone could get toenail fungus, lets talk a possible treatment: Vicks Vapor Rub. What is it about this cough and cold medicine that helps with infected toenails? Good question.
One of the ingredients in Vicks is thyme oil and it has been shown to remove fungus from underneath toenails.
In the January-February 2011 issue of the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine, a study was printed in which eighteen people who were dealing with toenail fungus applied Vicks to the affected area.
Five of the participants were cured, ten saw their symptoms improve, and three participants experienced no changes at all.
Of the five people who were cured, only two kinds of fungus were identified Trichophyton mentagrophytes and Candida parapsilosis. This suggests that the treatments effectiveness may depend on the type of fungus that someone has on their toe.
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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.
How To Know If Toenail Fungus Is Healing
However, the symptoms revolving around toenail fungus. A separation of the nail from the nail bed dry, crumbly or brittle texture to nails.
Do you suffer from an unsightly nail fungus infection
- Nail fungus can be resistant to treatment and nails take a long time to grow out, so it can take several weeks or months for an infection to be fully resolved.
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How Is Toenail Fungus Treated
Toenail fungus is notoriously tricky to treat. You may need to treat the condition for several months to get rid of the fungus. Still, toenail fungus often comes back.
A dermatologist or podiatrist can explain your treatment options. If you have a mild case that doesnt bother you, your provider may recommend no treatment.
Toenail fungus treatment options include:
- Oral antifungal medication: You take prescribed medication, such terbinafine , itraconazole and fluconazole , to treat the fungi. You will need to take this medication every day for several months . Your provider may use blood tests to check for potential medication side effects. These medications can affect the liver and interact with other medications, so oral antifungals are not for everyone.
- Topical medication: You regularly apply a medication right on the nail. The medication treats the fungi over time. Topical medications are most effective when paired with oral medications.
- Laser treatments: Your provider directs a high-tech laser beam and special lights at the toenail to treat the fungus. Lasers are FDA approved for temporary increase of clear nail in nail fungus but is not a cure. Cure rates for laser treatment are lower than oral and topical mediations so they are not typically used as first-line treatments for nail fungus.
Symptoms Of Fungal Nails
The good news is that if you catch it early enough, it can be fairly easy to eradicate toenail fungus and save your nails from further damage.
So how do you catch it in the early stages?
Well, inspecting your nails every day is the first step. Especially because toenail fungus can be present a very long time without causing noticeable symptoms.
Here are things you should look for when you examine your nails:
- Darkening or discoloration of the affected nail
- White or discolored spots that arent from an injury
- Thickening or distortion of the nail
- Unusual white or yellow streaks in your nail
- Crumbling along the edges or tips of the nail, particularly where its discolored
- Redness and swelling
- Foul odor emitting from the nail
- Pain when walking or wearing shoes
- The nail starts to separate from the nail bed
If you notice one or more of these symptoms in your toenails, dont wait for them to go away on their own the infection will most likely continue to grow and spread .
Instead, get them diagnosed right away so the fungus can be eliminated quickly and before it causes visible damage to your nail.
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What Should I Ask My Healthcare Provider About Toenail Fungus
If you have toenail fungus, you may find it helpful to ask your provider:
- What type of infection do I have?
- Do you recommend I treat it? Why or why not?
- How long will I need treatment?
- What steps can I take to stop it from coming back?
- Should I be aware of any potentially serious complications or treatment side effects?
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Toenail fungus is an incredibly common infection that can be difficult to treat. The condition usually isnt painful, but it may make you feel self-conscious about how your foot looks. If it bothers you, talk to your provider about your treatment options. A trained specialist can provide guidance on whats most likely to address your concerns while protecting your overall health.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 12/17/2020.
What Kind Of Fungus Can You Get On Your Toenails
Candida infection of the nail. This happens when a yeast infection takes hold in the toenail. The nail plate may thicken and separate from the nail bed. This type of fungal infection tends to affect fingernails more than toenails, Dr. Goad says.
How do I know if I have toenail fungus or a bruise? If the spot is black and shiny, it is likely a bruise and less likely toenail fungus, especially if you recall when or why that bruising might have occurred . If the discoloration is yellow, gray, or greenish
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What Does It Mean When Toenail Fungus Turns Black
- Patients frequently ask us, what does it mean when toenail fungus turns black?
- There is a chance that this could be a black yeast or a black toenail fungus, but it is usually dry blood.
- This usually means that the toenail is getting thick and ripping away from the underlying skin.
- These small blood vessels called capillaries rupture and form dry blood underneath the toenail.
- As the toenail dies, the toenail will eventually turn black and die.
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How Does Laser Nail Fungus Removal Work
Laser nail fungus treatment involves the use of a 1064nm wavelength laser. Depending on the type of laser, light or carbon dioxide heats the nailbed, killing fungi and any spores present.
Why does laser nail fungus removal work better than other treatment methods?
This modern solution targets infections deep within the nail bed. During treatment, you can help recovery progress by keeping your feet as dry as possible, wearing protective footwear in public showers and locker rooms, not sharing nail clippers, and paying attention to your blood sugar levels.
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Laser Procedure For Toenail Fungus Under The Nails
Using a laser directly on the toenails helps to reach those areas underneath and inside the nail. This is because the type of light used can penetrate through the tough layers of the nails. Laser procedures are very convenient because they can be completed in under 10 minutes per foot.
The PinPointe foot laser is FDA-approved for the temporary increase of clear nail in patients with onychomycosis.
This machine can be used on almost all patients because it has virtually no side effects. In one study, over 83% of people who received three sessions with a laser and improved their foot hygiene had no fungi after 18-months.
Some people start to see visible improvement after just one visit, although you may need to return a small number of times for follow-up.
The laser works by targeting the fungi without hurting your skin and nails. Its designed to be at the right level to penetrate your nail and damage the infecting fungi, while not being too high to cause burning or pain for your feet. Most people dont feel anything, or they just feel a warming sensation.
At the time of the procedure, the toenail will usually not become instantly clearit takes time to grow out. As long as your infection is treated and you dont get re-infected, you should see new healthy, clear nail as it grows out within 12-18 months.
Scroll For Disturbing Toenail Fungus Pictures Below
The first symptom you may notice is a small white or yellow spot on the nail, this spot may be very small making it hard to notice. The small spot on the nail is the beginning stages of the fungal infection and with time will grow and progress to a much larger area, sometimes engulfing the whole nail. The lack of discomfort, and the use of nail polish in women, can allow this minor change to go by un-noticed.
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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 .
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What To Do About Toenail Fungus Under Your Nails
Are you embarrassed about your unsightly toenails?
If your toenails look discolored, thickened, or are becoming more brittle or painful, you may have toenail fungus under your nails.
Dont worry, youre not alone! Millions of Americans have toenail fungus infections, called onychomycosis. Its estimated to affect 10 percent of the general population, 20 percent of people over 60 years, and 50 percent of those older than 70 years.
The good news is there are a number of strategies that can help turn your discolored and unsightly nails into clearer, healthier-looking nails.
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Toenail Fungus Common Questions
If youre dealing with toenail fungus, the first thing you need to know is that you are not alone. Many people struggle with toenail fungus and have a lot of questions. How did the infection start? Can I treat the fungal infection at home? What kind of doctor should I see for toenail fungus? Does laser nail fungus removal work?
Symptoms of a fungal toenail infection
Although toenail fungus is relatively common, it isnt unusual for people to keep their condition to themselves. Up to a point, its okay to ignore some thickening or discoloration. However, if the condition gets worse, you may begin to experience pain or unpleasant smells. The most common symptoms of an infection include:
- Thickening nails and distortion in shape
- Changes in color until nails are white, yellow, or brownish
- Nails begin to break and crumble
- The nail becomes detached from the toe
- An appearance of dark debris under the nails
- A slightly foul smell
If youve started to notice that nails are becoming warped or break easily, pay attention to whether you have any other related symptoms. Of course, catching an infection early is the best way to prevent further discomfort.
Causes of fungal infections
Toenail fungus treatment options
How Are Fungal Nail Infections Treated
Treatment isnt always necessarydepending on the severity of your conditionbut it is recommended simply because it might be contagious. Not only can you spread the condition to someone else, but depending on the type of fungus, can also spread to infect your other toes.
For mild cases of toenail fungus, your doctor will likely start with conservative treatments. These may include prescription anti-fungal oral medications or topical solutions. For patients who exhibit severe symptomsor for those who do not respond to medicationthe doctor may recommend nail avulsion surgery. During this procedure, the nail plate is removed and chemical treatments are introduced to treat the infection.
Contact your podiatrist for more information or to schedule a consultation.
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How Will I Know If The Treatment Is Working
The new nail will grow slowly outwards from its base, and it may be 6 months to a year after the treatment has finished before the nails look normal again. Fingernail infections clear up more quickly and completely than toenail ones it can take 18 months for a toenail infection to grow out completely.
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What Tests Might Be Done
Your doctor may be able to tell that you have a fungal nail infection just by looking at your toes or your fingers. But they may do some tests to be sure.
They may decide to take a sample of your nails. The clippings can be tested to see if fungus is in them.
If you do have nail fungus, you and your doctor will decide what treatment is best for you.
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Bruised Toenail Or Fungus How Can You Tell
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So youve found yourself with a discolored toenail. Now youre wondering if its a bruised toenail or fungus. Its a good question because if it is toenail fungus, you are going to want to treat that ASAP.
Toenail fungus affects millions of people and becomes more prevalent as we age. Not only is it rather unsightly, but toenail fungus is hard to treat and spreads easily.
The sooner you start treating a nail fungal infection, the more chance of success you will have of getting rid of it and the less time it will take.
In this article, we will show you how to tell the difference between a bruised toenail and toenail fungus. Do you really need to worry about it, or do you need to start treating it before it gets worse?