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Where Does Nail Fungus Come From

Side Effects Of Toenail Fungus Medication

What NOT To Do If You Have Toe Nail Fungus | Ask Eric Bakker

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.

Causes Of Toenail Fungus

Your toenails are frequently being exposed to the pathogen that causes fungal infections.

In fact, fungus and bacteria can be found almost anywhere, from public pools and locker rooms to the inside of your own shoes warm, damp, and dark places are the perfect environment for fungus to thrive. And when it finds a home in which to fester, the fungus begins to damage the keratin in the nail and, in severe cases, even cause debilitating pain.

However, fungal toenails can also develop in other ways in some cases, the fungus is contracted after an initial injury to the nail bed. Something as simple as a stubbed toe or an ingrown toenail can make the area more susceptible to the development of this condition.

In other cases, toenail fungus is the result of other underlying conditions that may contribute to a person developing infections in general. A good example of this is diabetes if you are living with diabetes, then you are already at a higher risk of infection, so when fungi comes into the picture, it is likely to take hold of the nail quite quickly.

Can I Wear Nail Polish If I Have Toenail Fungus

You may feel tempted to cover up a discolored toenail with nail polish. If you are using a topical antifungal, you probably should not use polish. Some providers may tell you not to wear it in any case. Polish traps in moisture from the nailbed . Because fungi thrive in moist environments, wearing nail polish may make a fungal infection worse. However, the nail continues to grow with or without polish.

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Home Remedies For Toenail Fungus

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Toenail fungus, also known as onychomycosis or tinea unguium, is a common nail condition affecting millions of people in the United States. Fungal nail infections can develop on the nail from various organisms such as molds, yeasts, and fungi. This usually occurs after these organisms come into contact with a cracked nail or skin surrounding the nail as the opening provides a portal of entry for these organisms.

How Do You Get A Fungal Nail Infection

Did she give me nail fungus ?

Most fungal nail infections occur as a result of the fungi that cause athlete’s foot infecting the nails.

These fungi often live harmlessly on your skin, but they can sometimes multiply and lead to infections. The fungi prefer warm, dark and moist places like the feet.

You’re more likely to get a fungal nail infection if you:

  • don’t keep your feet clean and dry
  • wear shoes that cause your feet to get hot and sweaty
  • walk around barefoot in places where fungal infections can spread easily, such as communal showers, locker rooms and gyms
  • have damaged your nails
  • have a weakened immune system
  • have certain other health conditions, such as diabetes, psoriasis or peripheral arterial disease

Fungal nail infections can be spread to other people, so you should take steps to avoid this if you have an infection.

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What Are The Most Effective Treatments For Toenail Fungus

The experts at Easton Dermatology Associates offer treatment customized to your exact situation, whether youve just noticed an irregularity with your toenail or youve been battling fungus for a while. Treatment options include:

  • Prescription oral antifungal medications
  • Topical nail cream
  • Special antifungal nail polish that allows your nails to breathe

No matter what treatment you adopt, patience is key. It can take several months to clear up toenail fungus because even nails that grow at an average rate dont grow rapidly. We treat your fungus until its a thing of the past, and we also advise you on how to prevent a recurrence.

Its much easier to solve the problem when youre in the early stages of infection, before it becomes too advanced.

Do at either of our locations in Easton or Salisbury, Maryland, so we can start helping you eliminate embarrassing and persistent nail fungus problems ASAP. When next summer rolls around, you can be back in those oh-so-chic sandals!

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Take Care Of Your Toes

Use soap and water to wash your feet, and dry well, including between toes. Trim your toenails — straight across — to keep them shorter than the end of your toe. Make sure the tools you use are clean, too. Wash clippers and files with soap and water, then wipe with rubbing alcohol. You might be tempted to cover up discolored nails with polish, but don’t. Your nail bed can’t “breathe,” which keeps fungus from going away.

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Tips To Prevent Fungal Nail Infections

Making a few simple lifestyle changes can help prevent a fungal infection of the nails. Taking good care of your nails by keeping them well trimmed and clean is a good way to prevent infections.

Also avoid injuring the skin around your nails. If youre going to have damp or wet hands for an extended amount of time, you may want to wear rubber gloves.

Other ways to prevent fungal infections of the nails include:

  • washing your hands after touching infected nails
  • drying your feet well after showering, especially between your toes
  • getting manicures or pedicures from trustworthy salons
  • avoiding being barefoot in public places
  • reducing your use of artificial nails and nail polish

Products to help you avoid nail fungus

If youre prone to excessive moisture around your fingernails or toenails, consider buying:

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What is toenail fungus?

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Does Tea Tree Oil Kill Nail Fungus

tea tree oilnail fungusNail fungustreattea tree oilBut over time, your nails may:

  • Have white spots appear on the surface.
  • Turn white, yellow, green or brown.
  • Grow thicker than normal or, in some cases, thinner than normal.
  • Become brittle, with broken or jagged edges.
  • Change shape, curling up or down.
  • Lift off of the nail bed.
  • Smell bad.
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    Facts You Should Know About Fungal Nails

    Many changes in fingernails or toenails may cause people to think they have a fungal infection of the nails, medically known as onychomycosis or tinea unguium.

    Fungal infection of the nails sometimes makes the condition sound contagious or related to poor hygiene. In fact, up to 10% of all adults in Western countries have fungal infection of the nails. This percentage increases to 20% of adults who are age 60 or older. Toenail fungus is much more common than fingernail fungus.

    In reality, abnormal-looking nails may be caused by a number of conditions including, but not limited to, fungal infection. There are many other reasons why your nails may look different.

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    How Do I Know If I Have Toenail Fungus

    A toenail fungal infection has a slow, eroding effect on your toenail but usually takes a while to develop and spread so you might not notice it at first.

    Here are some of the toenail symptoms you may encounter:

    • Change in color often the toenail turns yellow, brown, white, or eve green
    • Nails become thicksometimes so thick you cant get a toenail clipper to work
    • Toenail shape becomes curved, twisted, or ingrown on the sides
    • Initially, a white dot may show itself which then slowly grows larger
    • Toenails become brittle and break easily, sometimes they seem to crumble or get chalky
    • Toenails become flaky and break off
    • Sometimes the toenail has a √Ęcottage-cheese√Ę type substance especially under the hard-outer shell
    • Toenails may loosen and separate off the nail bed occasionally they may even fall of entirely
    • You get pain around the toenail as the hard, curved nail digs down into the sides
    • There is a bad-cheese smell coming from your toenails
    • Eventually, the fungus spreads to your other toes and even out onto the skin on your feet

    If left untreated, you can develop a secondary bacterial infection and even get ulcerations, which are extremely dangerous if you are diabetic or have poor circulation. For some people, toenail fungus has even ultimately led to the surgical amputation of toes or even leg amputations.

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    Diagnosing And Treating Toenail Changes

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    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

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    Types Of Toenail Fungal Infections

    Toenail infections affect about 14 percent of the population at any given time, according to a study published in June 2014 in PloS Pathogens. The most common symptoms of a toenail fungal infection include discoloration of the nail, debris under the nail, irregularity of the white part of the nail, nail thickening, and pain, says Sheth.

    Toenail fungal infections can usually be categorized into one of the following five subtypes:

    Distal Subungual Onychomycosis This is the most common form of toenail fungal infection, usually occurring in the portion of the nail closer to the tip and on the underside of the nail. The nail may become thick, yellow, or brittle.

    Endonyx Onychomycosis People who have endonyx onychomycosis have fungus growing between the layers of the toenails. With this type of fungus, toenails usually have a milky white color and may be pitted or split. They usually dont thicken or separate from the nail bed.

    Proximal White Subungual Onychomycosis This is a relatively uncommon form of toenail fungus, seen most often in people with weakened immune systems due to conditions such as HIV. The fungus enters the toenail through the cuticle and affects the part of the nail closer to the base, turning it a whitish color.

    Nail Fungus: Symptoms And Treatment

    13 June 2017

    Nail fungus, also medically known as onychomycosis, is a chronic fungal infection of the fingernails and/or toenails by dermatophytes, also known as ringworm, yeasts and molds, leading to gradual destruction of the nail plate. It is more likely to affect toenails, particularly the first toenail, than fingernails, according to the National Institutes of Health .

    Fungal infection of the nail is very common. About half of the population is affected with nail fungus by the time they reach 70 years of age, said Dr. Raza Aly, professor emeritus of dermatology at the University of California, San Francisco Medical Center. Fungus is responsible for 50 percent of all nail disease, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

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    Best Ways To Treat A Nail Fungus

    Nail fungus can cause thick, discolored nails, and, for some patients, it can even be painful. An Internet search will bring up plenty of ways to treat the condition, but which ones are best? Dermatologist Dr. Christopher Hull discusses what nail fungus actually is, why its so hard to get rid of, and which treatments work best.

    Softening And Scraping Away The Nail

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    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:

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    What Causes A Nail Fungal Infection

    The infection is usually caused by exposure to a fungus. The fungus grows in wet, dark conditions. The fungus grows when your feet are in warm, sweaty environment . It enters your nail through a crack in the nail.

    Nail fungal infections happen at any age. They are more common in adults older than 60 years of age. They are common in people who have diabetes or circulation problems. They also are common in people with a weakened immune system. Men are more likely than women to get fungal nail infections.

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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:

    • Amorolfine

    • Efinaconazole

    • Tavaborole

    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:

    • Fluconazole

    • Itraconazole

    • Terbinafine

    Treatment Options For Nail Fungus

    Psoriasis or nail fungal infection? How to tell

    Interviewer:

    Dr. Hull:

    Interviewer:

    Dr. Hull:

    Most of my conversation is usually discussing medical therapy, so things that are available by prescription only. And those come in two main forms, which are topical antifungal medications, and then oral antifungal medications. There are other surgical or procedural options, so you can remove nails as well. And then there’s starting to be more interest in technologies like lasers for nail fungus.

    Interviewer:

    Dr. Hull:

    Interviewer:

    Dr. Hull:

    Interviewer:

    Dr. Hull:

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    What Are The Potential Complications Of Toenail Fungus

    Toenail fungus rarely results in serious complications in people who are otherwise healthy. However, many people find the look of toenail fungus embarrassing. People with diabetes, circulation problems, or weakened immune systems have a higher risk of complications. The main one being cellulitisa bacterial infection of the surrounding skin.

    Left untreated, toenail fungus can spread to other nails. It can also progress to nail thickening and detachment. This can make walking or wearing shoes painful. Untreated toenail fungus can lead to permanent nail damage as well. Even after successful treatment, severe infections can leave nails with enduring changes. Recurrence is also common. As with most other conditions, seeking early treatment when symptoms are mild usually results in the best outcome. Once treatment is over, talk with your doctor and ask about ways to reduce the risk of toenail fungus returning.

  • Fungal Nail Infections. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • How to Prevent Athletes Foot. American Academy of Dermatology.
  • Kamrani P, Pillarisetty LS. Anatomy, Bony Pelvis and Lower Limb, Toe Nails. . In: StatPearls . Treasure Island : StatPearls Publishing 2021 Jan-. Available from:
  • Nail Fungus. American Academy of Dermatology.
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