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.
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.
How To Treat It
Mild fungal infections usually respond well to over-the-counter antifungal treatments, which you can find on . Look for something that contains either clotrimazole or terbinafine. You can also try these 10 home remedies.
If you have a severe fungal infection thats painful or causes your nail to thicken or crumble, its best to see a professional. Left untreated, several fungal infections can cause permanent nail damage.
You should also see a healthcare provider if you have diabetes and a fungal infection in your toenail.
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Does Vinegar Kill Fungus
Vinegar contains acetic acid, and this particular compound makes it acidic enough to kill microorganism such as bacteria and fungus. Vinegar kills fungus by modifying the pH levels on the skin hence killing unwanted growths. In some cases of fungal infections, such as toenail fungus, the fungus forms a protective coating, thus preventing the immune system from killing it. Needless say, it can become drug resistant, meaning even though you follow your medical prescription, there is no improvement on your condition.
To effectively kill fungus using vinegar you can treat affected areas with pure apple cider vinegar. Alternatively, you can make vinegar soak bath and add hydrogen peroxide, tea tree oil, or olive oil. Repeat the vinegar treatment procedure at least twice a day until your symptoms of fungal infection have subsided. It is advisable that before applying any home remedies for toenail fungus, you should clean the affected toenails well and trim them so that the vinegar solution can easily get deeper into the nail and kill any fungus present. Another treatment method you can consider is doing a vinegar sock soak. All you have to do is put on a pair of cotton socks and then pour the vinegar and some water over the socks. Let the socks stay on for about 10-15 minutes and after removing them, you can apply any tropical antifungal cream or ointment.
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How Effective Is Apple Cider Vinegar For Toenail Fungus For Those Not Diabetic
There have been many researches to show that using vinegar foot soaks will help clear off toenail fungus infection with regular use. However, it is important to note that although the remedy works for many people, there have been reliable researches proving that the treatment only works on those whose fungus infection is mild. This means if your toenail fungus infection is very bad, this treatment may not work for you.
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White Spots And Streaks
Stubbing your toe doesnât always lead to a bruise. Thatâs because the blood vessels under the nail might not break and leak blood. Instead, you might get a white spot on your toenail. It wonât donât disappear like a bruise, but it will grow out in time. Toe trauma can also cause a white streak — though you might not know you hurt yourself. For example, it can happen when sneakers are too small and your toe hits the front of the shoe.
When To See A Doctor About Toenail Fungus
If you are experiencing persistent toenail fungus or pain is present, you may need to see a specialist. A dermatologist or podiatrist may be able to assess your symptoms and send a small sample of the affected toenail or flesh to a laboratory to be analyzed as there are various types of fungi and yeasts that cause onychomycosis. Knowing the specific cause of your foot fungus can help identify what route to take to treat your condition.
Nail changes can also be caused by underlying conditions, like psoriasis and diabetes, so its important to seek professional medical advice if your condition persists or worsens. Bacterial and fungal infection of skin in diabetes patients often result in hospital admissions, and in severe cases, can result in amputations. If you are at a higher risk for infection, you should skip home remedies and seek professional medical treatment.
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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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Causes Of Fungal Infections
Toenail fungal infections are usually caused by the same type of fungi that cause athlete’s foot. In fact, people who are prone to athlete’s foot may also be susceptible to toenail fungal infections.
Toenail fungus can affect anyone, but it becomes more prevalent with age.
Individuals with certain diseases, such as diabetes and conditions that affect limb circulation, are more susceptible to fungal nail infections as well. So are people who have suppressed immune systems.
Other risk factors include:
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Toenail Fungus Symptoms And Risk Factors
Toenail fungus symptoms are not pretty. At first, you may notice small white spots and possibly a foul smell. As the condition worsens, your nail gets thicker, which makes it harder to trim or cut, and turns yellow or brown. Nail fungus can spread from nail to nail and, eventually, make your nails split and crumble.
In addition to older people, people with certain conditions like diabetes or psoriasis are at higher risk for developing fungus. Other risk factors include having a history of athletes foot, which is an infection between your toes, a propensity for sweaty feet, and those with a weakened immune system.
How Is A Toe Infection Treated
If bacteria caused the infection, an antibiotic cream or pill can clear up the problem. Fungal infections are treated with antifungal pills or cream. You can buy antifungal medicines over the counter or with a prescription from your doctor.
To treat an ingrown toenail, your doctor might lift the nail and place a piece of cotton or a splint underneath it. This will help the nail grow away from your skin. If lifting doesn’t work, the doctor can remove part or all of the affected nail.
Sometimes the infection can cause a pus-filled blister to form. Your doctor might have to drain the blister.
You can also try these remedies at home:
- Soak the toe for about 15 minutes in a bathtub or bucket filled with warm water and salt. Do this three to four times a day.
- Rub a medicated ointment on the toe and wrap it in a clean bandage.
- To treat an ingrown toenail, gently lift the corner of the nail. Place a small piece of cotton or waxed dental floss underneath to hold the nail away from your skin.
Youâll also want to protect your toe while it heals. To help it heal properly, wear loose, comfortable shoes that don’t rub. Keep your foot dry, and change your socks every day.
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How Do You Treat Toenail Fungus
Depending on the nature and severity of your infection, treatments may vary. Most over-the-counter treatments are minimally effective at best, but almost none of them have produced a permanent treatment. The main reason for these poor results is that the fungal infection resides deep within the nail or nail bed and the topical medications have great difficulty in penetrating to this depth. A fungus may work its way through the entire nail, penetrating both the nail plate and the nail bed. Podiatrist Dr. Burns at Arizona Foot Doctors offers penetrative nail fungus treatments to completely remove the fungal infection. Each patient case is unique, so consult with Dr. Burns to find the best treatment option for you. Treatment may include:
- Topical or oral medication and debridement . The newer oral antifungal medications are the most effective . Common oral medications are Lamisil and Sporanox. A common topical medication is Penlac nail lacquer.
- Temporary removal of the infected nail
- Permanent removal
Is Toenail Fungus Really Such A Problem
If youre thinking you can just live with it, we dont advise letting toenail fungus go untreated. Its an insidious problem, and without treatment, you have to deal with the discomfort of the nail as well as feeling self-conscious about its unsightliness.
If you let a nail fungus infection go for too long, several problems emerge. The infected nail can become misshapen and increasingly separated from your nail bed. Itching and pain are unpleasant side effects if theyre too severe, you can have trouble wearing shoes or walking.
You need to be especially attentive to treating toenail fungus if your immune system is compromised. If youre living with diabetes, its critical not to ignore the fungus. Even a mild infection like this can snowball into something more serious, like cellulitis, a severe bacterial skin infection.
Another problem is that untreated fungus eventually can spread to either neighboring toenails or to the skin of your foot, causing athletes foot. Possibly the worst outcome of untreated nail fungus is needing to have your nail surgically removed.
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Helping The Toenail Heal
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Nail Fungal Infection Treatment
Prescription medicines can treat a fungal nail infection. Oral antifungal medicines help a new nail grow. This will replace the infected nail. You may need to take antifungal medicine for 6 to 12 weeks. Some oral medicines are not safe for people who have liver problems. They are not safe for people who have a history of congestive heart failure. Tell your doctor if you have one of these conditions. Your doctor will decide which medicine is right for you.
Apply topical treatments to the top of your nail. Topical medicines usually do not cure fungal nail infections.
In severe cases, a doctor might remove the nail completely. It can take several months to a year for the infection to go away.
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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What Is The Most Effective Treatment For Toenail Fungus
The most effective toenail fungus treatment for you will largely depend on your symptoms and situation. Your provider will consider several factors before recommending a treatment plan thats customized to you.
Overall, oral antifungal medications may offer the most treatment potential. Pairing oral drugs with topical antifungal medication may make treatment more effective.
Got Toenail Fungus A Real Pain In The Toes
By | Submitted On April 15, 2008
I took off my nail polish and my toenails are turning yellow! There seems to be something growing under them! What is going on? I’m not a dirty person, how did this happen? I get asked these questions more times a week than I can count. Why do some people have nasty toenails that look like little mountains of yellow, thick rock? Fungus is the most common culprit! And most women’s answer is to cover it in toenail polish until it spreads and becomes painful. Men just wear closed toed shoes and hide the problem. Either way, this common infection is often ignored until it becomes a real pain in the toes!
Toe nail fungus strikes across class, ethnic, age and hygiene lines. In fact, one study showed that almost 50% of people over the age of 40 have experienced some type of toenail fungus. Fungal infections are incredibly common, but are more prevalent in athletes and the aged or infirmed .
How can I prevent toenail fungus?
1. If you get regular pedicures, bring your own instruments or go to a spa that sterilizes their instruments in an autoclave .
2. Clean your toenail clippers with alcohol before you use them if you do your own toenails and make sure to replace Emory boards and orange sticks regularly.
3. We also recommend you regularly clean your shoes with either antibacterial spray like Lysol or even better an antibacterial with an antifungal like Mycomist at least once a month and dry them with a hairdryer.
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How Apple Cider Vinegar May Help Treat Toenail Fungus
If you notice that your toenails are starting to thicken or change color, there is a chance you may have onychomycosis. Onychomycosis is the medical term for the condition commonly known as toenail fungus. If you are in the early stages of developing toenail fungus, you may notice a white or yellow spot under the tip of your toenail. Afterward, you may notice that the fungus will travel deeper and start to discolor, thicken, or distort the edge of the nail. Nevertheless, there are items you likely have in your kitchen cabinet that can aid in fighting toenail fungus. Apple cider vinegar is a popular remedy for toenail fungus due to its antifungal properties. If you want to treat your fungus using ACV, you can soak your feet in a mixture of warm water and the vinegar for about 15 minutes, twice a day. When purchasing the ACV, you should make sure it is raw, unpasteurized, and organic. For further assistance with treating toenail fungus, please consider scheduling a consultation with a podiatrist.
If left untreated, toenail fungus may spread to other toenails, skin, or even fingernails. If you suspect you have toenail fungus it is important to seek treatment right away. For more information about treatment, contact Dr. Gordon Fosdick of Affiliated Foot Care Center. Our doctor can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.
- Warped or oddly shaped nails
- Yellowish nails
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