Posts for tag: Toenail Fungus
Toenail fungus is a common problem that can be rather challenging to get rid of. While toenail fungus can happen to anyone it most often occurs in older adults. If you are noticing that one of your toenails has thickened, become brittle and turned yellow then chances are good that you are dealing with a toenail fungus.
What causes a fungal infection in the toenail?
A toenail fungal infection, known as onychomycosis, is the result of a fungal known as a dermatophyte. While less common, molds and yeasts can also infect the toenails. The reason older adults are more prone to fungal nail infections is because nails dry out as we age, which leads to cracks within the nail. These cracks make it easier for a fungal infection to get inside the nail.
Fungal is all around us. They are more often found in warm, dark, and damp places such as communal locker rooms and showers, gyms, and local swimming pools. It’s also possible to get a toenail fungus from a nail salon so it’s important to know the hygiene and sterilization practices of your local nail salon to make sure that you aren’t at risk for developing a fungal infection.
Treating Toenail Fungus
The good news it that healthy individuals may be able to tackle their toenail fungus on their own with over-the-counter medication. If you don’t have a weak immune system, diabetes or circulation problems then you may choose to try at-home treatments first before turning to a doctor. Those with circulation disorders or diabetes should see their podiatrist right away for treatment if they notice symptoms of a fungal infection. Not seeking treatment could greatly increase a person’s risk for bacterial infections and other potentially serious complications.
There are many over-the-counter products available to treat fungal infections. You will want to find a treatment that is geared specifically to treating fungal infections of the nail. Talk with your local pharmacist to find out the best treatment option. Over-the-counter antifungal medications often come in the form of a cream, ointment or nail polish that you will need to apply regularly for several weeks. If these medications don’t work then it’s time to talk with your foot doctor.
A foot doctor offers a variety of effective strategies for getting rid of toenail fungal infections. The most common treatment option is an oral antifungal medication that works systemically to kill the fungus. This medication is taken for several weeks but you won’t actually see results until the nail grows out clear, which can take up to four months or longer.
Other treatment options include:
- Medicated nail polish
- Laser fungal treatment
- Nail removal surgery (in rare cases)
If you are dealing with a pesky nail fungus then turn to your podiatrist to discover the best strategies for getting rid of this infection as quickly as possible.
Treating toenail fungus
Toenail fungus--it's one of the most common podiatric problems children, teens, and adults have. Causing thickened, yellow, brittle nails, onychomycosis (the medical name for toenail fungus) spreads easily and can be stubborn to treat. If you see one or more of your toenails changing shape, color, and texture, see your foot doctor right away. They have the expertise and treatments to give you ten clear toenails once again.
How toenail fungus starts
The micro-organism thrives in dark, moist environments--sweaty socks and sneakers being prime candidates. Additionally, shared towels, nail clippers, shower room floors, and pool decks breed toenail and Athlete's Foot fungus. In fact, if you suffer periodic outbreaks of itchy, uncomfortable Athlete's Foot, you're more prone to onychomycosis, says the American Academy of Dermatology.
Conquering toenail fungus
Your foot doctor sees scores of patients with toenail fungus. Visual inspection is the main diagnostic tool, and for mild cases of onychomycosis, the podiatrist may recommend creams or ointments applied topically. Oral medications are an option as well.
Additionally, modern podiatry offers innovative laser treatments which kill the micro-organism right where it lives. Painless and very effective, laser treatments are applied to all ten toenails to prevent re-infection.
Unfortunately, toenail fungal infections can become quite severe and spread to the nail bed. When infection is severe, the podiatrist may advise complete removal of the toenail to prevent further problems.
Prevention is best
Of course, if you can avoid toenail fungus, your feet and nails will look and feel their best, and you won't be embarrassed to wear open-toed shoes or sandals in the warm weather. However, some people are more prone to this common infection--diabetics, those with poor peripheral circulation and individuals who are immunosuppressed.
Regardless, your podiatrist recommends these preventive measures for healthy, fungus-free nails:
- Wash your feet with soap and water daily, and dry them with a clean towel.
- Clip your toenails straight across with a clean clippers.
- Wear clean socks daily.
- Change your gym shoes after a workout. In fact, alternate pairs if possible, letting your footwear dry out between wearings.
- Wear flip-flops or shower sandals in the locker room and poolside, too.
Toenail fungus is already more likely to spread in warm conditions, and when you add that to the already warm temperature in your shoes creates the perfect conditions for the growth of fungi that can spread from your skin to your nails. These microorganisms are also tough to kill and thrive in public areas such as public pools and locker rooms. When the fungi get underneath your toenail, the result is not very attractive. The toenail often becomes brittle, yellow, and may emit a bad smell. Once nail fungus has gained a foothold it can be difficult to eliminate, which is why it is always a good idea to take steps to avoid getting the infection.
4 excellent tips for preventing toenail fungus infections are:
- Frequent cleaning and proper drying—Wash and dry your feet at least once a day, and change your socks often. Also, be certain to let your shoes air out between wearing by alternating them with another pair every other day.
- Proper nail trimming—Ingrown toenails often lead to a fungal infection, therefore it is very important to trim your toenails straight across so that the edge of the nail doesn’t grow into the skin where an infection can begin.
- Breathable shoes and socks—In addition to breathable socks, it is also helpful to wear shoes that are made with a breathable fabric such as canvas or Gore-Tex.
- Foot protection—It is important to wear shower shoes or sandals in public areas like swimming pools, locker rooms, and showers to decrease your contact with infection-causing bacteria, fungi, and viruses.
Should you notice any changes in the color of your toenails, that may also include a terrible odor, then it is important to see a foot specialist for proper treatment. Creams and oral antifungal medicines may be prescribed, and be sure to ask about laser treatment for fungal toenails.
If you are experiencing pain, discomfort and embarrassment of a fungal toenail infection, schedule an appointment with the Foot First Podiatry in New Albany, IN. Our highly qualified podiatrist Dr. Zahid Ladha is dedicated to providing the best diagnostic care and medical treatment for you and your feet. Contact us at (812) 945-9221 and schedule an appointment today!
Sunshine heals the fungi that lingers on simply because fungus hates light. Fungal nail can be tough to treat but Foot First Podiatry understands podiatric treatment and has plenty of remedies to make sure your toe nails are healthy. Before you try the anti-fungal treatments perhaps some oils that happen to be sitting in your cabinets can help.
Five for Fighting Fungi:
1. Tea Tree Oil is an antiseptic and fungicidal natural medicine. Rub the oil into the nail and let it soak in, about ten minutes then gently scrub the nail with a soft cloth. Try this daily until the new nail grows all the way in and continue for three more days to prevent it from coming back.
2. Orange Oil is a natural anti-fungal that will cure infection. Use a dropper to apply the oil on the nails and between the toes too. Let this one soak in for an hour or more. Since this is a very potent oil you may want to test it on your skin for allergies first.
3. Lavender Oil smells nice and is good for mild cases of fungi. Apply a few drops to the nail every night and let it soak in while you sleep. To prevent the oil from rubbing off, cover your feet with wool socks. Keep up with this treatment a few weeks after to ensure the fungi is dead.
4. Coconut Oil has caprylic acid, one of the medium chain of fatty acids in coconut oil which can penetrate the fungi. Soak it in for about fifteen minutes. There is no limit to how often you can use this for treatment.
5. Oregano Oil ~ this herb has anti-fungal properties so its oil is even better. Apply it to the nail and let it soak in, this one can be left on for the day.
After a fungal nail infection has cleared up, prevention should be your next step. If foot fungus is an issue for you this summer and home remedies have not been 100% effective call our office and schedule an appointment. We can be reached in New Albany at 812-945-9221. Dr. Zahid Ladha is here to help you get rid of that fungus.