Toenail fungus is a plausible occurrence to many active people – discover what are the symptoms and how to deal with the issue at hand.
Do you have toenail fungus? If so, you are not alone. Around 10 percent of Americans have this condition.
This condition may be embarrassing, but there are ways you can treat it. Let’s take a look at the symptoms and how you can treat this condition before it gets out of control.
About Toenail Fungus
This is a common condition that typically starts as a yellow or white spot underneath your toenail or fingernail. This fungus can cause your nail to thicken, discolor, and even crumble near the edge. It can affect more than one nail at a time.
You may not need treatment depending on if it is bothering you. Nail fungus can also come back even after treatment.
The same fungus can infect the area between your skin on your feet and your toes. It is then called athlete’s foot.
If you have nail fungus, you may notice these symptoms on one or more nails:
- Discoloration like white to yellow-brown
- Thickened nails
- Crumbly, ragged, or brittle
- Foul smell
- Distorted shape
- Dark brown spots under your nails
This fungus is more common in toenails than in fingernails. These infections typically start off without pain but can get painful without proper treatment.
There are certain factors that can increase your risk including:
- History of athlete’s foot
- Your age
- Walking barefoot in common, damp areas
- Having circulation problems, a weak immune system, or diabetes
- Heavy sweating
- Having skin conditions like psoriasis
- Getting a nail injury
People with diabetes have reduced blood circulation and nerve function in their feet, so it increases their chances of getting toenail infections. Toenail infections can also spread beyond your feet if you have a weakened immune system or other health issues.
If you try self-care or over-the-counter and they don’t work, you should talk to your doctor. It can take months to see improvement. Repeat infections are common, so if it comes back, you should talk to your doctor.
Your doctor may prescribe some antifungal drugs that you can apply to the nail or take orally. Oral antifungal drugs clear up the infection quicker than topical medications. You will take this type of drug for 6-12 weeks.
It could take four months to completely eliminate the infection. These types of medications do have side effects ranging from liver damage to skin rash, so your doctor will review your current health and medications.
Another treatment option is medicated nail cream that you rub on your infected nails after you soak your foot. You may want to thin your nails first for the cream to work better. Medications may not be able to penetrate through hard nail surfaces.
You can thin your nails by applying lotion to your nail area. Your doctor can also thin them with a file.
There are also medicated nail polishes that you paint your infected nails and the skin around once a day. You will have to remove the layers of polish after seven days and reapply fresh applications. You can use this polish for almost a year.
For the worst cases, your doctor may want to remove the nail. This way you can apply the medication directly to the infection. If the infection is extremely painful, your doctor may suggest permanently removing the nail if it doesn’t respond to medication.
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There are a few treatments you can try at home including:
- Tea tree oil
- Ozonated oil
- White vinegar
- Vicks VapoRub
- Baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, and Epsom salts
- Oil of oregano
- Lemon juice
- Lavender oil
- Orange oil
You apply these items to your nail a few times a day. Stick with one at a time, except you can mix lavender and tea tree oil. Throw away the cotton ball or cotton swab after you apply the treatment.
You should also let these treatments sit on your nails for at least 10 minutes before rinsing off. If you use oil of oregano or tea tree oil, you need to mix this oil with olive oil or coconut oil because it could burn.
You have to use these properly and apply them daily. You need to give these remedies at least one or two months to work before trying something different. You have to be patient and persistent.
You can also use Listerine to treat toenail fungus by applying it directly to the nail.
Your diet is also important. Make sure you eat probiotic-rich yogurt to help treat fungal infections from inside your body. You also need to have sufficient iron to prevent brittle and weak nails.
Your diet also needs to have essential fatty acids. Protein is essential for your nails to grow. You also need foods rich in vitamin D and calcium, like low-fat dairy products.
There are habits that can help prevent reinfections. Make sure you wash your hands and feet often and always wash your hands after touching an infected nail.
Trim your nails straight across, and then smooth the edges with a nail file. When you have an infection, disinfect your nail clippers each time after you use them.
Discard your old shoes after an infection or treat them with antifungal powders or disinfectants. Be sure to wear footwear when you are in a locker room or pool area.
If you have sweaty feet, wear sweat-absorbing socks. You can also change your socks multiple times a day. You don’t want your feet to get sweaty and stay that way, so choose shoes with breathable materials.
If you go to a nail salon, be sure they sterilize the tools after each customer. You may have to give up on artificial nails or nail polish if you keep having recurring infections.
No one wants to be embarrassed about their feet. Stay on top of your toenail fungus and get treat it as soon as possible.
It’s important to take care of yourself no matter how crazy life can be. Keep checking out this site to help you learn to care for yourself and your family.