Toenail fungus is a problem that most people suffer from at least once in their lifetime. Some people are more prone to the infection than others, the fungus working its way under your nails or into cracks in your skin. A telltale sign that you are suffering from fungus of the toenails is a thickening of the nail and a change in color. The condition, which thrives in warm and damp places, can also be painful. Left untreated, the fungi will spread to your skin or other parts of your body, and a worse-case scenario would be removal of the offending nails. In this article we are going to take a look at both toe nail fungus treatment as well as all-important preventative measures you can take to ensure the condition stays under control.
Toe Nail Fungus Treatment: Symptoms
If you have noticed a thickening of your toenails, or a change in color or shape, you may be suffering from toenail fungus. Nails that yellow, or have a white dot on them that grow are likely to be infected with fungi. As the condition gets worse, the nail will lift away from the toe, loosening the nail from the bed. In such circumstances, and when left untreated, it is not uncommon to lose the offending nails or to have them removed; the skin around the nail will also likely become infected.
Who Gets Toenail Fungus?
Fungi like to grow in warm, damp, places. So, toenail is often associated with those who practice a lot of sport in the same way that athletes foot is. Men are actually more likely than women to suffer, age being another predominant factor. The older you get, the more likely you are to suffer from the problem; a weakened immune system, diabetes, or being a smoker will also increase your risk of becoming a sufferer of the condition. Spending a lot of time in water, or not changing socks when they get wet, or having an injured nail all also increase your chances of toenail fungus growing; practicing commonsense can therefore often help prevent the condition.
Toenail Fungus Medication: Getting a Diagnosis
There are other conditions that look similar to toenail fungus, including psoriasis. So, it is important to get your toenails checked out by a doctor. You may be referred to a dermatologist or podiatrist by your doctor. Your doctor may also scrape a little of the affected nail, sending it away for analysis.
Treating Toenail Fungus
There are many different ways that you can treat toenail fungus. The toenail fungus treatment prescribed by a doctor will vary depending on the type of infection you have and its severity. There are also plenty of homemade remedies that you can try that we will cover later on in this article. Common treatments for fungus of toenails prescribed by a medical professional include:
- Topical creams that are applied directly to the toenail
- Topical nail lacquers that are painted onto the nail in the same way you use nail varnish
- Antifungal pills. These are generally prescribed when the fungus is quite advanced and topical treatments won’t get rid of the problem
- Laser treatments that remove damaged skin or nails
Home Medication Remedies for Toenail Fungus
If you prefer to use natural products for the treatment of toenail fungi, there are plenty to choose from. Baking soda is one of the most popular and effective of these, studies showing that treatment with baking soda are up to 79% effective. Baking soda is great for soaking up moisture and can be added to socks or shoes, or made up with water to create a paste that is applied directly to the nail.
You may also like to try mentholated topical ointments, vinegar, or even regular mouthwash to combat your toenail fungus problem. Vinegar can be applied directly to the nails, or can be added to water for soaking your problem feet and toes.
It is important to understand that once you are free from toenail fungus, it can and will reappear if you don’t take care of your toes. You should always keep your toes clean and dry, including between your toes. Toenails should be cut straight across and should be regularly trimmed. After cutting toenails, you should wash your clippers with soap and water or with an alcohol-based antibacterial solution.
Be smart with your footwear, allowing feet to breathe as often as possible. If you wear heavy work boots and it is not possible to wear footwear that is breathable, ensure you take care of your feet when you get home after work, washing and drying them carefully. It is important to know your toes and to look for signs of infection. Any changes to your toenails aren’t normal. So, if the texture or color changes, it could be a sign of toenail fungus. As there are several different conditions that you could be suffering from, it is important to always visit your doctor for a professional diagnosis.