About Toenail Fungus

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Toenail fungus infection, also known as Onychomycosis is an infection that gets in via cuts in your skin or cracks in your toenail. Apart from the name given to toenail fungus, i.e., Onychomycosis, it is also known as Toenail Rot. This is a common condition that starts as a yellow or white spot under the tip of the toenail or fingernail. When a fungus infects the areas between the skin and the toes of your feet, then this condition is called athlete’s foot.

What Causes Toenail Fungus?

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Toenail fungus infections can be caused mainly due to three types of fungus. Let's find out, what are they -

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Yeasts

Yeasts are the types of fungus that generally grow on the skin and the nails. They are present on the human body. Things such as immune system issues, illness, birth control pills and antibiotics may allow an overgrowth of yeast and further leads to yeast infection.

Dermatophytes

These are the types of fungus that can grow on the nails, skin and hair. Generally, they don’t attack the deeper tissues of the body. The most common dermatophytes known as Trichophyton rubrum, causes athlete's foot. And this can, in turn, infect the toenails.

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Molds

Molds are also known as nondermatophytes. They are the type of fungus that are generally grown in nails and skin as well. They are not passed from one person to another.

Symptoms of Toenail Fungus

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When it comes to the signs and symptoms of toenail fungus infection, you may notice any of the signs as mentioned below:

Different Types of Toenail Fungus

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There are four different types of toenail fungus infection. They are summed up below -

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Distal Subungual Onychomycosis (DSO)

This is a very common type of toenail fungus infection. This type of toenail fungus is generally caused by the same fungi that cause athlete’s foot. Distal Subungual Onychomycosis infects the skin under the toenail bed. When infected with this type of fungal infection, your toenail becomes thickened and it may cause discomfort while wearing shoes.

White Superficial Onychomycosis (WSO)

Another type of toenail fungus infection is WSO which can be treated very easily. This type of toenail fungus infection affects the top layer of the toenails. During this infection, the entire surface of toenails becomes covered with a chalky or crumbly powder.

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Candida Onychomycosis

This type of toenail infection is very rare but it can affect the toenail and the skin bordering the toenails. Your toenail may get separated from the toenail bed when infected with this type of infection. Generally, this attacks the weakened area of the toenail and further become discolored brownish, green or white along with an odd shape.

Proximal Subungual Onychomycosis (PSO)

This type of toenail fungus infection is caused by dermatophytes. PSO is much more common in those who are infected with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). It infects the base of the toenail and makes your toenails thick and also separates toenail from the skin.

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What are the Ways to Treat Toenail Fungus?

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Generally, there three major ways to treat toenail fungus infection. They are as follow:

1. Oral Treatments: When it comes to oral treatments for toenail fungus, there are some most highly recommended treatments. Some oral medications to get rid of toenail fungus infection includes:

  • Itraconazole(Sporanox)
  • terbinafine (Lamisil)
  • fluconazole (Diflucan)
  • Griseofulvin

They generally take up to 4 months to replace your infected toenail with the uninfected one.

2. Topical Treatments: Topical treatments generally include the usage of topical medications like lotions, creams, gels and lacquers. They are applied to the infected toenail fungus and its surrounding areas.

3. Surgical Treatment: A surgery can be done to remove toenails so that it can completely cure the infection from root. During this treatment, a doctor will inject pain relief medication in the affected toe. After this, the skin surrounding the toenail will be loosened and a diseased part of the toe will be removed with the help of a tool. If the infection is severe, then the whole toenail will be removed.

Popular Natural Remedies to Cure Toenail Fungus

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There are several natural treatments available that can actually cure toenail fungus infection from root. Look at the most effective natural remedies to get rid of toenail fungus infection.

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Listerine And White Vinegar

The ingredients present in Listerine; menthol and thymol have antifungal properties. While vinegar is acidic in nature and so it makes an inhospitable environment for fungi. Combining these two ingredients in equal portion and then soaking your toes in the solution for almost 60 minutes is a good idea for toenail fungus treatment.

Vicks Vaporub

Vicks vaporub used to contain some antifungal ingredients like eucalyptus and camphor. A very small amount of vicks vaporub with the help of cotton swab can be applied to the affected toenail. This will be a great treatment for curing toenail fungus infection.

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Tea Tree Oil And Oregano Oil

Tea tree oil is a great oil to combat several skin conditions. Oregano oil used to contain thymol which is a great antifungal agent. Mix both the oils and dab a few drops of mixture of oils on the affected toenail twice a day.

Cornmeal

Cornmeal contains some antifungal properties that can help you treat toenail fungus infection. Pouring cornmeal into a shallow pan and mixing it with hot water and then letting it cool and soaking your feet in it will be a very good cure for toenail fungal infection.

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Urea Paste

Urea paste is a great ingredient that can help you dissolve the diseased portion of a toenail. Once it is dissolved then an antifungal cream can be followed. But make sure to check with podiatrist or dermatologist before you start this treatment because the infected area is more susceptible to infection.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Natural Treatments

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Every treatment has its own benefits and drawbacks. Natural treatments have also their own benefits and drawbacks.

When it comes to the benefits of natural treatment, there are several things that can be considered.

  • There are no side effects of using any natural treatments
  • No need to spend much money on it
  • Easy to prepare and apply at home

Now, it’s come to the drawbacks of natural treatments. Some of the drawbacks are as follows:

  • Takes much time to show its effect
  • They are not as effective as topical treatments like products
  • There is a lack of regulation to apply treatment
  • Sometimes, these treatments may cause allergic reactions
  • There is nothing FDA approved treatments yet

Why Topical Treatment Using Recommended Products Are Better

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Topical treatment using recommended products are believed to be better than anything. This is because they offer a long-term relief and ensures that the fungus problems do not spread. Generally, the topical products are FDA approved and so it do not harm in any manner. The ingredients present in the products are so effective that it starts showing the positive results very soon.


Our Recommendation

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Toenail Fungus Top Products Comparison

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Preventions to Avoid Toenail Fungus

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There are some easy to follow prevention tips with the help of which you will be able to prevent toenail fungus infection. Know what they are:

  • Wear Properly Fitted Shoes: You should always wear a shoe that does not touch your toes. It is a good idea to always buy a shoe with a wide toe box that will not cramp your toes.

  • Clip Your Toenails Correctly: Always be very careful while cutting your toenails. It should be done with a properly sanitized nail clippers or scissors.

  • Avoid Going Barefoot in Public Area: Places like public pools, locker rooms, showers and other similar areas are loaded with fungi and it just want to get to your toes. So, always try to wear sandals, flip-flops or shower shoes in such moist environments.

  • Alternate Your Shoes: If you put shoes that are still damp due to yesterday’s sweaty workout then it will increase the risk of toenail fungus infection. So, try to invest in a good pairs and rotate them so that you can avoid wearing same shoes two days in a row.

  • Sprinkle your Shoes: Always make use of an antifungal powder so that you can keep fungi away. Try to sprinkle the powder inside your shoes and socks before you wear them to prevent the growth of fungi spores.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

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Well, toenail fungus generally causes in men than women. Ageing issue increases the chances of having toenail fungus. People having a weak immune system, athlete’s foot or diabetes is at higher risk to get toenail fungus infection. Also, people who smoke a lot may get this infection. Toenail fungus is also a heredity issue.

The area near the toenail becomes irritated and red before later spreading to the toenail and toenail bed. During toenail fungus infection, people may have itchiness, mild discomfort, pain around the toenail area, detachment or bleeding of cuticles may also take place. Sometimes, the toenail becomes thicken, discoloured or even develop grooves.

There are some specific clinical signs and details that may highly suggestive of fungal nail infection like loose, crumbly or discoloured toenails. There may be a presence of athlete's foot also. If you notice any of these issues then you may visit a podiatrist and get confirmation about the fungus infection.

There are some easy to follow tips that can be taken into consideration to avoid toenail fungus:

  • Always wash and inspect your feet every day.
  • Try to wear flip-flops in public area like swimming pool, gyms, etc.
  • Do not walk barefoot in public areas.
  • Always wear well-ventilated shoes if it is possible

Well, yes, toenail fungus infection is contagious and if it is not treated in time then your toenail may spread to other toenails as well. So, it is quite vital to start the treatment as soon as possible. It is best to avoid swimming pools, changing rooms and beauty salons while having toenail fungus infection so that you can prevent the infection from spreading.