Toenail Fungus (also known as Onychomycosis) is a fungal infection parasitic habits nails or hands. The prevalence of Nail fungus increases with age and is convenient to develop on nails of people with compromised immune systems.
In addition to being a health hazard, severe nail fungus may distort the shape of the nail, change the color and therefore also serve as an aesthetic nuisance.
Certain types of nail fungus include bad odor and pain. Often contagious fungus can move from one person to another, contaminated soil or animals, in addition to those existing types of fungi that develop due to trauma alone cuticle or prolonged wet conditions. The fungus does not tend to go alone and without proper treatment, it is likely that the nails will remain infected and infecting others.
A brief explanation of Nail Parts
The matrix, matrix grooves, nail plate, and nail bed are the four main parts of a human nail.
- The matrix is the bottom layer where nail cells are produced.
- The plate is the visible, hard part of the nail.
- The nail bed is the layer of skin between the matrix and the plate and the grooves facilitate bed-layer skin movement when the outer nail plate grows.
Different Groups of Fungus
Nail fungus usually develops by fungi from three groups:
- Candidiasis consists (Skin fungus) which include different types of fungus, when bacterial skin fungus may develop first and spread to the foot toenail. In some cases, the procedure is reversed when bacteria carrying nail fungus may also be transmitted to skin tissue in its vicinity.
Classification of the fungus responsible for the contamination is examined by taking a sample of the nail and its culture examination under a microscope or by reaction of Onychomycosis (Nail fungus) various forms of treatment.
Toenail Fungus Symptoms
Symptoms of nail fungus vary by the type of fungus. Usually accompanied by mild nail fungus with black spots, white stripes, slight thickening of the nail.
In more severe cases of Onychomycosis (Nail fungus) nail color change to white or dull yellow, they would condense and form distorted nail also disconnect from its base and rise up. Advanced stages of nail fungus can be detected even by its smell which is very bad.
Types of Toenail Fungus
Nail fungus is no fun. At best, it’s noticeable and unattractive; at worst, it’s painful and can lead to rashes in other parts of your body. Moreover, a nail fungus infection is difficult to get rid of since they affect parts of the nail that are hard to reach. Sometimes, it takes as long as a year to fully clear up onychomycosis, or nail fungal infection.
In recent years, the number of nail fungi cases has dramatically increased due to an increase in gym, spa and salon attendance. The rise has been so great that pharmaceutical companies are actively working on new anti-fungal medications. Strides are also being made with laser-removal techniques.
Distal subungual onychomycosis
Distal subungual onychomycosis is the most common type of nail fungus and is often referred to as tinea unguium. It’s caused by Trichophyton rubrum and affects the underside of the nail bed.
White superficial onychomycosis
Appearing in only 10% of cases, white superficial onychomycosis (WSO) is one of the most misdiagnosed types of foot fungus. It affects the bottom-most layers of the nail plate and causes what appear to be “white islands”.
If you notice white dots in your nail plate, it’s best to visit a doctor who can determine if you’re suffering from a nail fungus or keratin granulations, a different type of reaction caused by some nail polishes.
Proximal subungual onychomycosis
People in good health rarely get proximal subungual onychomycosis, but be careful if your immune system has been compromised in some way. This one of many types of foot fungus infection affects a newly formed nail plate through the proximal fold.
This type of nail fungus is most common amongst those who work with water. It’s also the breed that may be lurking in your nail technicians manicure sterilization holder. Prior nail fungus damage makes one more prone to contracting this strand.
Nail fungus is pesky because the infection is embedded in the nail and therefore difficult to reach. So, whichever type of onychomycosis you have, make sure to treat it. The longer you wait, the longer it’s going to take to heal.
If you’ve found yourself with a nail fungal infection, though, it couldn’t have happened at a better time. Since there has been a marked increase in incidences, nutraceutical and pharmaceutical companies are in a race to come up with the next best anti-fungal to combat these types of foot fungus. Many promising new products have hit the market in recent months.
What causes Toenail Fungus
If you live in a metropolis, there’s a good chance your city supports dozens, if not hundreds, of nail salons. It’s a wonder they all stay in business, especially since market saturation means keeping prices low. Since there’s so many, and they all basically charge the same amount, you may frequent several establishments and never give it a second thought.
But if you’re looking to protect yourself from a nail fungus infection, it’s probably not smart to salon-hop. This is one of the most reason for what causes toenail fungus recently.
Well, you know those vials of blue liquid in which many technicians keep their tools? They’re a perfect breeding ground for nail fungus. If not washed properly, barely-visible colonies of fungus can grow in those things. Yuck! Nail bowls and pedicure bowl filters are also ripe environments for various fungi.
Are you a snooze-button addict who always rushes through the mornings? You’re not alone. If, however, you’re looking to avoid nail fungus, make sure you take time to thoroughly dry your feet. Even the slightest drop of moisture that ends up getting trapped in an unventilated sock, shoe or nylon could lead to a nice little fungus infection.
It’s also a good idea to keep your toenails trimmed so fungus spores have fewer surfaces to latch on to.
Gym and Spa Locker Rooms
Just like the Roman baths of yesteryear, present-day gyms and spas are fungi’s versions of Las Vegas. They’re damp, dark and contain lots of little hiding places where they can set up shop and start spawning like Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar.
Shower grout is a particularly good spot for new fungi trying to make it in the world. Do yourself a favor and always wear rubber shoes in a locker room. No matter how clean everything looks, there’s always a young fungus spore looking to attach itself to a nice, juicy, human nail.
Diabetes and Immune System Disorders
Diabetics and people suffering from an immune deficiency are also more prone to get nail fungus. Remember, if you notice yellow, brown or white spots in your finger and toenails, that’s usually the first sign of a fungus infection. It’s important to nip the problem in the bud then and there. If you don’t, to be honest, it could take years to clear up.
Top Five Tips to Avoid Catching a Nail Fungus Infection
- Nail fungus is contagious, so no matter what, never walk barefoot in public spaces. If you live with other people, do yourself a favor and put on a pair of cotton socks when puttering around your home.
- If you’re a gym-goer, make sure you always wear rubber-soled shoes in the locker room and shower. Gym tile grout is a fungi’s favorite incubation place. Also, never share your gym-flops with anyone. Not even your best friend who you brought on your guest pass for the day.
- After taking a shower at the gym or at home, make sure to dry your feet fully before putting on socks and shoes.
- Shoes are brooders for nail fungus. After all, they’re dark and often moist from foot sweat. If you have persistent problems with foot nail fungus, it’s a good idea to wear well-ventilated cotton shoes and socks for a while. Similarly, make sure you air your feet out every day. The fungus has no chance of surviving on a dry, aired foot.
- How clean is your nail salon, really? Over the past several years, the number of incidents of salon-related fungus infections has skyrocketed. Be sure your preferred place really knows the true sterilization and hygiene standards to which salons are required to adhere.
Natural Remedies to get rid of Toenail Fungus
If you’ve acquired a pesky nail fungus infection and are the type that sticks to home remedies, we have some ideas for you.
Terpenes are organic compounds, in many essential oils, known for their antifungal properties. In laymen’s terms, they “poke holes” in the membranes of fungi cells. Many common household items contain terpenes and are therefore effective in killing of nail fungus.
Due to body chemistry, kitchen-cabinet cures affect people differently. For example, method 1 may work best for Jill, but Jack may swear by method 4. You know your body best; go with your gut and pick the one you think will work best for with chemistry. Remember, home remedies only work if you are diligent with applications.
A popular, go-to nail fungus kitchen cure is a vinegar soak. Simply submerge affected feet in diluted natural vinegar (preferably apple cider vinegar) and relax for 20 minutes. When you take your feet out, let them air dry without washing the vinegar off. Do that every day and within a few months, you should start seeing results.
Vick’s Vaporub is a multi-purpose, over-the-counter product primarily used to treat the common cold and flu. Though no clinical trials have been done, Vick’s has been a standard home remedy for nail fungus for a long time. Camphor, eucalyptus, and menthol are the three active ingredients and all are known to have anti-fungal properties. All three also happen to be high in terpenes.
Simply apply a bit to the infected area between 1 and 3 times a day, let it air dry, and that’s that. Some people see results within as little as 2 weeks, while others keep at it for months before noticing significant results.
WARNING: A 2009 study suggested that Vick’s may cause respiratory distress in babies. If you’re pregnant or have toddlers running around, you may want to go with a different option.
Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil is another popular at-home fungus cure. Due to its antibacterial and anti-fungal properties, this magical little ointment has become known as an effective, natural remedy for a host of skin abnormalities, the most prevalent being nail fungus.
Just drench a q-tip with undiluted tea tree oil and apply it around the infected area. That being said, some people are allergic, so be sure to test a small amount on the inside of your arm before doing a full application.
Relief will not be immediate, but within a few days or weeks, you’ll begin to see your nail fungus infection clearing up.
Mouthwash is great for ridding foul-breath, combating plaque and, yep, you guessed it, curing nail fungus infections. Get yourself a bottle of non-scented, non-flavored mouthwash (usually brown colored). Fill a basin with enough so your toes will be covered and lets your feet soak for 10 minutes. Within a week or three, you should start noticing a difference.
There you have it. If you’re currently combating nail fungus the above home-remedy cures are sure to help you in your efforts. Please note, however, that these methods will take considerably longer than tested anti-fungal medicinal products.
Laser toenail fungus Removal
Toenail Care Laser – is it an effective treatment for this phenomenon?
There are now several treatments that help to get rid of toenail fungus. One of the most effective is the elimination of the fungi with a laser. For nail fungus treatment laser is highly recommended, which can solve the problem once and for all without risking the patient at all.
Laser toe fungus removal – what doctors say?
Opinions may be divided into two specialists. There are those who follow for years with systemic therapy, i.e. treatment of nail fungus with pills. They argue that the source of all mushroom body is the gut and therefore should be handled through the body systems and not external treatment.
On the other hand, there are many doctors that claim to eliminate once and for all toenail fungus using laser can actually be the most beneficial treatment. These doctors say that using the special beam used in this treatment, the phenomenon can be eliminated not only at the current time – but forever.
Laser Toenail fungus treatment is not painful at all?
This treatment is being produced by a laser device created specifically to address the issue of fungal nails. To eliminate nail fungus the laser penetrates through the nail itself and hits the defected cells that are where the fungus grew. The laser beam heats and kills the fungus, without leaving a trace.
But what matters most is that during laser toenail fungus removal, it does not cause pain or hurt any body tissues. There is often a feeling of discomfort in the patient, but no more than that. Although laser treatment does not require anesthesia and lasted a total of 10 minutes for each infected finger.
How long does it take for the fungus to be totally removed?
Usually, laser toenail fungus removal will require four sessions. After a series of meetings that can be made in increments of one week apart the fungus will disappear almost completely. If within 2 months the fungus does not show, the laser must have killed the fungus permanently.
Without side effects, and with a high percentage of success
Laser toe fungus removal treatment ensures that the phenomenon will disappear or decrease significantly, with no side effects. While everything is done in indoor and without pain, there is no reason for any side effects.
Beyond that, treatment of fungal nails in laser shows a very high success rate. This method was tested in some cases and in all places and got more than 75% success in patients. In some cases, success also passed the 90% threshold. And what data was quite convincing.
After Treatment: Preventing Nail Fungus Tips
If you spend money and time getting rid of nail fungus, you want to make sure you take steps to ensure it does not come back and cause you problems again. Here are some tips to help prevent nail fungus from coming back.
- Clean: One of the most important things you can do is make sure you clean your feet. Especially around the nails, with anti-bacterial soap. This is the best way to keep nail fungus from returning once you take care of the problem initially.
- Dry: After you clean your feet and toes, you want to make sure they are dry. This means between the toes and around the nails as well. Taking the extra time to dry the feet properly goes a long way in making sure nail fungus does not become a problem.