As the name suggests, this is a fungal infection for the nails. It is also known as Onychomycosis. It only occurs in the nails of the toes or fingers and doesn’t affect any other body part.
If your condition is mild and not bothering you, you may not need treatment. If your nail fungus is painful and has caused thickened nails, self-care steps and medications may help. But even if treatment is successful, nail fungus often comes back.
When this fungus takes hold, the toe can start smelling foul and there can be an accumulation of debris underneath the nail plate. If its ignored for a long time, then it can affect the ability of the person to move or walk around. The enlarged finger nails will also become extremely difficult to trim and can cause considerable amount of pain.
An onychomycosis infection can also make the person prone to getting a secondary bacterial disease.
Symptoms of a nail fungus will manifest onto a portion or entire nail. Here are some of them:
1) Scaling under the nail, which is called subungual hyperkeratosis.
2) White or yellow streaks on the nail, which is called lateral onychomycosis.
3) A crumbling corner or tip of the nail, which is called distal onychomycosis.
4) Flaking white areas on the nail’s surface, which may include pits in the nail.
5) The appearance of yellow spots at the bottom of the nail, which is called proximal onychomycosis.
6) Loss of the nail.
7) A distorted nail that may lift off from the nail bed.
8) An odor coming from the infected nail.
9) A brittle or thickened nail.
Fungal infection occurs due to the overgrowth of fungi in, under and around the nails. This can be due to various reason but mostly its environmental factors that promote the rapid growth of fungi. Fungi readily thrive in moist and warm environment so care must be when travelling to such places. Poor hygiene can also be contributor to this process.
Because of the favorable conditions that fungi can have while wearing shoes, they are more commonly seen on the toes rather than finger nails. Using dirty shoes without proper foot care can definitely lead to this condition.
If you get a manicure or pedicure at a nail salon, be sure to ask how the staff disinfects their tools and how often they do it. Tools, such as emery boards and nail clippers, can spread fungal infections from person-to-person if they’re not sanitized.
To properly diagnose this condition and avoid any form of misdiagnosis (since there are many diseases with similar symptoms), lab tests may need to do performed. The thee main techniques are potassium hydroxide smear, culture and histology. They involve microscopic examination of nail scrapings. Recent results indicate the most sensitive diagnostic approaches are direct smear combined with histological examination.
Treatment procedures are varied like:
1) Oral Antifungal Medications
Your doctor may prescribe an oral antifungal drug. Studies show the most effective treatments are terbinafine (Lamisil) and itraconazole (Sporanox). These drugs help a new nail grow free of infection, slowly replacing the infected part.
You typically take this type of drug for six to 12 weeks. But you won’t see the end result of treatment until the nail grows back completely. It may take four months or longer to eliminate an infection.
2) Medicated Nail Polish
Your doctor may prescribe an antifungal cream, which you rub into your infected nails after soaking. These creams may work better if you first thin the nails. This helps the medication get through the hard nail surface to the underlying fungus.
3) Nail Removal
If your nail infection is severe or extremely painful, your doctor may suggest removing your nail. A new nail will usually grow in its place. But it will come in slowly and may take as long as a year to grow back completely. Sometimes surgery is used in combination with ciclopirox to treat the nail bed.
Home Remedies For Toenail Fungus
We have some of the best natural home remedies for toenail fungus here for you. Use them for your health benefit.
Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil is considered to be an excellent antiseptic, and it works great on fungicide infections. Take pure tea tree oil and add a few drops of olive or thyme oil to it. Apply it on the affected area with the help of a cotton ball and keep it for ten minutes. Eventually, gently rub the nail with a soft toothbrush. This remedy will work affirmatively if the infection is not too old. It is one of the best home remedies for toenail fungus.
To kill toenail fungus, white vinegar is also a great ingredient. For the treatment of toe nail fungus, mix one part of white vinegar with two parts of warm water and soak the infected foot into it for at least 10-15 minutes. After soaking process, rinse the foot well to prevent fungus from spreading further. It is one of the best home remedies for toenail fungus.
In case of irritation, dilute it further by adding more water.
Because of several volatile compounds and antiseptic properties, lavender oil also acts as an effective natural home treatment for toenail fungus. Apply it with the help of a cotton ball beneath the top edge of the infected toenail and nearby area. Wear a pair of thick woolen socks after applying it to let it work more effectively. It is really great home remedy for toenail fungus.
Oregano oil has strong anti-bacterial, antiseptic, anti-viral, anti-parasitical, anti-fungal and analgesic properties. That is why; oregano oil can also be used to get rid of toenail fungus. Mix oregano oil with a teaspoon of pure olive oil and apply this mixture on the affected area with the help of a cotton ball. Follow this remedy daily in order to get positive results within a few weeks.
The citric acid in lemon juice helps in stopping the spread of bacterial and fungal infection in the toenail. Apply fresh lemon juice directly onto the toenail for ten minutes and rinse it with warm water. Repeat this daily for one month. Lemon juice can also be mixed with olive oil. Use it to massage the affected area. One of the best home remedies for toenail fungus.
Use these simple and effective home remedies for toenail fungus to cure your condition effectively and naturally. These home remedies for toenail fungus are affordable and powerful, albeit being safe.