Does your toenail appear yellowish, thickened, and brittle? Beware, as you might be suffering from Onychomycosis or toenail fungus.
What is toenail fungus?
Onychomycosis, widely known as toenail fungus, is a common fungal infection that affects your toenails. It discolors, thickens, and cracks up toenails. Since it is a fungal infection, it can easily spread from one toenail to another. Untreated toenail fungus might also spread from the toenails to the skin as well as the fingernails. Fungal toenails are painful at times.
Toenail fungus is more common in men than women. This holds true especially for older people, as they are susceptible to fungal toenails. Apart from that, people who are suffering from immune deficiency, diabetes, athlete’s foot, and smokers are at risk of toenail fungus.
What are the symptoms of toenail fungus?
Don’t disregard a toenail that appears yellow or thickened. A toenail that seems to be thicker than usual, warped, and brittle are all primary symptoms of toenail fungus. Other than these, toenail fungus can appear to be a white dot on the nail that broadens and spreads all over the infected toenail. The infected toenail loosens and separates the entire nail from the nail bed. In a worst-case scenario, the fungus might even spread to the skin near the toenails.
What are the common toenail fungus cures?
People usually overlook fungal toenail infections because it often just results in discolored toenails and doesn’t hurt. Doctors often treat these fungal toenails by prescribing various antifungal infection creams and ointments. Sometimes they remove the infected toenail to prevent it from spreading further.
There are various ways to cure a fungal toenail. A doctor usually suggests antifungal medications and other approaches. Here are a few effective toenail fungus cures.
Oral Antifungal Drugs
These drugs help a person in growing new uninfected nails. The results take time to surface since they are completely replaced with new ones. However, the medications are given only for a small period. The results of the treatment differ from one age group to another and vary with the extent of the damage.
Medicated Nail Polish
Doctors often prescribe Ciclopirox, a medicated nail polish, to cure fungal toenails. These are usually coated on top continuously for about seven days. After this, remove the layers of medicated nail polish with alcohol. This process is repeated for a year to cure an infected toenail completely.
Medicated Nail Creams
Antifungal nail creams are also prescribed to apply on the infected toenail. These antifungal creams work when used on nails after thinning them with lotions containing urea. The infected nail absorbs the antifungal cream and spreads it to the underlying fungus.
Home Remedies for Toenail Fungus Cures
There are many remedies you can try at home to get rid of the toenail fungus. Olive oil extracts have antifungal and antimicrobial abilities. In fact, a vaporub is also an effective toenail fungus cure. It has eucalyptus and camphor that fight the fungus. Vinegar is a powerful anecdote but is safe to use as a home remedy.
Similar to olive oil, garlic also has antibacterial and antifungal properties.
Surgical Procedures and Other Methods
In the case of severe infections, a doctor usually suggests the surgical removal of the infected toenail. Although the new nail sometimes takes years to grow back, it eventually cures the infection. Apart from surgeries, other methods like light-based and laser therapies also help in curing fungal toenails. These light-based and laser therapies are usually difficult to find and are expensive.
How to prevent toenail fungus?
Prevention is always better than cure. Luckily fungal nail infections are easy to prevent. Here are a few methods through which you can prevent getting toenail fungus.
Fungal infections are most prevalent in wet and moist grounds. Hence, you’ll need to keep your toes clean and dry. Synthetic socks and dirty shoes create an environment for the fungus to flourish in. Always wear clean socks and keep shoes to air out overnight. You can also sprinkle antibacterial powder in socks and shoes to make sure that there’s no fungal growth in the first place.
Using liquid disinfectant when you’re washing your socks to kill off any fungal growth that may have happened.
Protecting nails from any possible trauma and damage can also contribute to keeping toenail fungus at bay. Be extra careful when you’re walking and choosing shoes. Stubbing your feet can damage the toenail bed and invite fungus to breed on the wound. When washing your feet, avoid brushes that have hard bristles. They are likely to damage the toenail bed.
Don’t snip your cuticles when you do manicures and pedicures. The cuticle of a nail is a shield that defends from fungal and bacterial growth. When you snip your cuticle, you make yourself susceptible to fungal infections.
Ensure that you’re taking proper care of your toenails and feet since that’s the best way to prevent toenail fungus growth.