Black Toenail Fungus disease is common and begins as a white or yellow patch under the tip of a finger or toenail. As the contagious disease extends, the growth can cause staining and thickening of the nail, just as decay at the edge of the nail. It can affect multiple nails.
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If the illness is mild and doesn’t bother you, you may not need treatment. If the fungus is painful and has already caused thickening of the nails, some self-care measures and medications can help. However, even if treatment is successful, nail fungus usually returns.
Nail parasite is additionally called “onychomycosis.” When the organism contaminates the regions between the toes and the skin of the feet, it is designated “competitor’s foot” (ringworm of the foot).
Symptoms Black Toenail Fungus
You may have nail fungus if any of the following happen:
- Nails become thick
- They change color from white to brownish-yellow
- Are brittle, scaly, or uneven
- They have an abnormal shape
- It has a dark color, caused by the accumulation of residue under the nail
- They have a slightly unpleasant odor
Nail fungus can affect the fingernails, but they are most common on the toenails.
When to see a doctor
An appointment with your doctor is necessary if self-care measures did not work and the nail is increasingly discolored, thickened, or deformed. Also, make a consultation if you have diabetes and you think that you are developing nail fungus.
Causes Black Toenail Fungus
Nail fungal infections occur due to various fungal organisms (fungi). The most common cause is a type of fungus called “dermatophyte.” Yeasts and molds can also cause nail infections.
Fungal nail infections can occur at any age but are more common in older adults. As the nail ages, it can get fragile and dry out. The cracks that appear in the nails, for this reason, allow the entry of fungus. Different variables, for example, diminishing blood course to the feet and a debilitating insusceptible framework can likewise assume a part.
Toenail fungus infection can start from the athlete’s foot (toenail fungus) and spread from one nail to another. However, receiving an infection from another individual is rare.
Factors that can increase your risk of getting nail fungus include the following:
- Aging, due to reduced blood circulation, more years of exposure to fungus, and slower nail growth
- Intense sweating
- Having a history of athlete’s foot
- Walking barefoot in damp public places, such as swimming pools, gyms, or locker rooms
- Having a minor injury to the skin or nails or a skin condition, such as psoriasis
- Have diabetes, circulation problems, or a weakened immune system
A nail fungus can be aching and could cause everlasting nail impairment. It could also lead to other serious infections that spread to areas other than your feet if you have a suppressed immune system due to medications, diabetes, or other illnesses.
If you have diabetes, you may have decreased blood circulation and innervation in your feet. You are also at higher risk of getting a bacterial skin infection (cellulitis). Consequently, any minor injury to the feet (such as a fungal nail infection) can lead to a more severe complication. Consult your doctor if you have diabetes and you think you have fungus in your nails.
Also Read: 7 Ingredients To Have In An Anti-Aging Cream
Prevention Black Toenail Fungus
The following habits can help prevent nail fungus or reinfections, as well as athlete’s foot, which can cause nail fungus:
- Wash your hands and feet regularly. Hands wash compulsory after touching a diseased nail. Moisten your nails after washing.
- Cut your nails straight, smooth the edges with a file, and file thick areas. Disinfect the nail pliers after each use.
- Wear sweat-wicking socks or change them during the day.
- Choose shoes made with materials that allow the skin to breathe.
- Dispose of old shoes or treat them with sanitizers or antifungal powders.
- Wear footwear in the pool areas and changing rooms.
- Choose a nail salon that uses sterile manicure tools for each client.
- Try not to utilize nail clean or polish nails.
The doctor will examine your nails. They may take clippings from your nails or scrape off some debris from under the nail and send the sample to the lab to identify the type of fungus causing the infection.
Some diseases, such as psoriasis, can be very similar to a fungal infection of the nail. Microorganisms like yeast and bacteria can also infect the nails. Learning about the cause of the illness helps determine the best treatment.
Nail fungus infections can be challenging to treat. See your doctor if self-care strategies and over-the-counter products haven’t helped. Treatment relies upon the seriousness of the condition and the sort of growth causing it. It may take months before you see results. Also, even if nail disease improves, recurrent infections are common.
Medicines Black Toenail Fungus
Your doctor may prescribe antifungal medications that you can take by mouth or apply to the nail. In some situations, it is helpful to combine oral and topical antifungal treatments.
Oral antifungal medications.
- These medications are often the first option since they clear the infection more quickly than topical medications. Options include terbinafine (Lamisil) and itraconazole (Sporanox). These drugs help a new infection-free nail to grow, slowly replacing the infected part.
Oral antifungal medicine usually takes 6 to 12 weeks. But you won’t see the final result of the treatment until the nail has finished growing back. It can take four months or longer to clear an infection. Success rates for treatment with these drugs appear to be lower in adults over 65 years of age.
Oral antifungal meds can cause results going from skin rash to liver harm. In some cases, you may need blood tests to check how you are doing while taking these medications. Doctors may not recommend them for liver disease or congestive heart failure, or people taking certain medications.
- Nail polish with medications. Your PCP may endorse an antifungal nail clean called “ciclopirox” (Penlac). It will use to paint infected nails and surrounding skin once a day. After seven days, you remove the overlapping layers with rubbing alcohol and begin the applications again. You may need to wear this type of nail polish every day for about a year.
- Medicated nail cream. Your doctor may prescribe an antifungal cream, which you should run over the infected nails after soaking them. These creams may work best if you refine your nails first. It helps the medicine penetrate the hard surface of the nail and reach the fungus underneath.
To refine your nails, you can apply an over-the-counter lotion that contains urea. The doctor may also sharpen the nail’s surface (debridement) with a file or other tool.
Surgery For Black Toenail Fungus
Your doctor may suggest temporary removal of the nail to apply for the antifungal medicine directly to the infection under the nail.
Some nail fungal infections do not respond to medications. Your doctor may suggest permanent removal of the nail if the infection is severe or extremely painful.
Lifestyle and home remedies
You can often cure a fungal nail infection at home:
- Try over-the-counter antifungal nail creams and ointments. There are several products available. If you see white marks on the surface of your nails, file them, soak them in water, dry them, and apply the prescribed cream or lotion.
- Trim and refine your nails. It helps reduce pain by dropping the pressure on the nails. Also, if you do this before applying an antifungal, the medication can reach deeper layers of the nail.
Before trimming nails or using a file to refine thick nails, soften them with creams that contain urea. If you have a disease that causes poor blood flow to your feet and you cannot trim your nails, visit a health professional frequently to have your nails trimmed.
Preparation before the appointment
You will likely start by consulting your family doctor or general practitioner. In some cases, when you call for a consultation, you may refer to a doctor who specializes in skin disorders (dermatologist) or a specialist in foot disorders (podiatrist).
To make the most of your time with your doctor, it is a good idea to go to your appointment prepared.
What can you do
- Make a list of symptoms, even those that don’t seem related to nail fungus.
- Write down your most important personal information, including what is causing you the most stress or any recent changes in your life.
- Prepare a list of all the supplements, vitamins, and medications and you are taking.
- Be conscious to ask everything about it to the doctor.