If you are not in the habit of having your toenails done, and if you would rather wear closed shoes, you may probably not pay much attention to the health condition of your toenails. However, there is a very pertinent reason why you should always keep your toenails healthy. For one, there is a nail condition known as onychomycosis that can spread to your nails if left untreated. As they can hardly be noticeable, those who may already have it may not even know that they exist.
Keep Toenail Fungus At Bay
It may be impossible to not come into contact with any contaminated things where this fungus breeds. Needless to say, it is best that you keep your feet thoroughly clean and dry, as well as trim your nails properly to keep your any possible infection at bay. However, if you unknowingly get into contact with these microscopic organisms and caused an infection.Keep these tips in mind to the best toenail fungus treatment:
1. Wash your feet with soap and water thoroughly and wipe them off dry before putting on your shoes.
2. Trim your nails straight across making sure that they don’t reach the tip of the toe. This will help keep protect the sensitive tissues underneath your nails.
3.. Wear the right shoes. Tight-fitting shoes can easily bruise your skin. They can also damage the skin. These can provide an easy access for bacteria and start breeding on the affected area. You also need to change your socks whenever you feel your feet getting damp to avoid any fungal infection from spreading.
4. Apply antifungal cream or spray on an antifungal solution on your feet and on your shoes to boost the protection that you are providing to your feet.
5. Don’t go barefooted in public places. Either wear shoes or slippers.
6. Clean your nail clippers and other nail tools properly. Rub alcohol on them as well to keep them sanitized.
Toenail fungus can be a total pain. They may keep coming back if you are not able to maintain a good hygiene as well as apply this preventive measures. If any medical treatment plan is provided, you need to make sure to adhere to it carefully to make sure that the fungus on your toenails will be totally eradicated.
Toenail Fungus Treatment
Superficial onychomycosis is normally accompanied by the formation of small, white patches of fungus on the nails. They can just be trimmed or filed off the nails. An OTC or over-the-counter topical treatment, such as miconazole nitrate (Fungoid Tincture), may then be applied on the nails to ensure that all fungi are removed from the nails. Repeated application of the topical treatment is necessary to ensure that the fungus won’t have a chance to grow back on the trimmed off nail.
Severe infections need to be treated by a specialist, however. A severe onychomycosis is characterized by thick and discolored nails that can become painful.
Treatment plans that are normally provided by podiatrists include:
1. Removal or debridement of the affected portion of the nails. This will lessen the pain and will allow any topical treatment that will be applied to the affected area to penetrate better.
2. Application of a topical medication. Fungoid Tincture and the prescription treatment ciclopirox (Penlac nail lacquer) are usually applied on the affected nails. They don’t seem to be as effective as the first treatment method as the medication won’t be able to penetrate well on the thickened nails.
3. Taking oral medication. Terbinafine hydrochloride (Lamisil) and itraconazole (Sporanox) are the two oral medications that are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as oral treatments for toenail fungus. They are generally taken continuously as prescribed and up to three months to successfully remove the infection.
Most serious cases of the infection will require the surgical removal of the affected toenails. The may also be dipped on an acid. If this option is required, an artificial nail is usually placed on the nail bed to protect the skin tissues underneath until a new nail grows back.
There are also home remedies that may be used to prevent or treat toenail fungus. Here are some of them
1. Vicks Vaporub. A clinical case study conducted by Richard Derby, MD., et. al. indicated that this over-the-counter mentholated ointment is effective in treating onychomycosis. You just need to apply a small amount of the ointment on the affected area regularly until the nails retain its normal features.
2. Snakeroot extract. Researchers at the Centro de Investigación Biomédica del Sur, Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social (IMSS) conducted a study that evaluated the effectiveness of Ageratina pichinchensis (snakeroot) extract in treating onychomycosis. The study revealed that this solution is as effective as the prescription antifungal medication ciclopirox.
3. Tea tree oil. Tea tree oil is used for health and beauty purposes. This also includes treating nasty toenail fungal infection. You may just apply the oil directly on the affected area. Make sure to wash your nails and feet thoroughly before applying the oil. Do this two times a day until the condition of your nails improve.
4. Vinegar. Though there has been no clinical study conducted to prove the efficiency of using this solution in treating toenail fungus, many anecdotal pieces of evidence support it. Vinegar is also known for its antioxidant, antimicrobial, and other health benefits. To use it as a treatment method for this condition, mix one part of vinegar to two parts of warm water and soak your feet in the mixture for about 20 minutes daily.
5. Garlic. Like vinegar, garlic has been used for medicinal purposes. It is also found to be effective in curing nail conditions as onychomycosis. Place chopped or crushed garlic clove on the affected areas for about 30 minutes daily until your nails recover its natural state.
6. Listerine. Listerine is proven to be an effective dental cleaning agent. Many have found this solution to be effective in treating toenail fungus as well. Those who used this treatment recommend soaking the affected foot in Listerine for about 30 minutes every day.
It is always recommended that you keep feet clean and thoroughly dry to ensure that they will be free from any fungal infection. It is also best to check the health condition of your feet regularly to ensure that no nail changes that could possibly be tell-tale signs of this condition will not go unnoticed.