The Dermatologist Guide to Recognizing and Treating Toenail Fungus
Do you have nail fungus? Do you know how to recognize the symptoms and treat it?
In this article, we'll discuss everything you need to know about toenail fungus. Learn the signs and symptoms of this condition, and the best ways to treat it. Whether you're currently experiencing toenail fungus or want to be informed for the future, learn everything you need to know below.
What is Toenail Fungus?
Toenail fungus, also called onychomycosis, is a very common condition affecting anywhere from 10- 50% of the general population, depending on age. It's caused by a group of fungi called dermatophytes. These fungi thrive in warm, moist environments like locker rooms and public showers. They can also spread from person to person.
The good news is that toenail fungus is treatable. With early diagnosis and proper medical treatment, you can get rid of the fungus and prevent it from coming back.
Symptoms of Toenail Fungus
Toenail fungus often starts as a white or yellow spot on the tip of your toenail. As the fungi grow, they spread deeper into your nail, causing discoloration, thickening, and crumbling of the nail. The affected nail may also become misshapen or split.
If you have toenail fungus, you may notice one or more of the following symptoms:
- White, yellow, or brown discoloration of your toenail
- Thickening or crumbling of your toenail
- Distortion of your toenail's shape
- Splitting of your toenail
- Odorless debris building up under your toenail
If you notice any of these symptoms, it's important to see a Healthcare professional that can diagnose and prescribe a treatment that is best for you
How did I get Toenail Fungus?
Toenail fungus is spread in a number of ways. Nail fungi like warm, moist, dark places and it can be passed from person to person, or you can pick it up by walking barefoot in a public areas like public showers, pools, or even locker room floors. The fungi can also enter your body through tiny cuts or breaks in your skin.
If you have toenail fungus, it's important to take steps to prevent spreading it to others. Here are some tips:
- Wash your feet regularly and dry them thoroughly, especially between your toes.
- Don't share towels or other personal items with others.
- Wear shower shoes or sandals in public places like locker rooms and public showers.
- Don't go barefoot in public places.
- Change your socks and shoes regularly, and don't wear someone else's shoes.
Additionally, if you have toenail fungus, avoid giving yourself a pedicure. You can spread the infection to others this way.
Is toenail fungus contagious?
Yes, many types of toenail fungi are quite contagious. An infected person can spread the fungus to someone else through direct contact. You can also get toenail fungus by touching an infected surface.
Why is toenail fungus difficult to treat?
Toenail fungus is difficult to treat because the fungi that cause the infection thrive in warm, moist environments. This makes it hard to eliminate the infection completely. Additionally, nails grow slowly, so it can take a long time for new, healthy nails to replace ones that are infected.
If you have toenail fungus, be patient. It can take several months of treatment before the infection is completely gone.
Treatment Options for Toenail Fungus
There are a number of different treatment options available for toenail fungus. The best one for you will depend on the severity of your infection and your overall health.
Over-the-counter Treatment Options
If you have a mild toenail fungus, you may be able to treat it with an over-the-counter medication. These include:
- Antifungal nail creams and ointments
- Antifungal lacquers
These options don't always work because they don't usually penetrate the nail enough to reach the fungus. Additionally, they can have side effects like skin rashes.
If you decide to try an over-the-counter treatment, be sure to follow the directions carefully. Use the medication for as long as it's recommended, even if your symptoms go away. Otherwise, the fungus may not be completely eliminated and could come back.
Homeopathic Treatment Options
There are also a number of homeopathic treatments that may work against toenail fungus. These include:
- Tea tree oil
- Vicks VapoRub
- Oregano oil
- Lavender oil
These options haven't been extensively studied, so there's no evidence to show how well they work. However, some people find them effective and report few side effects.
If you decide to try a homeopathic treatment, be sure to do a patch test first. Apply a small amount of the substance to an area of skin that's not broken or irritated. If you don't have any reaction after 24 hours, it should be safe to use on your nails.
Here is a list of some prescription options available:
- Topical lacquer
- Oral antifungals
- Antifungal creams
STRIDE Prescription Treatment Solutions
The STRIDE Prescription Treatment is different as it uses a combination approach of the prescription medications along with nail health supplements for the greatest effectiveness. If you have tried other treatments and even prescription treatments and they have not worked or you just want to use something that is backed by scientific data that has a clinical cure rate of 89%, it may be time to try STRIDE. If you're looking for a treatment backed by science and a world-class medical team. This treatment plan was developed with world-renowned dermatologist, Neil Sadick, MD, FAAD, FAACS, FACP, FACPH. The plan combines an oral prescription with a topical nail treatment, both backed with 89% effectiveness and FDA-approved for safety and effectiveness in treating toenail fungus. The treatments cost as little as $1.65 per day ($49.50 per month). To get started you just need to complete a patient intake form, one of our trained physicians or prescribers will review your information and make a medical determination on the best treatment for you, so you can go back to living your life and not worry about being embarrassed by your feet or spreading toenail fungus to your family and friends.
How Long Does Treatment Take?
Toenail fungus can take a long time to treat. It can take several months of treatment before the infection is completely gone.
What to Expect During the Treatment Process?
It's important to be patient during the treatment process as it can take several months for new, healthy nails to replace ones that are infected.
During the treatment process, you can expect:
At 1-3 months: You can expect to see some improvement in your nails. They may be less brittle and discoloration.
At 3-6 months: You can expect to see further improvement in your nails. They may be less thick and more flexible.
At 6-9 months: You can expect your nails to be almost fully healed. They may be slightly discolored, but they should be healthy and strong.
At 9+ months: You can expect to see significant improvement in your nails. They should be back to their normal color and thickness.
The Future of Your Feet
Now that you know how to recognize and treat toenail fungus, you can take steps to prevent it from coming back. Be sure to keep your feet clean and dry, and don't share nail clippers or other personal items with others. If you have diabetes or another condition that weakens your immune system, be sure to see your doctor if you develop any signs or symptoms of toenail fungus. With the right treatment, you can get rid of the infection and be free from being embarrassed by your feet, whether at the beach, gym or with that special someone.
In addition to our telehealth program and prescription treatments, we also have the only line of foot care products “clinically developed and tested by dermatologists”. Our STRIDE Foot Cream is a medical strength treatment that not only deeply nourishes parched skin and toenails but also rejuvenates and restores them. The One Supplement supports new growth and helps with cell turnover as your skin, hair, toenails, and nails regenerate. Together, these FDA-approved products offer an easy and effective solution to your foot care needs. For additional footcare, we also have Our STRIDE foot peel and the Perfect Feet™Kit available.
STRIDE is here to help you every step of the way. Visit our website or contact us today to learn more about our telehealth prescription treatment options. We're committed to making you the best you can be.