An infected toenail can be painful, as well as embarrassing. The following article provides information regarding ways to deal with it.
Onychomycosis is an infection caused by fungal growth (microorganisms that survive without sunlight) in the nails. There are many types of infections that affect the toenail like proximal subungual onychomycosis (PSO), white superficial onychomycosis (WSO), distal subungual onychomycosis (DSO), etc. Candida onychomycosis is another infection which not only affects the toenails but even the fingernails.
When we leave our feet wet and do not let them dry well, certain bacteria and fungi may attack our nails, and eventually cause a toenail infection. Adults who:
- sweat a lot
- wear unclean or tight shoes
- have a weak immune system
- are affected by diabetes
are prone to an infection. Children too may develop such an infection, if they do not follow proper hygiene. Infection may also occur if a toe injury of the past that was not treated on time, has erupted again. This problem usually occurs during the rainy season, or when the climate is moist and humid.
The symptoms of toenail fungus include brittle nails, discolored or black nails, hardening of nails, foul odor from the toe, and red, pus-filled blisters around the nail. All these signs become visible, as soon as the bacteria infests the toenail.
Toenail Fungus Treatment
Applying Zeta Clear, an antifungal formula which consists of all natural ingredients is the most common and effective way to treat toenail fungus. Apart from this, there is the Nail-Rx formula and Pedi-Cure formula which again are natural and safe to use but more costly than Zeta Clear. One needs to have patience while undergoing treatment, as it usually takes 3 to 4 months to cure the infected toenail completely.
Laser treatment has also proved to be effective in severe cases. However, it is a bit expensive, as compared to other methods. There are many antifungal creams and oral medicines available over-the-counter, which are effective and provide relief from pain. However, it is not advisable to consume antibiotics like terbinafine and griseofulvin, without the doctor’s prescription as they may cause side effects.
Home remedies include soaking the feet in an iodine or Listerine solution. Soaking the feet in vinegar is also beneficial, as it is known to have antifungal properties. Applying lime juice on the affected toenail is also a good option. Consumption of Apple Cider also helps fight the infection. Tea tree oil is one of the best oils, when it comes to treating any kind of skin infection.
Lavender oil and olive oil are also other affordable options. The oil needs to be applied with cotton over the toenail, twice a day. Rubbing a slice of onion on the affected area also helps in curing the infection. Applying alcohol, bleaching liquid, or hydrogen peroxide is effective; however, it might cause a burning sensation. One may also include spices like garlic, ginger, cinnamon, cumin, chillies, capsicum, black pepper, celery seeds, etc., in daily diet, as they are known to fight bacteria and possess healing properties.
Ingrown Toenail Treatment
People should take medical help in case of an infected ingrown toenail. The doctor may remove the spike of the nail under local anesthesia. Home remedies may also be used for relieving the pain, post surgery.
If the infected toenail is not treated in time, then it may spread from one toe to another and the condition may worsen. In severe cases, the nail fungus may get mixed with the bloodstream and prove difficult to control. In such a case, only a medical practitioner would be able to treat the infection. Nail care is very important, so the feet should be examined daily to check for any change in appearance. If any cuts or blisters are found, the feet should be washed with warm soapy water and dried completely. Thereafter, an antiseptic cream should be applied. The best way to avoid toenail problems is to maintain proper hygiene by wearing clean socks and shoes, disinfecting the pedicure equipment, using an antifungal spray or powder, and always keeping the feet clean.
Disclaimer: This Buzzle article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.