Toenail Fungal Infection Treatment

Keeping your toe health in check and fungal infections at bay

An Introduction to Toenail Fungus:

Ladies, there is something more important than painting your toenails! It is taking care of your toes and feet hygiene in order to lead a healthy and infection free lifestyle. Our feet are usually inside shoes with minimum to almost non-existent ventilation or are either moist with sweat from the sock.

Toenail fungus, medically termed Onychomycosis, is a commonly observed fungal infection that resides in the toenail. This infection is caused when causative pathogens of Onychomycosis inhabit the toe and grow when they get their suitable environment. People living in temperate western countries and tropics and subtropics which is packed with hot and humid climate also supports the growth of the Onychomycosis pathogens.

How Toenail Fungus attacks?

Toenail fungus infections are caused by fungi or dermatophytes, a kind of pathogen. The fungus infects by invading the nail from the free edge and then spreads across from the side to the base of the toenail. This infection causing organism can also be the cause of fungal infections of the skin. There is even a possibility that fungal infection can spread from the skin to the nails or it can happen the other way round as well. Fungal infections are commonly experienced in toenails than fingernails, as the fungi can grow better in conditions that are warm, moist. Something that is commonly provided when you wear shoes and socks all the time.

What psychological and social impact toenail fungus has on its victim?

It should come as a no surprise to people affected by toenail fungus infections, the mere healing of the toenail is not the only issue. Dealing with something like a TFI can give birth to much more things than the mere efforts to treat the infection. TFI can be an emotionally distressing matter as well which can have a negative impact as well as an effect on someone’s quality of life and the way they have been perceiving things before the onset of infection. From surveys, it is concluded that nearly 50% of the affected population surveyed said that they observed a change in their behavior, such as avoiding being barefoot or wearing sandals in public eye. All this because of how their toenails looked.

Nearly about two-thirds of the respondents of the same survey who have suffered from toenail fungus infections claimed to have felt embarrassed because of their condition. While many people who were suffering from a toenail fungus infection felt extreme self-consciousness about the appearance. This discomfort was experienced more during the summer season when the area that has been affected by the toenail fungus infection is more visible. Nail fungus can very well cause embarrassment, that can lead some sufferers to stop their daily activities such as yoga or swimming so that others do not get to see their toenails.

As a patient of the infection, your dermatologist and the family physician will appreciate it if you are open and honest about how you feel about the whole period of getting diagnosed and treated, not only on grounds like physical well-being as well as emotional well-being. Your physician will be able to comfort you by presenting the fact that what you have and what you are going through is a common condition and that you are not alone during this period of feeling low and embarrassed. Above all, they will be able to help you to understand and accept the fact that your feelings are in fact valid and there absolutely is nothing wrong about the way you have been feeling lately.

Fungal nail infections can cause pain and problem with mobility. It may become unbearably uncomfortable to wear closed shoes, irrespective of weather condition, and walk, exercise or stand. You may experience troubles performing otherwise simple activities. For the reason, early treatment is always recommended before the infection grows becomes more severe or in the worst case, has spread to other toenails or to people who are around you.

It is always best to speak up and take control of your overall health. Addressing issues like Toenail Fungus Infection can be your first step towards taking control. You are the best health advocate for yourself and no one can do it better than you, yourself. 

Who is vulnerable to Toenail Fungal Infection?

Toenail fungal infection can happen to anyone but there is a group of people who are more vulnerable to the infection than others are.

These groups are:

  • People who have diabetes
  • Are suffering from a disease that causes poor circulation
  • Are over the age of 65
  • People who wear artificial nails too often
  • Have an uncured or treated nail injury
  • Have their toes soaked in moisture for really long
  • People with a weakened immune system
  • Those who wear shoes too often 

Also, such fungal infections are contagious and can spread through contact. The fungi that are responsible for causing jock itch, athlete’s foot, and ringworm are responsible for causing toenail fungus as well. It is common to have toenail fungal infection than having fingernail infection because the toes are usually enclosed in closed and moist spaces like shoes. The fungi get the environment that is needed for its growth.

Since the infection is contagious, it is always wise to ask at your nail salon whether if they have clean tools or use disposable tools. Tools like emery boards and nail clipper are the carrier of the infection. Thus, these tools need to be sanitized after and before every use.

Is Toenail Fungus contagious?

Toenail Fungus Infections are contagious, but not in ways that should cause panic. You can catch a fungal infection yourself from the infected person by:

  • Sharing items such as nail clippers or nail cosmetics
  • By walking barefoot in such places as a locker room or around a public swimming pool.

Toenail fungus infections can transfer from one person to other people, can travel within families, or can even travel from the affected toenail to other toenails. 

The signs and you need to take care of:

Toenail fungus never develops overnight. It slowly wears it boots to trek the nail mountains. The Pathogen’s quick development is favored in the presence of moisture and lack of cleanliness.

Here are a few signs that broadcast the onset of toenail fungal infection:

The most visible signs being:

  • The appearance of scaling under the nail (medically termed Subungual hyperkeratosis)
  • The appearance of white or yellow streaks on the nail
  • The presence of a crumbling corner, at times, the tip of the nail may crumble as well
  • The appearance of pits in the area that is framed by flaking white areas
  • The appearance of yellow spots at nail’s bottom
  • The loss of nail either due to chipping and falling 

Signs that are most common in the case of toenail fungal infection: 

  • The presence of a distorted nail that may lift off from the nail bed
  • Pungent smell from the affected area
  • The toenail gets brittle or thickens unevenly

How to detect fungal infection:

The signs and symptoms as exhibited by the pathogens causing toenail fungus is similar to what other types of infections mimic. It is difficult to self diagnose a fungal infection yourself. It is best to consult a doctor for diagnoses and then undergo treatment.

How Toenail fungal infection is diagnosed:

The doctor will take a small sample from the affected toe. What follows is scraping of the affected nail and studying the nail under a microscope to detect the presence of fungus. In some cases, the doctor may ask you to consult a pathologist in order to obtain an elaborated report.

If have diabetic or have a weak immune system, it is best to consult your doctor for diagnoses and treatment at the earliest. Use a speck of doubt in your benefit. People in this group should strictly avoid using home remedies.

  1. Self-diagnosis of Toenail Fungus Infection:

You can be able to tell if you are developing  a toenail fungus infection by putting your toenail for self-examination based on changes in the appearance of the possible toenail.

Here are a few simple questions that may help you in determining whether if you have symptoms that require medical attention right away or need attention on feet hygiene:

  • Does your nail look brittle?
  • Has there been any change in nail’s shape?
  • Is there crumbling on nail edges?
  • Is there any form of debris trapped under the nail?
  • Does the nail seem to be little loose or lifting?
  • Is the nail thicker than how it used to be before?
  • Have you noticed white or yellow streaks on your nails?
  • Is there dullness and a lack of shine on your nails dull?

If your answer has been a ‘yes’ to any of the above questions, and you have noticed changes in your nail’s appearance and texture that has been there for longer than two weeks, make an appointment to see your physician for a detailed diagnosis and to help you to decide the best treatment approach that is best suited for your condition you.

Seeking early treatment is the key, as with time, toenail fungus infections can become progressively more challenging to treat. If the condition is left untreated for long, toenail fungus infections can cause other types of infection of the skin that can progressively grow and cause severe damage to the body and lifestyle. The fungus infection can also cause permanent damage to the affected nails and potentially lead to Paronychia, a type of skin infection that feasts and occurs around the nails.

  1. Other methods of treating Toenail Fungal Infection:

Toenail Fungal Infection is usually treated by giving oral antifungal medication that directly targets the area under fungus’ attack, below-listed products are usually prescribed by the doctor for recovery:

Other types of antifungal treatments are used as well, such as antifungal nail lacquer or some kind of topical solutions. These treatment products are applied to the nail in a similar way as nail polish is applied. The duration of application of these products depends on how the fungus is reacting to medications. The process of getting rid of infection this way can take too much time. Also, topical solutions are not effective in treating fungal infections. Such a treatment holds no guarantee of getting your body rid of infesting fungus. If the fungus gets suitable conditions that favor its growth, it will resurge again. 

Types of treatments: Laser Treatment or Physical Treatment?

  1. Laser Treatment:

Lasers, photodynamic therapy, and diode lasers are relatively new areas and have the potential to be used for treating fungal infections at an early stage or at a later stage. Therapies like Light therapies can be performed in a medical clinic by experts. This procedure can be a bit expensive treatment option.

For now, medical pieces of evidence have suggested that laser treatment alone is not very effective when it comes to treating fungal nail infections. It is best to speak with your doctor to discuss if the option of undergoing laser treatment is best for you.

  1. Physical Treatment:

In some cases of infection, a part of or the whole infected nail may need to be removed to prevent overgrowth of the infection to other toenails and the skin. This procedure is not too fancy can be done at the physician’s clinic. The process is easy and is relatively painless.

Note here that physical therapy will not kill the fungus and its growth or remove it from the nail. The removal is often done so that relevant topical treatments can be applied directly to the affected part of the nail or the nail bed. The nail removal is done in an attempt to ensure the topical treatment works with more efficiency.

The questions you need to ask your Doctor:

It is never a bad idea to have questions about your present condition. Moreover, making a list of questions will help you better make the most of your time with your doctor and get the best out of your treatment.

Here are some basic questions to ask your Doctor about toenail fungus infections (TFI):

  1. What can be causing my symptoms or condition?
  2. Is it normal to experience that TFI is impacting my self-confidence and overall happiness?
  3. What are the kinds of diagnostic tests I need, if any?
  4. What are the treatment options that I have?
  5. If the first treatment is not effective enough, what will we try next to get everything alright?
  6. How much will a particular treatment improve my physical signs and symptoms?
  7. Will I need to be treated for long term?
  8. What can be the possible side effects of the medications you are recommending me?
  9. How will you be monitoring my responses to the treatment over time?
  10. I have these (name the conditions you have) other health conditions. How can I manage them together?
  11. Are there any kind of restrictions I need to follow?
  12. Should I see a specialist for any relating condition?
  13. What websites or resources can you recommend for additional information on my condition?

Do not hesitate to ask your doctor any other doubt or questions you have about your condition. It is important to know about your conditions, this way you can keep up with the treatment and track your own progress.

Home remedies for Toenail fungal infection:

Having ingredients at home that let you have quick relief from itching and pain is always a bliss. Home remedies let you decide the pace at which you want the recovery to happen. Also, often times practicing a home remedy sounds easier and than having to pop tablets of anti-histamines.

Here are some home remedies you can try at home for quick relief:

  1. Baking soda:

Baking Soda is excellent in absorbing moisture, one parameter that can help in fungal growth. It was observed in a  small study that the use of baking soda can treat 79-80% of fungal growth, whereas it can help in slowing growth of fungal infections in another 17% of cases.

Application:
Baking soda can be used in two ways;

  • By stuffing some baking powder inside the socks or the shoes. This will soak up moisture from the soles and the inner surface of the footwear
  • You can make a paste of baking soda and water (2:1 ratio) and apply the paste directly onto the affected area. Let the paste dry for 10 minutes and then rinse it off with clean water. Allow the toe to dry on its own. Repeat the same process at least three times a day until the fungal growth stops and clears completely.
  1. Vinegar:

Vinegar finds its use in almost every household. It is incorporated in cooking delicious recipes and sometimes for cleaning tough stains. There exists no anecdotal evidence that recommends using vinegar to treat fungal infections.

Application:

  • Mix 1:2 ratio of vinegar in water and soak your feet in the solution. Do this twice a day until the fungus clears out.
  1. Essential Oils: 

Essential oil is an elixir to humankind. It is versatile in every aspect of application, the anti-inflammatory properties make it amazing when it comes to dealing with itchy infectious areas.

The best essential oils that you can use for toenail fungus are:

  • Lavender oil
  • Petitgrain oil
  • Clary sage oil
  • Ylang ylang oil
  • Jasmine oil

Application:

  • Add 2-3 drops of essential oil in warm water and soak your feet in it. Repeat this twice a day for two weeks for best results
  • Add 1-2 drops of essential oil in a carrier oil (coconut or olive oil will be the best) and apply it on the affected area thrice a day
  1. Snakeroot extract:

The Snakeroot extract is packed with ample of anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. It works wonderfully in removing swelling, blisters and is also helpful in reducing damage caused by the infestation of pathogens.

Application:

  • Apply the snakeroot extract on the affected area on every third day for the first month of treatment followed by twice a week for a month and then eventually, every week for the whole third month. 
  1. Ozonized sunflower oil:

When Ozone (O3) is made to react with sunflower oil, Ozonized Sunflower Oil is obtained. The compounds found in this Ozonized sunflower oil has got significant medicinal effects.

Application: 

  • Rub the oil on the affected area twice a day till the fungal growth disappears.

6. Garlic:

Garlic is a home remedy for almost everything. A pinch of garlic with ginger keeps the digestive system healthy and the food, delicious. A study had found that using garlic to treat toenail fungus infection is a great idea.

Application:

Place crushed or chopped garlic on the affected area. Let it stay there for 30 minutes and rinse off using distilled. Repeat the same every day.

Home remedies happen in the comfort of your home. You can choose when you want to treat yourself and how often you want to get treated. It is worth noting that at home treatments take time before they show slightest of effect on your condition. It requires you to be more flexible with the application of the remedy you are using for yourself. Also, there are chances that the remedy may not work and you give more time for the fungi to grow. In order to avoid such scenarios, we recommend using ZetaClear, a clinically tested medicine that is sure to make your toenails fine.

 ZetaClear is a clinically tested and FDA approved product that acts quick and reduces (followed by curing completely) the fungal growth. 

ZetaClear – Solution for treating Toenail Fungus so that it never returns:

ZetaClear is an FDA approved and clinically proven medicine that can efficiently help you get rid of fungal infections so that they never return.

ZetaClear has the potential to:

  • It kills toenail fungus
  • It clears yellow keratin debris
  • Is easy on application
  • Is safe and natural and does not burn skin
  • Is very effective and you can see results within weeks of using it 

Why ZetaClear is worth it?

ZetaClear works by preventing the growth and reproduction of the fungus. It inhibits the growth of fungus cells and clears out the deposition of previous fungal growth. The brush type applicator of ZetaClear makes it easy on the application, you never really touch the affected area with your fingers. Moreover, it is convenient to be carried during journeys or to outdoor activities. The targetted application of the product focuses on reducing and eliminating damage caused due to fungal deposition. The liquid consistency of ZetaClear dries up quickly and leave no mess or emits no odor at all.

ZetaClear Ingredients: (Nail Solution)

  • Undecylenic Acid: This is one of a few components that are approved by the FDA for treating both toenail as well as fingernail fungus. It has got strong antibacterial and anti-fungal features. The component can be used alone can be found paired with other components of greater impact
  • Clove Oil: Known for its anti-bacterial, anti-viral as well as anti-fungal features
  • Lemongrass Oil: The oil has got antiseptic properties, which can be effective in killing bacteria that causes fungus
  • Vitamin E Oil: A commonly used at home remedy for treating nail fungus. The reason it is thought to be effective is that the oil contains high levels of antioxidants and due to this it can enhance healing of the affected skin and promote the growth of new healthy nails
  • Jojoba Oil: Jojoba is great when it comes to keeping the skin moisturized and can improve the condition of affected skin.
  • Almond Oil: This oil can provide the skin with fatty acids and it is also a rich source of many vitamins. It is, therefore, can be amazingly beneficial in treating many inflammation conditions as well as skin problems
  • Tea Tree Oil:  It is responsible for cutting down growth structures of fungus and prevents aggressive growth of infection. Click here to know in detailed ingredients.

ZetaClear Ingredients: (Oral Spray)

  • Antimonium Curdum (200C): This is a homeopathic ingredient that can help in minimizing the sensitivity caused due to fungal growth and nail uplifting
  • Mancinella (30C): This component can be effective in minimizing discoloration of nails
  • Nitricum Acidum (30C): Another homeopathic ingredient that is effective in minimizing the pain, burning sensation and soreness of the affected toenail. Furthermore, Nitricum can lessen sweating of both feet and hands thereby, minimizing the lability of environment that can cause the overgrowth of fungus
  • Sulfur (12X): It is included in ZetaClear spray because of its anti-itch and antiseptic features. Due to this property, the compound is also commonly used for treating issues such as nail ulcers and minimizing feet itching
  • Thuja Occidentalis (200C): While this ingredient is more commonly used for the treatment of warts, it can also greatly improve the health of your nails as it slows down the growth of uneven texture formed due to infection
  • Arsenicum Album (200C): This compound can be helpful in treating nail discolorations. It is an integral part of remedies that are aimed at treating skin related conditions. Click here to know in detailed ingredients.

Other ingredients that are used (inactive ingredients): Purified water & Alcohol (20%)

Pros of ZetaClear:

  • ZetaClear comes in a liquid consistency that spreads out well and dries quickly
  • The product leaves no residual and causes no hassle during application
  • Come with a brush. This way your fingers never get in contact with the affected area
  • ZetaClear eradicates the fungal colony and prevents rehabilitation

Cons of ZetaClear:

  • Since it has a liquid consistency, it is best advised to use the product when you are not going to move around wearing any kind of closed footwear.

Buy ZetaClear from the official website

How to take care of toenails:

  • Do not wear shoes for too long. Opt for footwear that allows your feet to breathe
  • Wash your socks after every use. Use anti-bacterial wash and dry them properly by placing it in an airy atmosphere
  • Do not share your nail clippers
  • When going for pedicure or manicure. ask the salon expert to sanitize the tools before they use it on you
  • Have a night-time feet care routine where you wash and exfoliate your feet
  • Sprinkle anti-bacterial powder on your toes after washing them
  • Use a separate towel for your body and your feet
  • Keep doormats clean 
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