A toenail fungal infection can cause foul odors, discoloration among other complications such as distorted nail shape, scaly skin around the infected nail or even permanent damage to the affected nails.
Unfortunately, most people do not pay close attention to the health of their toenails, and since fungal infections are usually painless, they do not even realize they have a problem until their nails are severely damaged. Keeping your toenails in top shape is not so difficult, and with a little care, you can prevent or stop toenail fungal infections in their tracks. Here are a few tips on how to achieve this.
If your toes are affected by a fungal infection, daily hygiene is the first thing you should concentrate on even before getting any form of treatment. Scrubbing the affected nails with soap, water and a brush can help reduce the spread of the fungus, while drying your feet before putting on socks and shoes is important since fungi thrive in moist conditions. You should also wear shoes when walking in public areas such as public bathrooms, pools or locker rooms.
Additionally, clip and trim infected toenails, as they can re-infect healthy nails growing in behind them. Short nails also harbor less moisture and thus deter the growth of fungi while also protecting the delicate tissue beneath. Finally ensure that you clean pedicure tools between uses to prevent infecting healthy nails.
Toenail fungus treatments
There is usually no need for treatment for mild infections, but if the infection is severe, you should talk to a podiatrist at a clinic like Foot First Podiatry Centers about a treatment that suits you. Toenail fungal infections are notoriously hard to get rid of so treatment has to be adhered to strictly.
Systemic anti-fungal medications such as clotrimazole, terbinafine are available in pill form and can be effective in killing off stubborn infections. Anti-fungal nail paint can also be used especially if the fungus has colonized the nail bed.
Laser treatment is also available today, where the infected nail is treated in a safe and non-invasive procedure involving the use of high doses of light energy. The light is effective at heating and killing stubborn toenail infections. In instances where only a section of the nail is infected, surgery can be used to remove the diseased part and prevent the infection from spreading to the rest of the nail.
Soaking your toenails in vinegar solution could also be a helpful home remedy against such infections, as it lowers the PH of your nails and thus disrupts the growth of fungus.