Toenail Fungus: Detect and Treat Correctly

Fungal diseases are the most common diseases on Earth. We suggest that you think about how to treat toenail fungus, which professional preparations (tablets, ointment, cream, varnish, other drugs) and folk remedies are used for this.

Onychomycosis (also known as "dermatophytic onychomycosis" or "herpes zoster") is the most common nail infection, with one in ten people worldwide suffering from this disease. Despite the fact that the disease must be treated at home, it is very difficult to influence this infection from the outside, and the infection is often accompanied by relapses and inflammation.

Nail fungus - what is it?

In medical terminology, nail fungus is called onychomycosis. The nail plate becomes infected in contact with the spores, then the rapid growth of fungal bodies begins, which engulf the nail in depth and width.

This pathological condition is most often observed in elderly people. The following factors influence the occurrence of the disease:

  • overweight;
  • diseases of the digestive system;
  • weakening of the immune system;
  • impaired function of the thyroid gland or adrenal gland;
  • improper hygiene.

Experts identify several stages and forms of fungal infection.

Types and causes of toenail disease

Diseases of the nail plate can be divided into three types:

  • fungal;
  • non-fungal;
  • other diseases.

Non-fungal diseases

Here are the causes of diseases that are not related to yeast infection:

  • illiterate nail care;
  • injury;
  • unbalanced diet;
  • presence of infection in the body;
  • smoking;
  • hereditary predisposition;
  • the presence of dermatological diseases such as psoriasis, eczema;
  • acute and chronic diseases of the heart and blood vessels, nervous system, endocrine diseases.
toenail fungus

Fungal diseases

Fungal problems are caused by infection with various types of fungi. This pathogen is very dangerous because of its rapid and easy spread. This disease must be treated. Fungi most often affect the nail plates of the lower extremities, because the feet are the most favorable environment for the reproduction of pathogenic bacteria.

There are factors that contribute to the onset and development of the disease:

  • increased sweating of the feet;
  • shoes of poor quality: clogged and impermeable, poorly durable;
  • use of clothing made of synthetic materials;
  • neglect of personal hygiene;
  • visiting public places without individual footwear, for example baths, swimming pools, saunas, public showers.

To recognize the beginning of the disease, you need to know what a healthy nail plate should look like:

  • flesh color pink;
  • the surface is smooth, without roughness;
  • has a homogeneous structure, no compaction or thinning;
  • The nails are intact at their ends and do not separate.

If your nails are not in accordance with at least one point, then you need to visit a doctor for a consultation.

Forms of fungi

The symptoms of the disease depend on the form of the fungus:

  • Atrophic. A gray shade appears on the nail, and the plate becomes pale and dull. The nail begins to atrophy from the outer ends.
  • Hypertrophic. As a result of the active growth of skin scales, the nail plate becomes thicker by more than 2 millimeters. Nail deformation depends on the severity of the pathology. Shade – gray or dark yellow. It is believed that one of the signs of such a mushroom is similar to a bird's claw.
  • Normotrophic. The color of the nail with this type of fungus changes, but the shine and thickness remain the same. In the first stages, white to yellow spots appear. If the disease is not treated, they get bigger. In this case, the plate does not stick to the nail.
  • Proximal. This fungus spreads to the skin fold. Possible pain in the cuticle area.
  • In total. This infection develops if the treatment of other types of fungi is neglected. Accompanied by loss of color and shine, wear and fragility. The result is complete destruction of the nail plate.
  • Surface white fungus. It is characterized by the formation of white spots and streaks that spread throughout the nail.
  • Distal. The lesion is accompanied by dullness, loss of color and changes in the thickness of the nail plate. After the affected area dies, the nail deforms and crumbles.
  • Lateral. Swelling of skin bumps, their redness and thickening occurs. It is characterized by pain in the area near the nail. When a bacterial infection joins, the purulent process begins.

Depending on the severity of the pathology, appropriate treatment is prescribed.

Practical advice

Prevention of toe and foot fungus is a very important task. Immediately after you clear the accident, you will find yourself in a high risk zone, because. . . The body will be very sensitive to this type of infection for a long time.

  1. Drug treatment is not always worthwhile, antibiotics kill the immune system, the body becomes more sensitive to fungi and spores, try to minimize the use of such drugs;
  2. All burns and frostbite require immediate treatment, otherwise the bacteria will decrease very quickly;
  3. Effective treatment is only half the battle, because you will have to disinfect absolutely all surfaces you come into contact with: bedding, floors, clothes, shoes, etc. ;
  4. Traditional treatment is good, but it does not guarantee that there will be no recurrence. Before starting this fight, it is recommended to visit a doctor, who will do an analysis and tell you exactly what form of fungus you have and how to fight it;
  5. Do not treat yourself with drugs;
  6. Do not try to cover up damaged nails with colored nail polish - this will damage them even more and slow down regeneration;
  7. The doctor advises you to regularly make foot baths with mint and chamomile, which will significantly reduce the likelihood of infection;
  8. A person who has already suffered from fungal diseases cannot be a blood donor;
  9. The fungus is very contagious, so consult with your loved ones and take them to the doctor.

Typical clinical picture

Clinical manifestations of fungal nail infection include:

  • burning sensation and itching of the skin near the affected area;
  • fragility of nails;
  • swelling of the affected area;
  • active plate separation;
  • color changes (black, yellow, gray, green, brown shade indicates a pathological process);
  • painful sensation in the place where the fungus is localized;
  • nail deformation.

If treatment is neglected or inappropriate therapy is observed, keratinization of the plate and increased compaction are observed.Only a qualified professional can diagnose a yeast infection.

Places at risk of infection

Infection can occur in a moist and warm place where the fungus grows quickly. Therefore, you should be careful and follow the rules of hygiene in a public environment:

  • sauna;
  • shower cabin;
  • bath;
  • gym;
  • solarium;
  • public changing room;
  • the beach;
  • swimming pool.

You can get nail fungus if you try on other people's shoes. In addition, infection can occur in the beauty salon during the pedicure procedure if non-sterile instruments are used or the master has fungus on his hands and performs the manipulation without gloves.

Alternative remedies to fight nail fungus

There are a number of alternative methods for controlling yeast infections. In folk medicine, popular and effective procedures that help to remove fungi are:

  • compression;
  • foot bath;
  • Lotions;
  • application of fat from herbal products.

Effective alternative antifungal therapies are:

  1. Garlic oil. To prepare it, butter is mixed with grated garlic. Apply for several hours on the affected nails.
  2. Sea salt bath. Make a warm solution and keep your feet in it for thirty minutes. After the procedure, it is recommended to apply olive oil to the nails.
  3. Foot bath with decoction of calendula, celandine, horsetail or milkweed.
  4. Compress of mint and salt. A spoonful of salt is mixed with the crushed plant and applied to the problem area for several hours.
  5. Propolis lotion. A cotton pad is moistened in the tincture and applied to the affected nail.
  6. Lubrication of the affected nail plate with celandine juice.
  7. A mixture of eggs and honey. Honey, birch tar and sulfur are added to the egg white. Mix well and apply on nails.
  8. Ammonia compression. A spoonful of ammonia is diluted in a glass of water. The material intended for the procedure is soaked in liquid.
  9. Apricot resin. An alcoholic tincture is prepared from the resin of the tree using the ingredients in equal parts. Using this remedy, make a poultice.
  10. Bathroom for coffee. They brew strong coffee and pour it into a basin. It is recommended to soak your feet in this product for twenty minutes.
  11. Tar compress. For this procedure, take birch tar.
  12. Bath based on listerine, apple cider vinegar and lemon juice.
  13. Hydrogen peroxide compress. Before use, it is recommended to make a soda bath for your feet.
  14. Applying onion paste to the inflamed nail.

An effective folk remedy for yeast infections is a baking soda and apple cider vinegar remedy. You need the following ingredients for preparation:

  • apple cider vinegar - 250 ml;
  • baking soda - 150 g;
  • water (hot) – 3 l.

Foot baths are made with this medicine. The special feature of this procedure is that the feet are first placed in a vinegar solution for twenty minutes. Then, after a while, they take a soda bath. It is recommended to do the procedure several times a day.

  • Compresses can also be made from the following ingredients:
  • chopped horseradish (root);
  • sunflower oil and vinegar (product ratio 1: 1);
  • tea mushroom;
  • tangerine juice;
  • tea tree oil;
  • pureed rowan.

It is recommended to apply these products to the affected area at night. Herbalists advise putting crushed medicinal herbs against foot fungus in your socks:

  • mint;
  • chamomile;
  • nettles;
  • sage.

You can overcome the first signs of the disease by soaking your feet in a laundry soap solution. It is important to remember that alternative medicines should only be used on well-washed feet. Dead layers must be removed each time with a nail file or scissors.

Other diseases

This section includes diseases that can be signs of fungal or non-fungal pathology, but in this case they are independent.


Most often, hypertrophy is inherited.

This disease is accompanied by the following symptoms:

  • the nail becomes thicker;
  • extends up to several centimeters;
  • very long legs begin to bend, resembling a bird's claw;
  • the color of the nail changes from yellow to dirty yellow;
  • rarely, in this condition, the nail grows into the skin on the side;
  • If the growth is not treated, the inflammatory process begins.

Vitamins and physical therapy are prescribed to fight the disease.If inflammation is present, rinse with peroxide and chlorhexidine.

Traditional medicine suggests using olive oil massage. In the case of significant deformation, which greatly spoils the person's appearance, they resort to cosmetic correction.


Diseases of the toenails, in which the nails are susceptible to atrophy, are often congenital in nature.

Already in a newborn, you can notice the symptoms:

  • deformation of the nail plates on one or several fingers, they are smaller in size, fragile, distorted in shape;
  • the color of the nails is whitish, cloudy;
  • the surface has defects: roughness, microcracks;
  • absence of nails on one or several fingers;
  • the presence of membranes between the fingers;
  • deformation of fingers;
  • low rate of hair growth, and they also grow poorly.

Such congenital pathologies are difficult to treat. Taking vitamins, eating substances rich in collagen and a balanced diet are recommended. Patients should take care of their nails and avoid injuries and contact with aggressive substances.

Nail peeling

The most common problem that people face.

Here are the reasons for its appearance:

  • improper manicure, use of low-quality decorative cosmetics;
  • This problem is encountered by half of the women who regularly perform the shellac procedure;
  • lack of vitamins;
  • endocrine disorders, especially reduced thyroid function;
  • chronic diseases that exhaust the body;
  • synthetic clothing and wrong footwear.

This problem can be eliminated with the help of a number of measures:

  • Cosmeticsspecialized nail creams and oils.
  • Paraffin therapyyou need to buy paraffin and melt it until liquid, but not hot. The feet must first be thoroughly washed and dried. Dip your fingers in the paraffin, let it harden, then lower it again. The sequence must be repeated several times until there are 3 to 5 layers of paraffin on the nails. Then you need to wrap it in plastic and put warm socks on top. Keep this compress for 30 minutes. After that, the paraffin must be carefully removed and a rich cream applied to the nails.

Traditional medicine recommends massage using sea salt. It needs to be dissolved in a ratio of 2 teaspoons per 200 ml of warm water. Feet should be kept in the liquid for at least 15 minutes. Then you have to massage the skin around the nails. After that, you can apply olive or other unrefined vegetable oil.


This word refers to the thin film that lies on the nail in the crescent area. It is the bottom layer of the cuticle. It performs physiological protective functions and is not a pathology.

It has different lengths and thicknesses for different people. When performing a professional manicure, the pterygium begins to cause problems. It especially interferes with coatings that harden under an ultraviolet lamp.

If a woman decides to remove it, it must be done correctly so that it does notto injure the cuticle and avoid introducing dirt into the sensitive layers of the epidermis:

  • soften the pterygium in water;
  • carefully remove the excess with an apricot stick;
  • treat the area with an antiseptic - chlorhexidine or miramistin.

To ensure that the pterygium always remains soft and easy to remove, every night before going to bed you need to treat the nail plate and cuticle with a special oil from pharmacies and cosmetic stores.

Untreated nail diseases can cause serious consequences. Complications include suppuration, abscess, panaritium and malignant formations on the legs. For any change in the appearance of the nails, you should consult a dermatologist.

General treatment regimen

Successful therapy requires several months of complex treatment. These include topical and systemic medications, diet and immune system enhancement. The treatment of fungal diseases of the toenails is carried out by the following methods:

  • systemic antifungal drugs;
  • a course of physiotherapy that improves blood flow in the feet and hands;
  • the affected areas are treated with local anti-infective agents (antifungal varnishes, ointments, gels), and the surrounding skin is covered for prevention;
  • removal of affected tissues conservatively or surgically if severe thickening or complete damage is confirmed;
  • the use of drugs that improve blood flow to the hands and peripheral tissues of the legs.

Taking systemic antimycotics

For reliable and effective treatment of fungal diseases, it is necessary to use systemic antifungal drugs. Their action is aimed at destroying pathogens. Fungal spores can remain in the growth zone for a long time during the incubation period, while they remain viable, so it is very important to ensure their destruction.

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As the plaque grows, the spores rise and enter the active phase, continuing to cause the pathological process. For this reason, long-term treatment with systemic antifungal drugs is carried out in order for the healthy, new nail plate to grow completely. This will indicate that the germ zone has been cleared of spores.

Local treatment

This is another component of complex treatment, which is carried out while taking systemic drugs and does not replace it. Local therapy alone will not help to achieve a complete recovery, so there is no way to avoid the need to take antifungal drugs in the form of tablets, solutions or capsules. This is due to the ability of spores to remain viable for a long time in destroyed tissues. Topical medications cannot penetrate these areas.

Treatment of onychomycosis with this method aims to treat the nail bed or nail with products that come in the form of lotions, varnishes, creams, ointments or sprays. Recommended at this stage.

Removal of the nail plate

There are two options for this procedure - conservative and surgical. The first method is carried out using keratolytic patches that can soften the tissue. After using these products, it is possible to painlessly and easily remove the affected area with a mild scalpel or ordinary scissors. Patch options are currently used for conservative removal.

Such products can be purchased at a pharmacy or ordered from the prescription department. Before using an anti-fungal preparation, apply a simple adhesive patch to the healthy areas of the skin next to the affected areas to protect yourself from the effects of the keratolytic. Then apply a layer of 2 mm of the mixture and fix it with a simple mortar for 2-3 days. Then peel it, remove the rest of the product and scrape off the softened tissue with a scalpel. The procedure is repeated until the entire surface of the nail is removed and only the bare bed remains.

The surgical method is considered more effective than the conservative one, because it not only removes the affected areas, but also allows the bed to be cleaned of keratinized scales, where fungal spores can continue to live and cause a recurrence of the disease. Clinical studies confirm that the effectiveness of treatment is significantly higher with surgical removal, and the procedure is performed as follows:

  1. Apply a tourniquet to the base of the finger.
  2. Treat the surface with an antiseptic (any kind).
  3. A local anesthetic is injected into the lateral surfaces of the finger.
  4. Tweezers are inserted under the free edge from the left or right corner.
  5. Move the instrument to the base.
  6. The plate is separated with a rotating movement.
  7. The bed was cleaned of accumulations of horny plates.
  8. The nail bed is irrigated with a powdered sorbent with an antibiotic.
  9. A sterile bandage is placed on top.

Shoe processing

The question of disinfection of shoes during the treatment of onychomycosis is very important, because they contain fungal pathogens, which will cause a recurrence of the disease in the future. To eliminate them, you must use a chemical disinfectant. This cleaning procedure should be carried out at least once a week. Disinfection can be carried out using the following compositions:

  • Formalin solution 25%.
  • Chlorhexidine bigluconate solution 1%.
  • Acetic acid 40% etc.

As a preventive measure, you should regularly use special devices designed for drying shoes at home. Fungi thrive in moist environments, so you should not leave your shoes wet.

To eliminate the disease, you must strictly follow all the instructions of the doctor. Medicines must be used exactly as directed. Home remedies can help speed up the onychomycosis treatment process, but only if used as an adjunctive solution in combination with traditional drug treatment.

Possible complications

Pessimists who do not believe that onychomycosis is curable should remember that, fortunately, they are mistaken. However, if the disease is ignored or self-medicated without being sure of the correct diagnosis, problems can arise.

Possible complications include:

  • the appearance of mycotic eczema with a large area affected by fungi;
  • burns caused by improper use of keratolytic plaster;
  • dysfunction of the liver and gastrointestinal organs, caused by the accumulation of toxins in the body;
  • the development of an allergic reaction, which also occurs due to the fact that the body is "overloaded" with substances harmful to it;
  • psychological problems caused by the fact that a person cannot live an ordinary life - for example, without hesitation visit the bathhouse, go to the beach.

Information on manifestations and treatment, classification and photos of symptoms of Coxsackie virus in children can be found in this material.

Causes and symptoms, treatment methods and photos of carbuncles - all this is in the next article.

Laser treatment

This is an additional physiotherapeutic technique aimed at improving blood circulation. The procedure is carried out as part of complex therapy with the use of antifungal drugs. Using the laser alone will not help cure the disease, as it only improves the blood flow in the tissues. This is essential for efficient delivery of the antifungal agent to hard-to-reach cells. If you do not take systemic drugs, laser therapy will not bring any therapeutic results.

Disinfection and personal hygiene

Noticing that the nail has changed color and suspecting the initial form of the fungus, comparing the symptoms with the photo, it is necessary to approach complex treatment. To effectively get rid of fungus, you need:

  • thoroughly disinfect socks and shoes every day;
  • cook bed linen and towels;
  • Clean the bathtub thoroughly after bathing.

All clothing items that came into contact with affected nails during the day must be boiled in a soapy solution in the evening. It is better to use laundry soap. Shoes should be wiped daily with an antiseptic or a special antifungal solution.

Nail onychomycosis disease is often observed in the same family due to constant contact with the causative agent of the fungal infection, as well as due to general hygiene products. If a person scratches the affected areas and then touches household objects with his hands, then the spores of the fungus and the pathogen spread to the objects at this time and the risk of infection increases.