Symptoms and treatment of toenail fungus

Toenail fungus is a widespread infection caused by infection with opportunistic and pathogenic fungi with dermatophytes. About 20% of the adult population suffers from nail fungus and is virtually undetectable in children.

healthy nails after fungal treatment

Reasons for infection

Fungi are widespread in the environment, but damage to nails and human skin occurs only under favorable conditions. With age the acidic pH of the skin can change to alkaline, which is conducive to the growth of fungi. Infection most often occurs through contact, if the norms of personal hygiene are not respected, the source of infection can be a sick person or objects of common use. The infection can occur in public places: swimming pools, saunas, gyms. And in everyday life with the general use of slippers, socks, manicure accessories, towels and laundry cloth.

Predisposing factors for onychomycosis infection are:

  • reduced immunity;
  • poor circulation in the feet, including wearing tight shoes;
  • excessive sweating;
  • diabetes;
  • obesity;
  • mechanical nail injuries;
  • deformities and anatomical characteristics of the foot.

Signs of toenail fungus

photo of toenail fungus

Nail fungus is a very persistent infection, the initial stage of the disease is pronounced:

  • discoloration of the nail plate, loss of shine;
  • increased fragility;
  • itching and irritation of the skin around the affected nail;
  • pain at the site of the lesion, especially when wearing tight shoes;
  • separating part of the nail from the nail bed.

With the progression and inclusion of the entire nail plate in the process, new symptoms appear: the nail significantly thickens and deforms.

Depending on the degree of nail damage, there are three types of onychomycosis:

  1. Normotrophic - manifested by distortion of nail color from white to dark green. The color initially changes in spots or streaks and gradually covers the entire surface of the nail, while the thickness of the nail plate does not change and the shine remains.
  2. Hypertrophic - it is expressed by discoloration, loss of shine and strong thickening and deformation of the nail. The nail is strongly peeled and partially destroyed;
  3. Atrophic - is reflected by discoloration, thinning and subsequent rejection of the affected area.

Which doctor treats the fungus?

You can diagnose the infection yourself, but only a doctor can confirm the diagnosis. If you notice a change in nail color, increased brittleness, consult a dermatologist. The doctor prescribes a diagnostic microscopic or cultural study to confirm the diagnosis. Part of the affected nail is taken for analysis or nearby tissues are scraped. Timely detection of nail fungus greatly facilitates treatment and prevents the development of complications. Initiated onychomycosis is dangerous, because it can cause mycotic eczema, aspergillosis, reduced immunity, infection of all nails, skin and other organs.

Treatment of nail fungus

nail fungus treatment

How to treat onychomycosis is determined by the doctor depending on the degree of change in the nail plate, the clinical form, the degree of hyperkeratosis and the length of the affected area. Topical agents (ointments, drops, sprays, varnishes) and general drugs (antifungals) are used for treatment.

As a rule, with minor changes in the nail, medications are used for local treatment. Before treatment with antifungal solutions, ointments, varnishes, the affected area of the nail should be removed surgically or with the help of keratolytic drugs. This is necessary for better penetration of the antifungal drug deep into the damaged tissues, which allows you to get rid of the fungus much faster.

Keratolytic drugs contribute to the softening of the nail and its easy and painless removal, produced in the form of patches, which include urea or salicylic acid:

  • ureaplast;
  • urea plaster with kinosol;
  • quinosol-salicylic patch;
  • onychoplast;
  • quinosol dimexide patch;
  • mycospores (combined preparation).

Before gluing the plaster, it is necessary to scrape the top layer of the nail, then apply the therapeutic mass and stick it with an adhesive plaster, change the bandage every 1-2 days. Before the change, scissors are used to remove the affected areas of the nail and apply antifungal agents.

Antifungal creams, ointments and drops are:

  • ketoconazole-based;
  • clotrimazole derivatives;
  • micanazole-based;
  • oxycanazole derivatives;
  • terbinafine-based;
  • chloronitrophenol derivatives;
  • naftifine based.

It is desirable to apply ointments, creams and drops on the open nail bed 2-3 times a day, until the final restoration of the nail. These drugs are active against the vast majority of pathogens, but are unable to penetrate the entire depth of the nail plate.

Local antiseptics - iodine solution, paint, kinosol, organic acids are often used in the treatment of nail fungus, if it is impossible to use other means. The main advantage, antiseptic is cheap and widely available. Local antiseptics, such as iodine, treat the affected nail up to three times a day, for one month. When applying the solution, it is recommended not to touch the surrounding skin to avoid burns. The tingling and tingling sensation helps to recognize the onset of exposure.

If local treatment is ineffective, antifungal tablets prescribed by a specialist are additionally prescribed.

Properly selected combination therapy helps in the fastest cure of advanced onychomycosis. Also, combined treatment with local and general therapy is prescribed for more than three affected nails, for people older than 50 and with slow nail growth. The use of combination therapy can significantly reduce the duration of treatment.

Treatment of fungi by folk remedies

foot bath against nail fungus

For the preparation of antifungal agents at home you can use - apple cider vinegar and herbal preparations:

  • mix in equal parts vegetable oil and apple cider vinegar, moisten a cotton pad in the resulting solution and apply on the affected nail for 4 hours, for convenience you can fix the bandage with adhesive plaster. The procedure is performed daily for a month;
  • to treat the neglected process helps a mixture of 9% vinegar with celandine, the resulting composition should be infused for a month. Then add 50 g of salt. The resulting product is used for bathing the feet for 5-10 minutes before bedtime. It is important not to wipe your feet after bathing, but to leave them to dry on their own;
  • for the treatment of the affected nail you can use an alcoholic solution of propolis, onion juice or puree, garlic. A mixture of lavender and tea tree oil also works well;
  • herbal decoction for foot baths: mix in equal proportions oak bark, calendula, horsetail, verbena. Pour 50 g of the resulting mixture with boiling water and keep in a water bath for about 15 minutes.


Fungal nail damage can be easily avoided with good personal hygiene:

  1. It is necessary to wash your feet daily with antiseptics.
  2. Dry your feet with a personal towel.
  3. Use float to remove old skin, which is a good medium for fungal growth.
  4. Use medications that reduce foot sweating.
  5. Change socks, stockings and tights daily.
  6. Wear loose, comfortable shoes. Do not wear wet shoes.
  7. Wear shoes when visiting swimming pools and showers.
  8. Do not use other people's shoes, slippers, socks, towels, manicure accessories.
  9. Use pharmacological protection products before going to beaches, swimming pools, saunas.