In the minds of many, mushroom sufferers are often associated with clutter, sloppiness, and filth. This stereotype is not entirely true. In the modern world, even the most meticulous cleanliness is not immune to fungal infection. In addition, a person who leads an active and healthy lifestyle is more at risk than a classic couch potato. If the skin between your toes is turning red, peeling and cracking, your nails turn yellow and crumbling, and the excruciating itching doesn't go away for a minute, you probably have a fungus.
Routes of infection
Medical statistics say that every 4-5. Human being on our planet suffers from mycosis of the toes. The risk of infection is everywhere: in the swimming pool, in the sauna, in the gym, in the public shower, in the shoe shop, on the beach and even your own shoes often become an excellent environment for the life and active reproduction of the fungus.
Walking barefoot, wearing someone else's or wet shoes, sharing personal hygiene items (towels, manicure and pedicure utensils), dirty socks, excessive sweating, degenerative foot diseases, obesity, circulatory disorders - these and other factors directly or indirectly lead to infection with fungal infections.
Healthy nails are practically invulnerable to fungi, while nail plates that have been altered under the influence of a traumatic factor are easy prey for them. The same thing happens with the skin - microscopic cracks become a gateway for infection.
Most often, the infection is caused by fungal parasites called dermatophytes, and less often by yeasts and molds. Toe fungus in men and women are equally affected. The risk of infection increases with age. Children are relatively rare victims of this parasite, while every second adult is its active carrier after 70 years.
The first manifestations of toe fungus
In most cases, the lesion of the feet with a fungal infection gradually appears according to the following pattern:
- the first signs in the form of flaking, burning and itching are observed between the toes;
- the skin reacts to the infection with blistering, after a while they crack;
- cracks and grooves appear in place of the bubbles; Itching increases;
- getting on the nails, the fungus actively reproduces, gradually penetrating the nail plate and destroying it slowly and for a long time;
- the plate thickens, peels off, crumbles, takes on an unnatural yellow color.
Dermatophytic fungi appear as light yellow spots or streaks closer to the edges of the nails. Over time, the infection migrates to its central part, the skin in the interdigital area tears and severe itching is felt. Yeast fungi feed on the nail plate and thin it from the sides. As a result, waves, furrows, cracks appear, the nail turns yellow and detaches from its bed. First of all, yeast attacks the nail folds. They become red, thicken and swell, and silvery scales appear on the edges. It is possible to attach a secondary bacterial infection with subsequent suppuration. Molds have a superficial effect on the nails, changing their hue from yellow and green to brown and even black. These fungi are particularly active in conditions of impaired nutrition of the nail plates.
Why can't you hesitate to see a doctor?
Treatment should be started as early as possible. It is good if this happens before the infection, which is usually localized first between the toes, spreads to the nail plate. Early medical treatment ensures faster healing and healthier nails.
A mycologist deals with the treatment of various fungal skin lesions (mycoses). Doctors of this profile are difficult to find in government clinics. If this is not the case, you can consult a dermatologist. The task of a specialist is to assess the degree and depth of the lesion, conduct a tissue scraping to determine the presence and type of fungus, and draw up a competent regimen of therapy.
Before starting treatment, it is necessary to carry out disinfection measures, which include treating all shoes with vinegar or formalin solution. The bad smell of these products makes them uncomfortable to use. To solve the problem, you can buy a special device at the pharmacy that disinfects shoes with ultraviolet rays.
Traditional treatment for toe fungus
Toe fungus can be treated with topical, systemic, or combination therapy.
Each treatment involves the use of antifungal drugs (antifungal drugs):
- Local treatment (ointments, creams, sprays). External antifungals and other drugs with the active ingredient clotrimazole, naftifine hydrochloride, ketoconazole, terbinafine hydrochloride or bifonazole. In the case of minor damage to the nail plate, it is recommended to use antifungal varnishes. Varnishes are applied all year round, gradually reducing the frequency of application (from 4 to 1 time a week). Local remedies are effective for relieving itching and burning, reducing dandruff, cracked skin between the toes, but they cannot completely cure the disease.
- Systemic therapy: general antifungal drugs. Such treatment is appropriate with complete damage to the nail plate. However, there are certain contraindications to systemic antifungal drugs: they should not be used by pregnant and lactating women, people with kidney and liver diseases, and young children.
- Comprehensive treatment. Includes local and systemic therapy.
Often, patients complain of the lack of effectiveness of traditional therapy and resort to treatment with folk remedies. Against the background of such ailments, the opinion was formed that athlete's foot is an incurable disease, the symptomatic manifestations of which (itching, peeling, cracks) can only be temporarily eliminated. Why is patient dissatisfaction observed? Everything is very simple. In fact, it is difficult to completely cure a fungus, but it is possible. The main thing is to adhere to the principles of regularity and duration. It is very important to do all therapeutic activities every day and not to interrupt what you started halfway. You need to be ready for long-term treatment (usually 3-12 months) that will make sense until new healthy nails grow back. In advanced cases, it is necessary to remove the affected nail plates and only then wait for new ones to appear.
Treatment of toe fungus with folk remedies
Traditional medical prescriptions are very effective in eliminating or reducing the severity of such manifestations of the fungus as itching, burning, cracking, peeling, and redness of the skin between the toes. Some patients claim that they could cure the disease solely with folk remedies.
So, to deal with the fungus:
- Soak your feet in apple cider vinegar, wine vinegar, or table vinegar.
- apply 1 drop of iodine to each nail twice a day;
- wipe your skin and nails with salicylic ointment;
- wash your feet with detergent;
- Make garlic butter compresses;
- lubricate the affected skin with a mixture of garlic juice, alcohol (1 tablespoon each) and water (2 tablespoons);
- Treat the affected areas with alcohol tincture made from propolis.
Garlic and propolis are particularly effective in fighting fungi, according to reviews. It is important to understand that the duration of treatment with folk remedies has its limits. If the skin cracks within 3 months and does not look the same, it makes sense to seek help from conventional medicine.
Despite the good effectiveness of treatment with folk remedies and the success of modern medicines in the invention of new effective drugs, mycosis of the feet remains the most common fungal disease today. Nevertheless, it is gratifying that in the last 20-30 years the number of successfully cured patients has decreased from year to year.