Toenail fungus - treatment and prevention

manicured nails without fungus

The sun, the sea, the wonderful beach. . . You are well rested in summer and your skin is covered in a wonderful tan. But what are these uncomfortable cracks on the leg between the toes and why did the nail turn yellow? Take a closer look. Maybe that's not just a cosmetic defect?

The first signs of a fungus

A parasitic fungus that has settled on the skin can poison anyone's life. And especially much anger and sadness is caused by the fungus that has settled on the skin of the foot and on the nails. Women who have become victims of such a fungus are mainly concerned with the outside of the problem - cracked, flaky skin, yellow, crumbling nails - but according to doctors, the aesthetic problem is far from the main problem.

This is a serious illness that needs long-term treatment. The disease first appears on the skin of the feet, more often in the interdigital folds. A peeling appears between the fingers, which is accompanied by burning and itching. Then bubbles appear, which burst, forming ulcers and cracks. If you don't start treatment right away, the fungus will spread to your nails. Once in the nail plate, it continues to grow and multiply. Despite its slowness, the fungus gradually peel off the nail, gradually filling it and penetrating the nail bed. Over time, the affected area catches the nails not only on the feet, but also on the hands. There is even a defeat of the internal organs, fortunately, quite rare.

ManifestationsToenail fungusdepend on the type of infection, as well as the degree and depth of the fungus. Dermatophytes that have moved onto the nail plate are usually explained by yellow spots or longitudinal stripes on the sides of the toenail. In some cases, the disease can be guessed by the appearance of light yellow streaks or spots in the center of the nail plate. On the hands, the nails are also "decorated" with similar stripes, but lighter - whitish or gray.

Yeast fungi thin the nail plate from the sides while it lags behind the nail bed and takes on a yellowish color. Often times, the disease begins with the nail folds, usually on the hands. The rollers thicken, swell and turn red, silvery scales appear on the edge, the cuticle gradually disappears. A bacterial infection can join the process. In this case, suppuration is even possible. The nourishment of the tissue in the area of the roller is disturbed, creating transverse grooves. . . . . . .

Mold can cause onychomycosis only against the background of a pre-existing nutritional disorder of the nails, which has arisen due to other diseases. In this case, the color of the nail plate will also change. It can be yellow, green, blue, brown, and even black, but the nail lesion remains superficial. However, you shouldn't self-diagnose, especially since nail damage can be caused by multiple fungi at the same time. In addition, fungus is a common, but not the only, cause of serious nail problems.

Consult a doctor immediately!

If you notice signs of a fungus, don't hope it will all go away on its own. The longer the fungus lives on your nails, the more difficult it is to treat and the worse it is for the whole body. Prolonged onychomycosis can provoke an allergic reaction, weaken the immune system, and exacerbate chronic diseases. Therefore, at the first suspicion, it is most correct to consult a mycologist or dermatologist. The doctor not only conducts an examination, assesses the thickness and structure of the nail, but also performs tissue scratches for analysis. Only in this way can he determine the presence of the fungus and its type, and prescribe appropriate treatment.

At the same time, the doctor will take into account the prevalence of the process, the shape of the lesion, the presence of concomitant diseases, the speed of nail growth, etc. In our time there are highly effective drugs of general and local action for treatment. In the first forms of the disease, when the area of the nail lesion is insignificant, you can limit yourself to local treatment - applying an antifungal (antifungal) agent with a wide spectrum of action to the nail bed twice a day in the form of an ointment, cream or solution.

Before applying the drug, special preparation of the nails is carried out. First a soap and soda bath: the basin is half filled with hot water (40-50 ° C) in which 1 tablespoon is dissolved. l. Soda and 50 g laundry soap. Feet or fingers in need of treatment are immersed in the solution for 10-15 minutes. Then the softened horny layers on the nails are treated with nail clippers and filed with a file. Duration of treatment - until healthy, unchanged nails grow back.

Important! Do not use the same manicure accessories on sick and healthy nails.

Topical drugs include clotrimazole-based drugs. They are applied to the affected nails with a dispenser and left under a waterproof plaster for a day. A day after the soap-soda bath, the affected areas of the nail are removed with a file. The process is repeated until the affected areas of the plate are completely removed, and then the drug is rubbed into the bed of nails. Duration of treatment as with other drugs until healthy nails grow back.

With the first forms of lesions, special antifungal drugs for local treatment can be used, which are applied to the nails 1-2 times a week. Treatment lasts around 6-8 months for fingernails and around a year for toenails. Manicure can also be applied on top of the antifungal agent.

When local treatment no longer helps, or the nail plates are completely affected by the fungus, general antifungal drugs are prescribed (they are also called systemic). Such drugs are taken orally. They can be used in combination with antifungal drugs. However, it is very important to make sure that you do not have any contraindications to general antifungal drugs. For example kidney and liver diseases. Systemic drugs are often contraindicated in children. In addition, they have serious limitations when used at the same time as some other drugs. For example, some of them are incompatible with hormonal contraceptives. If you are breastfeeding your baby, you will have to wait a bit while taking these medications.

Pregnancy also means a ban on systemic antifungal drugs. Therefore, women of childbearing potential who are receiving them must use contraception throughout the course of treatment. In some cases, you will need to remove the nail plate and then treat it. After that, a new nail will grow, although its surface may be uneven at first. Regardless of what treatment the doctor prescribes, turn into a disinfectant for a while. The doctor will write a prescription, according to which the necessary solution will be prepared for you in the pharmacy.

Before starting the course, they must process all available shoes, socks, gloves, etc. , and then process clothing and shoes that had to be worn during the course once a month until healthy nails grow back. This is not difficult: the inner surface of the shoe is wiped with a cotton swab dipped in a solution, the same swab is placed in gloves, socks, stockings, etc. All of this is hidden in a tight plastic bag overnight, then dried well and ventilated for 2-3 days.

As a result of prolonged treatment, the external manifestations of the disease disappeared, and eventually healthy nails grow. But that's not all, now the control tests come at the end of treatment after 2 weeks and after 2 months. The mushroom is gone? So everything is fine, the only question is how not to get sick again.

Risk group

In medical practice, a fungal infection of the nails is referred to by the term onychomycosis, where "onycho" means a nail and "mycosis" is a fungal infection. The disease is not as rare as it seems. Onychomycosis is widespread in all countries in the world, and its share in all nail diseases reaches 40%. The main causes of the disease are dermatophyte fungi (fungal parasites of the skin, hair and nails). But there are other causes of misfortune - various yeasts and molds. Both men and women become victims of onychomycosis with equal success.

The risk of illness increases with age. For example, after 70 years, every second person suffers from onychomycosis. Fortunately, children are much less likely to suffer from onychomycosis, as tissue regeneration, in which old ones are replaced with new ones, occurs very quickly. Even a baby's nails grow much faster than an adult's, while the fungus, on the contrary, develops rather slowly. And yet it is impossible to completely exclude a child from the risk group. Children are usually infected by their parents and, strangely enough, through shoes: if the baby flutters around the apartment in mother's shoes, it runs the risk of catching the mother's fungus. An intact, healthy nail is practically invulnerable to fungal infections, but altered nails, for example as a result of injuries, become easy prey for the fungus.

The condition of the entire organism plays an important role. The risk of disease increases if the vascular tone of the legs is disturbed, for example by heart failure or varicose veins. The same applies to disorders in the endocrine system. Diabetes mellitus is a good reason to carefully monitor the condition of your nails, since it is in such cases that the defeat of the fungus can be especially serious.

Flat feet and shoes that are too tight contribute to skin and nail injuries. Stockings and socks made of synthetic fibers, poor ventilation of the shoes result in a too humid microclimate on the skin of the feet. Frequent hand contact with household detergents and cleaning products will damage your nails. All this increases the risk of the disease, but sometimes the danger lies in the care of your appearance: false nails can create favorable conditions for the development of onychomycosis on the hands.


To avoid problems you need to be careful. Visiting the pool, bathhouse, gym, and even a sun-kissed beach can cause problems. The causative agents of onychomycosis are remarkably resistant to external factors. The spores of the fungus can withstand drying out, heating to 100 ° C and freezing to minus 60 ° C. They can survive the "onslaught" of disinfectants normally used in public places, which are a constant threat to our health. In the beach sand, mushrooms remain viable for months. And where else can you run barefoot if not on the beach?! Exactly that is unnecessary - there are slippers for visiting beaches and swimming pools. The most common (up to 65% of cases) infection occurs in the family. Finally, you can become infected through direct contact with a sick person, through the shoes and clothes they wear, as well as household items, whether it is a bathroom carpet, an ordinary towel, nail scissors, etc. Flakes infected with fungus. They stick easily to wet feet. Therefore, if any of the family members have this harmful "treasure", you need to be extra vigilant.

The bathtub must be thoroughly disinfected with a cleaning agent and rinsed with a hot water jet, as there may be loosened nail bits or flakes of skin on the surface.

A washcloth or sponge should be processed regularly in a 5% chloramine solution (soak for at least an hour). Used laundry should be boiled with washing powder for 20-30 minutes or kept in a 5% chloramine solution for an hour, as it is sold in pharmacies without a prescription.

Abrasions and abrasions associated with sweating or, conversely, with dry skin, make the infection task much easier. To cope with excessive sweating and diaper rash on the feet, powder will helpBoric acid and talc. . .

It is useful to treat the legs with drying solutions.

To avoid excessive dryness of the skin, you can use a special ointment, creams containing vitamins and similar products. Use creams to avoid corns.

Compliance with simple rules will protect you from illness:

  1. walking on the beach in slippers only;
  2. When visiting a bathhouse, sauna or swimming pool, use closed rubber slippers to protect against splashes.
  3. After washing, wipe your feet dry, especially the interdigital folds, and treat them with a prophylactic antifungal cream or special powder.
  4. Don't wear someone else's shoes.
  5. Change socks and stockings daily.