Toenail fungus: detect and treat correctly

Fungal diseases are the most common diseases on earth. We suggest considering how to treat toenail fungus, what professional preparations (tablets, ointments, creams, varnishes, 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 the disease. Despite the fact that the disease must be treated at home, this infection is very difficult to influence from the outside, and the infection is often accompanied by relapses and inflammation.

Nail fungus - what is it?

In medical terms, nail fungus is called onychomycosis. The nail plate becomes infected when it comes into contact with the spores, then the rapid growth of the fungal body begins, affecting the nail deeply and widely.

This pathological condition is most often observed in the elderly. The occurrence of this disease is influenced by the following factors:

  • excess weight;
  • diseases of the digestive system;
  • immune system weakness;
  • 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

Nail plate diseases can be divided into three types:

  • fungi;
  • not fungi;
  • other diseases.

Non-fungal diseases

The following are causes of diseases that are not associated with fungal infections:

  • illiterate nail plate care;
  • injury;
  • unbalanced diet;
  • the 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 disease

Fungal problems occur due to infection by various types of fungi. This pathogen is very dangerous because of its rapid and easy spread. This disease must be treated. Fungus most often affects the nail plate of the bottom of the feet, because the feet are the most suitable environment for the reproduction of pathogenic bacteria.

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

  • increased sweating of the feet;
  • poor quality shoes: clogged and airtight, not durable;
  • the use of clothing made of synthetic materials;
  • neglect of personal hygiene;
  • visiting public places without individual shoes, for example baths, swimming pools, saunas, public showers.

To recognize the onset of this disease, you need to know what a healthy nail plate looks like:

  • flesh color pink;
  • the surface is smooth, without roughness;
  • have a homogeneous structure, no compaction or thinning;
  • The nail is intact at the tip and does not separate.

If your nails do not adhere to at least one point, then you need to visit a doctor for a consultation.

Fungal form

Symptoms of the disease depend on the form of the fungus:

  • Atrophic. A gray color appears on the nail, and the plate becomes pale and dull. The nail begins to atrophy from the outer tip.
  • Hypertrophic. As a result of the active growth of skin scales, the nail plate thickens more than 2 millimeters. Deformation of the nail depends on the severity of the pathology. Shade – gray or dark yellow. One of the signs of such a fungus is considered to be similar to a bird's claw.
  • Normotropic. The color of nails with this type of fungus changes, but the shine and thickness remain the same. In the first stage, spots from white to yellow appear. If the disease is not treated, the size becomes larger. In this case, the plate does not stick to the nail bed.
  • proximal. This fungus spreads to skin folds. Possible pain in the cuticle area.
  • Amount. This infection develops if treatment for other types of fungus is neglected. Accompanied by loss of color and luster, collapse and fragility. The result is the complete destruction of the nail plate.
  • Shallow white fungus. Characterized by the formation of white spots and stripes that spread throughout the nail.
  • Distal. Lesions are accompanied by dullness, loss of color and changes in the thickness of the nail plate. After the affected area dies, the nail becomes deformed and collapses.
  • side. There is swelling on the skin ridge, redness and thickening. Characterized by pain in the area near the nail. When a bacterial infection attaches, the purulent process begins.

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

Practical advice

Prevention of toe and toe fungus is a very important task. Immediately after getting rid of bad luck, you will find yourself in a high-risk zone, because. . . The body will be very vulnerable to this type of infection for a long time.

  1. Drug treatment is not always fruitful, antibiotics kill the immune system, the body becomes more susceptible to fungi and spores, try to minimize the use of such drugs;
  2. Any burns and frostbite require immediate treatment, otherwise the bacteria will decrease quickly;
  3. Effective treatment is only half the battle, as you need to thoroughly disinfect all surfaces you come in contact with: bedding, floors, clothes, shoes, etc. ;
  4. Traditional treatment is good, but it does not guarantee that there will be no recurrence. It is advisable to visit a doctor before starting this fight, who will carry out an analysis and tell you exactly what form of fungus you have and how to fight it;
  5. Do not treat yourself with medicines;
  6. Do not try to disguise damaged nails with colored varnish - this will damage them more and slow down regrowth;
  7. Doctors advise to regularly make a foot bath with mint and chamomile, this will significantly reduce the possibility of catching an infection;
  8. A person who has suffered from a fungal disease cannot be a blood donor;
  9. This fungus is highly contagious, so also consult your loved ones and take them to see a doctor.

Typical clinical picture

Clinical manifestations of fungal nail infection include:

  • burning sensation and itching on the skin near the affected area;
  • nail fragility;
  • swelling of the affected area;
  • active detachment of plates;
  • color change (black, yellow, gray, green, brown color indicates a pathological process);
  • painful sensation in the place where the fungus is localized;
  • nail deformity.

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

Places at risk of infection

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

  • sauna;
  • shower cabin;
  • shower;
  • Gym;
  • solarium;
  • public changing rooms;
  • beach;
  • pool.

You can catch nail fungus by trying on other people's shoes. In addition, infection can occur in beauty salons during pedicure procedures if non-sterile instruments are used or the master has fungus on his hands and performs manipulations without gloves.

Alternative remedies to combat nail fungus

There are a large number of alternative methods to combat fungal infections. In folk medicine, popular and effective procedures that help get rid of fungus are:

  • compress;
  • Foot bath;
  • lotion;
  • use ointments from herbal products.

Alternative antifungal therapies that are effective are:

  1. Garlic ointment. To prepare it, butter is mixed with grated garlic. Apply for several hours on the affected nail.
  2. Bathe with sea salt. Make a warm solution and keep your feet in it for thirty minutes. After the procedure, it is recommended to use olive oil on your nails.
  3. Foot bath with a decoction of calendula, celandine, horsetail or milkweed.
  4. Compress mint and salt. A spoonful of salt is mixed with crushed plants 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. Lubricate the diseased nail plate with celandine juice.
  7. Egg-honey mixture. Honey, birch tar and sulfur are added to egg whites. Mix thoroughly and apply on nails.
  8. Ammonia compression. A spoonful of ammonia is dissolved in a glass of water. The material intended for the procedure is soaked in liquid.
  9. Apricot resin. Alcoholic tinctures are prepared from tree resin using ingredients in equal parts. Using this medicine, make a compress.
  10. Coffee bath. They made strong coffee and poured it into the basin. It is recommended to soak your feet in this product for twenty minutes.
  11. Compressed tar. For this procedure, take birch tar.
  12. Bath based on Listerine, apple cider vinegar and lemon juice.
  13. Compress hydrogen peroxide. Before using it, it is recommended to make a soda foot bath.
  14. Apply the onion pulp on the painful nail.

An effective folk remedy for fungal infections is a remedy made from baking soda and apple cider vinegar. To prepare it you need the following ingredients:

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

A foot bath is made with this medicine. The peculiarity of this procedure is that the feet are first placed in a vinegar solution for twenty minutes. Then after a while they shower with soda. It is recommended to do the procedure several times a day.

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

It is recommended to apply this product to the affected area at night. Herbalists advise putting crushed medicinal herbs in your socks for toenail fungus:

  • mint;
  • chamomile;
  • nettle;
  • smart

Early signs of the disease can be overcome by soaking your feet in a solution of laundry soap. It is important to remember that alternative medicine can only be used on well-washed feet. The dead layer must be removed each time using a nail file or scissors.

Other diseases

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


Often, hypertrophy is inherited.

This disease is accompanied by the following symptoms:

  • thickened nails;
  • extending up to several centimeters;
  • very long legs begin to bend downwards, resembling bird claws;
  • nail color changes from yellow to dirty yellow;
  • rarely, in this condition, the nail grows into the skin located on the side;
  • If the ingrowth is not treated, the inflammatory process begins.

To combat this disease, vitamins and physical therapy are prescribed.If there is inflammation, rinse with peroxide and chlorhexidine.

Traditional medicine suggests using massage with olive oil. In the case of significant deformities, which greatly damage a person's appearance, they use cosmetic correction.


Toenail disease, in which the nail is subject to atrophy, is often congenital.

Already in a newborn baby you can see symptoms:

  • deformation of the nail plate on one or several fingers, its size is smaller, brittle, its shape is distorted;
  • nail color is whitish, cloudy;
  • the surface has weaknesses: roughness, microcracks;
  • absence of nails on one or several fingers;
  • the presence of a membrane between the fingers;
  • deformation of fingers;
  • the rate of hair growth is low, and they also grow sparsely.

Such congenital pathology is difficult to treat. It is recommended to take vitamins, eat foods rich in collagen, and have a balanced diet. Patients should take care of their nails and avoid injury and contact with aggressive substances.

Peeling nails

The most common problem people face.

Here are the reasons for its appearance:

  • improper manicure, use of low-quality decorative cosmetics;
  • This problem is faced by half of the women who regularly do the shellac procedure;
  • vitamin deficiency;
  • endocrine disorders, in particular decreased thyroid function;
  • chronic diseases that debilitate the body;
  • synthetic clothes and the wrong shoes.

This problem can be eliminated using a set of steps:

  • Cosmeticsspecial nail creams and oils.
  • Paraffin therapyyou need to buy paraffin and melt it until it melts, but not hot. Feet must first be washed and dried thoroughly. Dip your finger in the paraffin, then let it harden, then lower it again. The massage must be repeated several times until there are 3 to 5 layers of paraffin on the nails. Next, 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 massaging with sea salt. It should be dissolved in the proportion of 2 teaspoons per 200 ml of warm water. The feet should be kept in the liquid for at least 15 minutes. Then you need to massage the skin around the nail. After that, you can use 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. Perform physiological and non-pathological protective functions.

It has different lengths and thicknesses for different people. When doing a professional manicure, pterygium begins to cause problems. It mainly interferes with coatings that harden under ultraviolet light.

If a woman decides to remove it, it must be done correctly so that it does notinjure the cuticle and avoid introducing dirt into the delicate layer of the epidermis:

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

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

Untreated nail disease can cause serious consequences. Complications include suppuration, abscesses, panaritium, and malignant formations on the feet. For any changes in the appearance of your nails, you should consult a dermatologist.

General treatment regimen

Successful therapy requires several months of complex treatment. These include drugs for local and systemic use, diet, and strengthening the immune system. The treatment of fungal diseases on toenails is carried out using the following methods:

  • systemic antifungal drugs;
  • physiotherapy courses that increase blood flow in the legs and arms;
  • the affected area is treated with a local anti-infective agent (antifungal varnish, ointment, gel), and the surrounding skin is protected for prevention;
  • conservative or surgical removal of affected tissue if severe thickening or total damage is confirmed;
  • the use of drugs that increase blood flow to the peripheral tissues of the hands and feet.

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 incubation period in the growth zone for a long time, while they remain viable, so it is very important to ensure their destruction.

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When the plate grows, the spores increase and enter the active phase, further causing the pathological process. For this reason, treatment with systemic antifungal drugs is carried out for a long time so that the new healthy nail plate can fully develop. This will indicate that the germ zone is cleared of spores.

Local treatment

This is another component of complex treatment, which is carried out while taking systemic drugs and does not replace them. Local therapy alone will not help to achieve 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 the spores to remain viable for a long time in the destroyed tissue. Topical drugs cannot penetrate this area.

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

Nail plate removal

There are two options for this procedure - conservative and surgical. The first method is carried out using a keratolytic patch that can soften the tissue. After using this product, it is possible to remove the affected area painlessly and easily using a light scalpel or ordinary scissors. For conservative removal, the patch option is being used.

Such products can be purchased at a pharmacy or ordered from the prescription department. Before using the composition against fungal diseases, apply a regular adhesive plaster to the healthy skin area next to the affected area to protect against keratolytic action. Next, apply a 2 mm layer of the mixture and secure it with simple plaster for 2-3 days. Then peel it off, remove the remaining product and scrape off the soft tissue with a scalpel. This procedure is repeated until the entire surface of the nail is removed and only the bare bed remains.

Surgical methods are considered more effective than conservative methods, because they not only remove the affected area, but also allow the bed to be cleaned of keratin scale, where fungal spores can survive and cause disease recurrence. Clinical studies confirm that with surgical removal, the effectiveness of treatment is significantly higher; The procedure is as follows:

  1. Apply a tourniquet to the base of the finger.
  2. Treat the surface with an antiseptic (any).
  3. Local anesthetic is injected into the lateral surface of the finger.
  4. Tweezers are inserted under the free edge from the left or right corner.
  5. Advance the instrument to the base.
  6. The plates are separated using an everting motion.
  7. The bed is cleaned from the accumulation of horny plates.
  8. The nail bed is sprinkled with sorbent powder with antibiotics.
  9. A sterile dressing is applied on top.

Shoe processing

The issue of disinfecting shoes during treatment for onychomycosis is very important, because they contain fungal pathogens, which in the future will cause a recurrence of the disease. To eliminate it, you need to use a chemical disinfectant. This cleaning procedure should be carried out at least once a week. Disinfection can be done using the following composition:

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

As a preventive measure, you should regularly use a special device designed to dry shoes at home. Fungus thrives in moist environments, so you shouldn't let your shoes get wet.

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

Possible complications

Pessimists who do not believe that onychomycosis can be cured should remember that, fortunately, they are mistaken. However, if the disease is neglected or self-treated without ensuring the correct diagnosis, problems may arise.

Possible complications include:

  • the occurrence of mycotic eczema with a large area affected by the fungus;
  • 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 allergic reactions, also occurs due to the fact that the body is "burdened" with substances that are harmful to it;
  • psychological problems caused by the fact that a person cannot lead a normal life - for example, without hesitation, visit the bathhouse, go to the beach.

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

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Laser treatment

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

Disinfection and personal hygiene

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

  • thoroughly disinfect socks and shoes daily;
  • boiled bed linen and towels;
  • Clean the bathtub thoroughly after bathing.

All wardrobe items that come into contact with the affected nail during the day must be boiled in a soapy solution in the evening. Better to use laundry soap. Shoes should be wiped daily with an antiseptic or special antifungal solution.

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