Symptoms and treatment of toenail fungus

Toenail fungus is a widespread infection caused by dermatophyte infection with opportunistic and pathogenic fungi. About 20% of the adult population suffers from nail mycosis and is practically undetected in children.

Healthy nails after fungus treatment

Reasons for infection

Fungi are widespread in the environment, but damage to nails and human skin can only occur under favorable conditions. With age, the skin's acidic pH can become alkaline, which is beneficial for fungal growth. Infection usually occurs through contact. If the norms of personal hygiene are not followed, the source of infection can be a sick person or a general object of use. Infection can appear in public places: swimming pools, saunas, gyms. And also in everyday life with the general use of slippers, socks, manicure accessories, towels and washcloths.

The predisposing factors for onychomycosis infection are:

  • decreased immunity;
  • poor blood circulation in the legs, even when wearing tight shoes;
  • heavy sweating;
  • Diabetes mellitus;
  • Obesity;
  • mechanical injury to the nails;
  • Deformities and anatomical features of the feet.

Signs of toenail fungus

Photo of toenail fungus

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

  • Discoloration of the nail plate, loss of gloss;
  • increased fragility;
  • Itching and irritation of the skin around the affected nail;
  • Pain at the site of the lesion, especially when wearing tight shoes;
  • loosen part of the nail from the nail bed.

With the progression and involvement of the entire nail plate, new symptoms appear: the nail thickens and clearly deforms.

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

  1. Normotrophs - manifested by a distortion in the color of the nails from white to dark green. The color initially changes in dots or stripes and gradually covers the entire surface of the nail, while the thickness of the nail plate does not change and the shine is retained.
  2. Hypertrophic - is manifested by discoloration, loss of gloss, and severe thickening and deformation of the nail. The nail is severely flaked and partially destroyed;
  3. Atrophic - reflected in discoloration, thinning and subsequent rejection of the affected area.

Which doctor treats the fungus?

You can determine the infection yourself, but only a doctor can confirm the diagnosis. If you notice a change in nail color or increased fragility, you should see a dermatologist. The doctor will prescribe a diagnostic microscopic or cultural exam to help confirm the diagnosis. Part of the affected nail is removed for analysis or nearby tissue is scraped off. Timely detection of nail fungus greatly facilitates treatment and prevents the development of complications. Induced onychomycosis is dangerous as it can cause fungal eczema, aspergillosis, decreased immunity, infection of all nails, skin and other organs.

Treatment of toenail 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 shape, the degree of hyperkeratosis, and the length of the affected area. For treatment, local agents (ointments, drops, sprays, varnishes) and general agents (antifungal agents) are used.

As a rule, topical medication is used for minor changes in the nail. Before treatment with antifungal solutions, ointments, varnishes, the affected nail area should be removed surgically or with the help of keratolytics. This is necessary to better penetrate the antifungal drug deep into the damaged tissue, which will allow you to get rid of the fungus much faster.

Keratolytic drugs contribute to the softening of the nail and its easy and painless removal, which are made in the form of plasters containing urea or salicylic acid:

  • Urea;
  • Urea patch with chinosol;
  • Chinosol Salicylic Patches;
  • Onychoplast;
  • Chinosol Dimexide Plaster;
  • Mycospores (combination preparation).

Before sticking the plaster, it is necessary to scrape off the top layer of the nail, then apply a therapeutic mass and stick it with an adhesive plaster, change the bandage every 1-2 days. Before changing, the affected areas of the nail are removed with scissors and antifungal drugs are applied.

Antifungal creams, ointments, and drops are:

  • based on ketoconazole;
  • Derivatives of clotrimazole;
  • based on micanazole;
  • Oxycanazole derivatives;
  • based on terbinafine;
  • Chloronitrophenol derivatives;
  • based on naftifin.

Ointments, creams and drops should be applied to the open nail bed, preferably 2-3 times a day, until the nail is finally restored. These drugs are effective against the vast majority of pathogens, but cannot penetrate the entire depth of the nail plate.

Local antiseptics - a solution of iodine, dyes, quinosol, organic acids are often used in the treatment of nail fungus, when other means cannot be used. The main advantage is that antiseptic is inexpensive and widely available. Local antiseptics such as iodine treat the affected nail up to three times a day for a month. When applying the solution, it is advisable not to touch the surrounding skin to avoid burns. A burning sensation and tingling sensation will help identify the onset of exposure.

In addition, if local treatment is ineffective, then antifungal tablets are prescribed, which are prescribed by a specialist.

Properly chosen combination therapy will help cure advanced onychomycosis as quickly as possible. In addition, a combined treatment with local and general therapy is prescribed for more than three affected nails, for people over 50 years of age and with slow nail growth. Using combination therapy can significantly reduce the duration of treatment.

Treatment of fungus with folk remedies

Foot bath against nail fungus

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

  • Mix in equal parts vegetable oil and apple cider vinegar, moisten a cotton ball in the resulting solution and apply it to the affected nail for 4 hours. For the sake of simplicity, you can fix the bandage with an adhesive plaster. The procedure is carried out every day for a month;
  • To treat a neglected process, a mixture of 9% vinegar with celandine will help, the resulting composition should be infused for a month. Then add 50 g of salt. The resulting product is used for 5-10 minutes of foot baths before bedtime. It is important not to wipe your feet after the bath, but to let them dry by themselves;
  • To treat the affected nail, you can use an alcoholic solution of propolis, juice or onion porridge, garlic. A mixture of lavender and tea tree oils also works well;
  • Herbal decoction for foot baths: mix equal parts oak bark, marigold, 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 easily be avoided with good personal hygiene:

  1. It is necessary to wash your feet with antiseptics every day.
  2. Dry your feet with a personal towel.
  3. Use a pumice stone to peel off old skin, which is a good growing medium for fungi.
  4. Use medications that reduce foot sweating.
  5. Change socks, knee socks and tights every day.
  6. Wear loose, comfortable shoes. Do not wear wet shoes.
  7. Wear shoes when visiting swimming pools and showers.
  8. Do not use anyone else's shoes, slippers, socks, towels, manicure accessories.
  9. Use pharmacological preparations for protection before visiting beaches, swimming pools and saunas.