How To Treat Toenail Infections
Problems with toenails can happen regularly. Even if a toenail is trimmed in the wrong direction, it can cause issues, such as an ingrown toenail. If left untreated, an ingrown toenail can penetrate the surrounding skin and cause an infection. This infection will likely be incredibly uncomfortable and painful. Infections can come from the growth of fungus under the nails too. There are different types of toenail fungi, and they can all be contracted in different ways, but if any are left untreated, the toenail can begin to rot and even fall off. This isn’t pleasant and can be quite uncomfortable. Thankfully, because toenail problems are common, it also means that there are a lot of treatments out there too, resolving all toenail related problems. When discovered early on, nearly any nail can be treated and it’ll return back to normal in no time.
Fungus under the nails is far more common than infections. Fungus can appear if toenails are too long, which gives yeast and mold a nice warm spot to grow. Fungus can also develop if nails are brittle and dry, creating crevasses on the nail, ideal for growth. The most common type of fungus to grow is dermatophyte, although there are many others. Now, there’s no overnight treatment for fungus and to remove it, consistent treatment needs to be applied, however there are some treatments that yield faster results than others. Opting for toenail fungus laser treatments will likely resolve the fungal infection better than other treatments, plus, the nail can remain on the toe rather than being removed if there is a significant infection. A specialised laser is used to send pulses of energy through the nail and the nailbed. These low wave energy pulses destroy the DNA of microorganisms without harming the skin and toenails, riding the infection. These waves go deep enough into the nail bed where microbes thrive, so it can target all areas of the infection.
For minor infections, or the beginning of an infection, a nail lacquer can clear up any fungal nails. Lacquers are often medicated, with the most common ingredient being amorolfine. Amorolfine is morpholine antifungal drug and with consistent use, it can kill any fungus and make the nail healthy again. However, to see result with a lacquer, it needs to be used daily for at least 21 days. Toenails are quite sturdy, so it takes some time for the medication to penetrate the nail and make it to the nail bed to rid of the fungus.
If an infection is left untreated, it can become very painful. It can cause significant swelling on the toe, making it hard to put on shoes or walk. Sometimes, the pressure of the swelling can be so painful that putting pressure on the toe is not an option. Usually, the only way to resolve this infection is to go on a course of antibiotics. Usually lasting between 7-10 days, antibiotics will be able to rid the infection. Once the infection is gone, the nail issue may have resolved itself, but a podiatrist can still take a look to ensure nothing will irritate the newly healed area. If the cause of the infection was an ingrown toenail, a podiatrist will be able to remove it so that this problem doesn’t reoccur. A podiatrist will also have plenty of toenail knowledge and know how to combat any other problems you may be experiencing.
There are some cases of infection that result in a toenail needing to be removed. Some people opt for removal if they suffer from reoccurring infections, especially if their toes are prone to ingrown nails. Having no nail eliminates infections altogether. If an infection is left untreated for quite some time, it will only get worse. A minor infection can then develop into something more severe, infecting the whole nail and even the toe. This infection could even spread to other nails and toes, causing more problems. In this scenario, a nail will need to be removed to prevent the progression of cellulitis, a condition that produces red, swollen and tender skin due to infection. If the nail is badly damaged, it may not grow back. If the nailbed survives, a new, healthy nail can grow back but it can take some time.
The main points to take from this is to seek treatment as soon as you notice any sign of an infection, otherwise, it could develop into a bigger concern.