Onychomycosis, better known as toenail fungus, is a common ailment that affects millions of people every year. Characterized by changes in the color of the toenail, such as looking white, black, or yellow, the fungus is an infection underneath the nail that is caused by yeast or other bacteria. They attack the keratin found in your nail to survive, and if left untreated, this type of toenail fungus can cause an embarrassing, foul-smelling odor that prevents you from wearing sandals or otherwise feeling comfortable being barefoot.
Types of toenail fungus with pictures
There are four different types of toenail fungus, each with its own symptoms and treatment options. Deciding which type of toenail fungus you have is easier if you know what to look for. The pictures below act as a visual guide.
Skip the toenail fungus guide and schedule an appointment with a Scottsdale podiatrist at Arizona Foot Doctors.
The most common type of toenail fungus is distal subungual Onychomycosis, which accounts for as many as 85% of cases. The fungus is easy to distinguish from other types of toenail fungus because it causes thick, discolored nails, scaling underneath of it, and nails that easily crumble.
Onychomycosis, better known as toenail fungus, is a common ailment that affects millions of people every year. Characterized by changes in the color of the toenail, such as looking white, black, or yellow, the fungus is an infection underneath the nail that is caused by yeast or other bacteria. They attack the keratin found in your nail to survive, and if left untreated, toenail fungus can cause an embarrassing, foul-smelling odor that prevents you from wearing sandals or otherwise feeling comfortable being barefoot.
Some people suffer from another type of toenail fungus called white superficial Onychomycosis, which occurs when the nail turns white and begins to crumble.
People who have ailments that suppress their immune systems may suffer from a different type of toenail fungus called proximal subungual Onychomycosis, which turns the nail white near the cuticle.
Finally, candidal Onychomycosis is a type of toenail fungus that causes the nail to separate completely from the bed.
If, after reading this guide, you still need help figuring out which type of toenail fungus you have, call our Scottsdale podiatry office at (480) 661-7572 to schedule an appointment with Arizona Foot Doctors.
Tips for preventing all types of toenail fungus
The easiest way to treat any type of toenail fungus is to know the steps to toenail fungus prevention. Fungus thrives on moist, dark environments, so it is vital to wash and dry feet thoroughly before putting on socks and shoes. Additionally, shoes that fit properly are essential for allowing air to circulate to your feet. If you shower or swim in public locker rooms, pools, or beaches, be sure to wear shower shoes when walking around, and always change into dry socks if your feet become damp because of rain or snow.
Other methods for preventing all types of toenail fungus include clipping your toenails regularly and straight across, spraying your shoes with anti-fungal protection products, and cleaning your nail clippers between each use.
Toenail fungus and your diet
Another excellent way to prevent the different types of toenail fungus is to ensure you are eating a healthy diet. When you eat foods that are good for your body, your body will treat you better. If you want your body to be able to fight off fungus, stick to yogurts that are rich in probiotics, foods that have plenty of protein to help your nails regrow, and iron-rich foods to prevent brittle nails. Other excellent foods are those high in essential fatty acids and low-fat dairy products that have high percentages of vitamin D and calcium.
Topical medications for all types of toenail fungus
If you find that you already suffer from one of these types of toenail fungus, you may need a topical treatment. Some experts recommend trying Vicks VapoRub, an over-the-counter treatment. The topical ointment uses camphor and eucalyptus oil as its active ingredients, which can work to treat many types of toenail fungus. Simply apply a small amount to the affected toenails at least once per day. If Vicks doesn’t work, your podiatrist may be able to prescribe something more substantial like Jubila.
Oral medications for some types of toenail fungus
If topical treatment doesn’t alleviate toenail fungus symptoms, your podiatrist may recommend an oral medication. For common types of toenail fungus, Itraconazole and terbinafine require a three-month treatment course and have good success rates when used consistently. However, because these drugs have side effects on the liver, your doctor will want to check your liver function every few weeks during the course of treatment. Fluconazole can sometimes be used off-label to treat yeast in the toenails.
Treatment for severe toenail fungus cases
In rare cases, and after trying non-invasive toenail fungus treatment methods, your podiatrist may decide that your best option is debridement. This type of treatment involves removing the thick portions of the nails, thereby reducing pain and allowing topical treatments to penetrate the fungus more effectively.
Contact Arizona Foot Doctors
If you suspect that you suffer from one of the four types of toenail fungus, or Onychomycosis, contact the experts at Arizona Foot Doctors for diagnosis and treatment. Our Scottsdale Podiatrists are dedicated to helping patients and their families understand and be a part of the treatment process.
Originally published April 30, 2020