Toenail Fungus & Yellow Toenails - Treatment & Antifungal Information
What is Yellow Toenail Fungus?
Toenail fungus, also called onychomycosis or tinea unguium, is an infection of the toenail bed and underlying plate. Fungus feeds off the protein keratin found in nail tissue, which can cause the yellowing of the nail. The more discolored the nail, the more progressive the infection.
Symptoms of Toenail Fungus
In addition to the yellowing nail, symptoms may include nail thickening; brittle, crumbly or ragged edges; shape distortion; and surface dullness. If the infection causes a condition called onycholysis, the nail may separate from the nail bed, causing toe pain and a foul odor.
Causes of Toenail Fungus
Yeasts, molds or microscopic organisms called dermatophytes cause nail fungal infections. They frequent warm, moist areas like swimming pool decks and can invade through tiny cuts or cracks in the skin.
Fungi don't need sunlight to survive, which makes the darkness of your warm, moist socks and shoes a perfect breeding ground for fungi. Your toes don't get as much blood flow as your fingers, so infections thrive before the body's immune system can detect a threat.
Who Gets Toenail Fungus?
Yellow toenails and toenail fungus can affect many types of people. Those who are often at a higher risk for developing a toenail fungus include older individuals who have slower-growing nails and decreased blood flow; men with a family history of nail fungus; athletes or anyone prone to athlete's foot; and people with diabetes. (IMPORTANT NOTE: If you have diabetes and think you may have toenail fungus, contact your doctor immediately.)
People who have sweaty feet, work in a humid environment, wear non-breathable socks and/or shoes, walk barefoot in wet communal areas like locker rooms or who live with someone with a foot fungus also have a higher risk of developing a toenail fungus.
Treating Toenail Fungus
If you notice that you have a yellow toenail fungus developing, treat the condition as soon as possible. Toenail fungus becomes more difficult to treat as it moves toward the cuticle. We recommend seeing a doctor for a diagnosis and treatment plan.
See a doctor immediately if you are diabetic and think you may have a toenail fungal infection, if you have a condition that causes poor blood flow to your feet and you can't trim your nails or if over-the-counter products and lifestyle changes haven't helped.
To treat a fungal infection, wash your feet every day with an antifungal foot wash. If you frequent an area with high risk factors for fungal infection, you can use this same type of foot wash as a preventative effort.
Don't use a commercial nail polish if you have an infection. Traditional polishes make a watertight seal that can trap the fungus in and keep medication out. Instead, use specialty nail polish, such as a nail fungus nail polish from Healthy Feet Store.
Preventing Toenail Fungus and Yellow Toenails
To prevent the condition, trim your toenails straight across, and don't let the nail extend beyond the tip of the toe.
Never go barefoot when showering in a public facility such as a gym or spa. Always wear shower shoes or spa slippers. Whether in public or in your home, dry your feet thoroughly after a shower or bath.
Have sweaty feet? Keep the inside of your shoes dry with antibacterial foot powder or by wearing moisture-wicking socks. This will also reduce the risk of developing a toenail fungus.
Healthy Feet Store Antifungal Toenail Treatment Recommendations
At Healthy Feet Store, we offer a variety of doctor-recommended treatments for yellow toenail fungus. This includes easy-to-use products like tea tree oil wash and antifungal nail care gels and creams. For the home pedicure enthusiast, we also offer antifungal nail polish. Consult your doctor about all preventative and restorative therapies to ensure that your yellow toenail fungus does not return.
Have other toenail problems? Read our foot-care article, The Most Common Toenail Problems and How to Treat Them.
Treating Toenail Fungus - Tips and Recommendations:
Toenail fungus should be treated as early as possible. It becomes more difficult to get rid of the farther it has spread towards the cuticle. People suffering from toenail fungus, particularly in its more advanced stages, are strongly advised to get a diagnosis from a podiatrist.
There are a variety of different types of toenail fungus. One common toenail fungus is the same fungus that causes athlete's foot. Many toenail fungi will respond to a combination of good foot hygiene habits and non-prescription antifungal products; however, there are some types of foot fungus that will only respond to prescription oral treatment.
To treat toenail fungus and yellow toenails you should:
To prevent toenail fungus and yellow toenails you should:
- See a podiatrist immediately if you have diabetic feet or weakened foot circulation! People with these conditions are at the highest risk of toenail fungus complications.
- Wash your feet daily with an anti-fungal foot wash, preferably one that contains tea tree oil. If you have had toenail fungus in the past or work in a moist, humid environment where you are at a higher risk of developing toenail fungus this is also a good preventive measure.
- Don't use a commercial nail polish when you are suffering from nail fungus. Commercial nail polishes will provide a protective, watertight layer over the nail trapping moisture in, keeping topical medications out, and maintaining a perfect environment for nail fungus to grow and fester. If you would like to wear nail polish while treating a fungal infection wear an antifungal nail polish such as Dr. Remedy Nail Polish with tea tree oil or Clearstat Antimicrobial Nail Polish.
- Use an extra strength antifungal cream such as Tineacide or Mycocide to kill the fungus before it does further damage to your nail enamel. (Although both antifungal treatments are effective, Tineacide tends to be the antifungal product Dr. Hurless' patients most frequently prefer.)
- Once the fungus has been eliminated your nails will probably remain yellow until the healthy enamel replaces what has been damaged. Medical strength nail gels and polishes are available to aid the nail in its rebuilding process and help prevent toenail fungus from recurring.
- Toenail fungus is very hardy and may recur if it is not killed completely. Be sure to use all toenail fungus products for the full duration directed on the packaged instructions even if nail fungus symptoms improve.
- Trim your toenails straight across so that the nail does not extend beyond the tip of the toe. The tip of the nail is the most vulnerable to infection.
- Dry your feet thoroughly after you get out of the shower or bath.
- Never go barefoot when showering in a public use facility such as a gym or spa. Always where shower shoes or spa slippers.
- Sweaty feet are at an increased risk of contracting toenail fungus. Keep the inside of your shoes dry and free of bacteria by wearing moisture wicking socks and sprinkling your feet and the inside of your shoes with antibacterial foot powder.
- When getting a professional pedicure it is best to bring your own nail tools to minimize the risk of infection. Use only licensed and accredited nail salons and ask questions about the salon's sterilization practices before making your appointment.
Have other toenail problems? Read our foot care article: The Most Common Toenail Problems and How to Treat Them