If you have onychomycosis, it means you have a fungal infection of your toenails or fingernails. The medical term for nail fungus is tinea unguium.
This article will discuss the common causes of nail fungus, how it can be prevented, and some possible treatments.
What Exactly Is Tinea Unguium?
Tinea unguium is a fungal infection that affects the nails. It is also known as onychomycosis or ringworm of the nails. The infection can affect both toenails and fingernails, but it is more common in toenails.
The fungus that causes tinea unguium thrives in warm, moist conditions. This is why the infection is more common in summer. People who have sweaty feet or who wear closed shoes are also at a higher risk of developing tinea unguium.
Symptoms Of Tinea Unguium
The symptoms of tinea unguium include brittle, crumbly, or ragged nails. The nails may also become discolored, thickened, or deformed. The infection can cause pain and discomfort. It can also make it difficult to wear shoes or walk. If the infection spreads to the skin around the nail, it can cause redness, swelling, and itchiness.
How To Diagnose Tinea Unguium
Tinea unguium is diagnosed by a doctor or dermatologist. They will examine the affected nails and may also take a sample of the nail for testing.
More On Nail Testing
A nail clipping can be examined under a microscope to look for the presence of fungi. A fungal culture can also be done to grow and identify the type of fungus causing the infection.
How Is Tinea Unguium Treated?
Tinea unguium is treated with antifungal medication. This can be in the form of creams, ointments, or pills. The medication is usually taken for six to twelve weeks. In some cases, the infection may come back after treatment.
OTC Treatment Options
There are many over-the-counter (OTC) treatments for tinea unguium. These include creams, ointments, and gels. Some common OTC treatments include:
Prescription Treatment Options
If the infection does not respond to OTC treatments, your doctor may prescribe antifungal medication. This can be in the form of pills or creams. Some common prescription medications include:
- Amphotericin B
There are some lifestyle changes you can make to prevent tinea unguium. These include:
- Wearing sandals or open-toed shoes when possible
- Changing your socks daily
- Not sharing towels, shoes, or other personal items
- Wearing shower shoes in public
There are also some home remedies that may help treat tinea unguium. These include:
- Soaking the affected nails in apple cider vinegar
- Applying tea tree oil to the affected nails
- Using yogurt or garlic as a topical treatment
There are some essential oils that may help treat tinea unguium. These include:
- Oregano oil – Oregano oil has antifungal and antibacterial properties. It can be diluted with a carrier oil and applied to the affected nails. Tea tree oil – Tea tree oil is another essential oil with antifungal properties. It can also be diluted with a carrier oil and applied to the affected nails.
- Lavender oil – Lavender oil has both antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties. It can be diluted with a carrier oil and applied to the affected nails.
- Tea tree oil – Tea tree oil is another essential oil with antifungal properties. It can also be diluted with a carrier oil and applied to the affected nails. Lavender oil – Lavender oil has both antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties.
- Eucalyptus oil – Eucalyptus oil has both antifungal and antibacterial properties.
- Sunflower oil – Sunflower oil has antifungal properties.
Some studies have shown that light therapy may be effective in treating tinea unguium. In one study, participants who were exposed to UVB radiation had a decrease in fungal growth.
Photodynamic Anti-mycotic (fungal) therapy (PACT. PACT uses a light-sensitive drug and a special light to kill the fungus. A study showed that this treatment was effective in treating tinea unguium.
In some cases, surgery may be needed to remove the infected nails. This is usually only done if the infection does not respond to other treatments.
How To Prevent Tinea Unguium
There are a few things you can do to lower your risk of developing tinea unguium. These include:
- Wearing sandals or open-toed shoes to keep your feet dry
- Changing your socks often, especially if you have sweaty feet
- Keeping your nails trimmed and clean
- Avoiding sharing nail clippers or other personal items with others
- Washing your hands after touching an infected person or animal
- Wearing socks made of natural fibers
- Avoiding tight-fitting shoes
- Letting your shoes air out between wearings
- Not sharing nail clippers or other personal items
Risk Factors For Tinea Unguium
There are a few factors that can increase your risk of developing tinea unguium. These include:
- Having diabetes
- Having a weakened immune system
- Working in a damp environment
- Wearing tight-fitting shoes
- Walking barefoot in public places
- Sharing personal items with others
- Living with someone who has tinea unguium
Tinea unguium is a fungal infection that affects the nails. The infection can cause the nails to become thick, yellow, or brittle. It can also lead to pain and swelling in the affected area. Tinea unguium is more common in adults than children. The infection is often seen in people with diabetes or a weakened immune system. Treatment for tinea unguium includes antifungal medication and lifestyle changes. There are also some home remedies that may help treat the infection.
If you have tinea unguium, it is important to practice good hygiene and keep your nails clean and trimmed. You should also avoid sharing personal items with others.
If you think you might have tinea ungium, it is important to see a doctor or dermatologist so that you can start treatment as soon as possible. With treatment, the symptoms should start to improve within a few weeks. However, it can take several months for the nails to return to their normal appearance. In some cases, the infection may come back after treatment has finished. This is why it is important to practice good foot hygiene and to keep your feet dry and cool.