Toe fungus is a problem of concern to many. Itching, burning, and unsightly looking skin and nails are just a small part of it. The disease is dangerous with complications that are even more difficult to cure. However, you can cope with the problem if you take seriously the treatment of a fungal infection (mycosis).
Why does fungus appear on the feet?
Fungi are a type of infectious agent that affects the skin. These are complex and extremely tenacious microorganisms. Therefore, fungal diseases require a serious and comprehensive approach to treatment.
Fungi have their favorite skin habitats. First of all, it is the skin of the toes and nails. The reason for this is understandable - the feet are usually inside the shoe, inside of which a lot of moisture and dirt accumulates, and it is also very hot. Therefore, the fungi that live on the feet have a lot of food and a favorable microclimate for reproduction. Some types of complex fungi are more likely to infect the skin, while other types of fungi, such as yeasts and molds, prefer nail plates. Simultaneous infection with several types of fungi is also possible.
Contribute to the development of fungi on the toes:
- reduced local and general immunity;
- poor foot hygiene;
- uncomfortable and tight shoes;
- irregular change of socks or stockings;
- wearing socks or stockings made of synthetic, breathable materials;
- regular hypothermia or overheating of the feet;
- circulatory disorders in the legs;
- chronic diseases of the cardiovascular system, diabetes mellitus;
- a long course of antibiotic treatment;
- increased sweating of the legs;
- lack of vitamins and mineral elements in the body;
- mechanical damage to the skin, calluses, foot injuries;
- excess weight, excessive physical activity on the legs;
- irregular trimming of toenails.
The most important of these factors are reduced immunity and poor circulation in the legs. A decrease in immunity can occur due to various reasons. Usually these are severe chronic diseases, primarily infectious. Also, immunity may decrease due to HIV, taking immunosuppressants, and cancer. Equally important is the violation of blood circulation in the toes - due to diseases of blood vessels, blood, diabetes, smoking.
Mycoses of the feet can develop in men and women. They appear more often in adults than in children.
Some types of fungi constantly live on the skin and are activated only under unfavorable circumstances, for example, fungi of the genus Candida. And other species are transmitted from person to person. Infection can occur when visiting the gym, bath, shower, if the person does not use personal shoes. People who wear someone else's shoes or socks, or let other people use them, also put themselves at significant risk of infection. Often, infection occurs when using the same towels, manicure accessories, etc. Factors that increase the likelihood of infection are cuts on the surface of the skin, deformation of the nail plates.
Symptoms of mycosis of the toes
The main symptoms of mycosis of the feet are itching and burning. There may also be skin redness, small blisters, increased peeling and roughness of the skin, and an unpleasant odor. The first symptoms of mycosis of the skin can be confused with simple irritation, chafing.
Symptoms of onychomycosis
The fungus can affect not only the skin, but also the nails. The last type of mycosis is called onychomycosis. The main symptom of onychomycosis is a change in the structure and type of the nail, its increased fragility. The nail turns yellow, grooves and cracks appear on its surface, the nail plate thickens and deforms. If left untreated, the nail will gradually flake off and disintegrate from the nail bed.
What does a fungus look like on a finger: photo
You should not diagnose yourself on your own, based on photographs. The diagnosis must be made by a qualified dermatologist.
Only he will be able to determine the type of fungus. To do this, he may need not only an external examination of the feet, but also laboratory tests of skin scrapings.
However, the presence of signs that even remotely resemble those shown in the photographs is a cause for concern and a visit to a doctor.
Treatment of the disease is complex and is carried out at home under the supervision of a doctor.
Fungus on the little finger
The fungus can affect the skin of any toe. But the little toes are most vulnerable to infection. The little toe in tight shoes is often compressed, which causes abrasions and impaired circulation on the skin. With the defeat of the little finger nail, the disease develops very quickly, faster than on any other nail. If the little finger is infected, the infection can very quickly touch the other fingers.
Fungus on the little toe is treated in the same way as fungus on other areas of the skin. With onychomycosis of the little finger nail, the most rational solution may be to remove its nail plate. This operation will not cause much inconvenience to the patient, because the nail on the little finger grows back quickly. However, until the nail grows back (this may take 3-4 months), antifungal medications must be used to prevent re-infection.
How to treat toe fungus?
Treatment of mycosis should be started at the first alarming symptoms. First of all, you need to contact a dermatologist for diagnosis. Before starting therapy, it is necessary to establish the very fact of the presence of mycosis and the type of pathogenic microorganisms. For this purpose, the doctor will take a scraping from the skin or cut off a piece of the nail (if the nail is affected). Blood tests, blood tests for sugar are being taken. Mycoses of the skin of the feet must be differentiated from:
- other infectious skin diseases;
- allergic reactions;
- dermatoses caused by diabetes, vascular diseases, stress and nervous diseases.
For the treatment of mycoses on the legs, local remedies (sprays, ointments, creams) are most often used. Only in severe cases can the doctor prescribe antimycotic pills. The most commonly used tablets are fluconazole, itraconazole, terbinafine.
Treatment is based on the use of antimycotics. This type of preparation contains substances that kill fungi (fungicidal) or stop their reproduction (fungistatic).
What antimycotics are most often used:
Local preparations with antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and keratolytic properties are also used. Antibacterial agents are prescribed if suppuration occurs, that is, a bacterial one joins the fungal infection. Anti-inflammatory drugs work well with unpleasant symptoms such as itching and burning. However, they do not affect the very cause of the disease - pathogenic microorganisms. Keratolytic agents include zinc, sulfuric and sulfur-salicylic ointments. They accelerate the regeneration of skin tissues by accelerating the exfoliation of dead epidermis.
For the treatment of mycoses of the feet, baths with antiseptic agents are also used - solutions of potassium permanganate, iodine, salt, baking soda, boric acid. Baths are best done before going to bed for 20 minutes. To prevent infection with spores, healthy areas of the skin should be treated with chlorhexidine, iodine, hydrogen peroxide, and potassium permanganate. For the treatment of onychomycosis, varnishes with antimycotic substances are used - loceryl, exoderil, batrofen. These varnishes must be applied to the nail plate.
Ointments and creams must be applied to previously washed and clean skin with the frequency specified in the instructions for the product. The area of application of the ointment should be slightly larger than the area of the visible lesion. To apply varnish to the nail plate, the nail must be steamed, the uneven edges must be sanded with a file, and the surface of the nail must be degreased with an alcohol-containing solution.
In folk medicine, decoctions of medicinal plants are used to get rid of mycosis on the legs - chamomile, calendula, sage, St. John's wort, mint, vinegar solution, onion and lemon juices.
What if the fungus on the finger persists?
Mycosis treatment is a long and difficult process. Fungal microorganisms are very tenacious, and it is impossible to get rid of them in a couple of days. Many months of careful therapy are sometimes necessary. In this case, therapy should not be interrupted for a single day. Treatment of onychomycosis cannot be completed until a new, healthy nail plate has grown.
It is also important to consider other factors associated with the development of the disease. Failure to comply with skin hygiene and optimal temperature conditions of the feet can nullify all therapeutic efforts. This means that it is necessary to regularly wash the surface of the skin of the feet, to avoid overheating or hypothermia. It is also important to avoid mechanical damage to the skin, excessive stress on the feet, cuts and injuries. Being overweight puts more pressure on your feet, so if you are overweight you may want to consider losing weight.
If the patient constantly wears shoes infected with the fungus, then no potent drugs will help, because new ones will immediately take the place of dead microorganisms. Therefore, it is necessary to get rid of all factors contributing to re-infection. You can't walk in someone else's shoes, socks. Socks should be washed thoroughly and changed regularly. The inner surface of the shoe should be thoroughly sprayed with antifungal agents.
With persistent mycosis, you need to analyze the general state of health. Perhaps this will help identify the causes of impaired immunity and blood circulation in the legs. Therefore, it may be worth undergoing a complete examination and excluding problems with the heart, blood, blood vessels, organs of the endocrine system.
Finally, it is possible that microorganisms simply developed resistance to the antimycotic agent used. Then it will be necessary to change the drug. Systemic antimycotic pills may be needed. The dosage of the drugs should be selected by a specialist dermatologist.