Toe fungus is a problem that worries many. Itchy, burning skin and nails are just a small part of that. The disease is dangerous, with complications that are even more difficult to cure. However, you can deal with the problem if you are serious about treating a fungal infection (ringworm).
Why does the fungus appear on the feet?
Fungi are a type of infectious agent that affects the skin. They are complex and extremely tenacious microorganisms. Therefore, fungal diseases require a serious and comprehensive approach to treatment.
Fungi have their favorite habitats on the skin. First, it is the skin of the toes and nails. The reason for this is understandable - the feet are usually inside the shoe, inside which a lot of moisture and dirt accumulates, in addition to being very hot. Therefore, the fungi that live on the feet have a large amount of food and a microclimate favorable to 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 by various 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;
- wear socks or stockings made of breathable synthetic 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 treatment with antibiotics;
- increased sweating in the legs;
- lack of vitamins and mineral elements in the body;
- mechanical damage to the skin, calluses, foot injuries;
- overweight, excessive physical activity in the legs;
- irregular trimming of the toenails.
The most important of these factors is reduced immunity and poor circulation in the legs. A decrease in immunity can occur for several reasons. These are usually serious, mostly infectious, chronic illnesses. In addition, immunity may decrease due to HIV, the use of immunosuppressants and cancer. Equally important is the violation of blood circulation in the toes - due to vascular diseases, blood, diabetes, smoking.
Mycoses of the feet can develop in both men and women. They appear more often in adults than in children.
Some types of fungi constantly inhabit the skin and are activated only in unfavorable circumstances, for example, fungi of the genus Candida. And other species are transmitted from person to person. Infection can occur when going to the gym, bathing, or showering, if the person does not wear personal shoes. People who wear other people's shoes or socks, or allow other people to wear them, are also at significant risk of infection. Infection often occurs when using the same towels, manicure accessories, etc. Factors that increase the likelihood of infection are cuts on the skin surface, deformation of the nail plates.
Symptoms of ringworm of the toes
The main symptoms of ringworm of the feet are itching and burning. There may also be redness of the skin, small blisters, increased peeling and roughness of the skin and an unpleasant odor. The first symptoms of ringworm of the skin can be confused with simple irritation, friction.
The fungus can affect not only the skin, but also the nails. The latter type of ringworm 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 peel and disintegrate from the nail bed.
What does a fungus look like on a finger: photo
You should not diagnose yourself, based on photographs. The diagnosis must be made by a qualified dermatologist.
Only he can determine the type of fungus. To do this, he may need not only an external examination of the feet, but also laboratory tests for skin scraping.
However, the presence of signs that still remotely resemble those of the photographs is a cause for concern and medical consultation.
The treatment of the disease is complex and 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 the most vulnerable to infection. The toe in tight shoes is usually compressed, which causes abrasions and impairs the circulation of the skin. With the defeat of the little finger nail, the disease develops very quickly, faster than any other nail. If the little finger is infected, the infection can reach the other fingers very quickly.
The fungus on the little toe is treated in the same way as the fungus on other areas of the skin. With onychomycosis of the little finger nail, the most rational solution may be to remove the nail plate. This operation will not cause much inconvenience to the patient, as the nail of the little finger grows back quickly. However, until the nail grows again (this can take 3 to 4 months), antifungal drugs should be used to prevent reinfection.
How to treat toe fungus?
The treatment of ringworm should be started at the first alarming symptoms. First, you need to contact a dermatologist for diagnosis. Before starting therapy, it is necessary to establish the very fact of the presence of ringworm and the type of pathogenic microorganisms. To do this, the doctor will scrape the skin or cut a piece of the nail (if the nail is affected). Blood tests, blood tests for sugar are being done. Mycoses of the skin of the feet must be distinguished from:
- other infectious diseases of the skin;
- Allergic reactions;
- dermatoses caused by diabetes, vascular diseases, stress and nervous diseases.
For the treatment of mycosis in the legs, local remedies (sprays, ointments, creams) are the most used. Only in severe cases can the doctor prescribe antimycotic pills. The most commonly used pills are fluconazole, itraconazole, terbinafine.
Treatment is based on the use of antimycotics. This type of preparation contains substances that kill fungi (fungicides) or prevent their reproduction (fungistatic).
What are the most used antimycotics:
Local preparations with antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and keratolytic properties are also used. Antibacterial agents are prescribed if suppuration occurs, that is, a bacterium joins the fungal infection. Anti-inflammatories 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, accelerating the exfoliation of the dead epidermis.
For the treatment of mycosis of the feet, baths with antiseptics are also used - solutions of potassium permanganate, iodine, salt, sodium bicarbonate, boric acid. Bathing should be done before going to bed for 20 minutes. To prevent spore infection, 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 - loceril, exoderil, batrofen. These varnishes must be applied to the nail plate.
Ointments and creams must be applied to the skin previously washed and cleaned with the frequency specified in the product instructions. 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 nail surface must be degreased with a solution containing alcohol.
In folk medicine, decoctions of medicinal plants are used to get rid of ringworm in the legs - chamomile, marigold, sage, St. John's wort, mint, vinegar solution, onion and lemon juice.
What to do if the fungus on the finger does not disappear?
The treatment of ringworm is a long and difficult process. Fungal microorganisms are very tenacious and it is impossible to get rid of them in a few days. Many months of careful therapy are sometimes necessary. In that case, therapy should not be interrupted for a single day. The 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 ideal temperature conditions of the feet can nullify all therapeutic efforts. This means that it is necessary to regularly wash the skin surface 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. Excess weight puts more pressure on your feet, so if you are overweight, consider losing weight.
If the patient constantly wears shoes infected with the fungus, no potent drugs will help, because the new drugs will immediately take the place of dead microorganisms. Therefore, it is necessary to eliminate all factors that contribute to reinfection. You cannot walk in someone else's shoes, socks. Socks should be washed and changed regularly. The internal surface of the shoe must be well sprayed with antifungal agents.
With persistent ringworm, you need to analyze the general state of health. Perhaps this will help to identify the causes of impaired immunity and blood circulation in the legs. Therefore, it may be worthwhile to do a thorough examination and exclude problems with the heart, blood, blood vessels, organs of the endocrine system.
Finally, it is possible that microorganisms simply develop resistance to the antimycotic agent used. Then it will be necessary to change the medicine. Systemic antimycotic pills may be needed. The dosage of medications must be selected by a specialist dermatologist.