Toenail infection is an infectious disease of nails. It is caused by a fungus that requires a warm moist environment to grow and flourish. Low immunity, minor skin or nail injury, diabetes or athlete's foot might promote its growth. It makes the nail yellow, thick and brittle. If the infection goes deep in the nail bed, its treatment becomes more difficult. It does not go away on its own without treatment.

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How Long Does It Take For Toenail Fungus To Go Away?

Toenail fungus is an infection of the nail bed that causes discoloration and of thickening of the nail. It affects one or more nails at a time. Initially, when this infection starts, the white or yellow spot appears at the tip of a fingernail. As infection goes deeper in the nail, the nail becomes more thick, more discolored and crumbled at the edge. It is caused by low immunity, working in moist warm areas, old age and minor skin or nail injury.(1)

Toenail fungus grows in toenail from a long time before representing significant damage to the nails. The affected nails become yellow, thick and brittle when fungus grows in them. It is sometimes painful. It does not go away on its own. If it is left untreated, it would become worse and spread to other nails. It will lead to pain while walking.(2)

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Toenail fungus can be treated with home remedies such as tea tree oil, eucalyptus oil, and other antifungal creams, gels available in the market. But research studies have revealed mixed results.

The doctors may trim affected nails and send them for microscopic study to evaluate the type of fungus. They may give the antifungal drug to eat or paints to apply.

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Antifungal pills may treat the infection. But it may cause side effects such as nausea, vomiting and even liver damage. it is also noted that if the patient is taking other medicines for the treatment of other diseases, antifungal drugs may not work properly along with them.(2)

If the nail infection is deep-seated and it enters the nail bed deeply, then a part or entire nail might have been needed to be removed. A new nail usually appears in place of this damaged nail in a year. In between the patient may require creams to prevent the fungal growth in this nail before the growth of the new one.(2)

Laser treatment is another way to treat nail fungus. But it is not promising and highly costly. If diabetes is present in the patient, then the nails should be taken extra care as nail infection may cause complications in diabetes.(2)

The time is taken for toenail infection to heal completely depends on the degree, duration, and extent of the infection. Treatment and complete is dependent on how long the infection is present in the nails. It also depends on the health of the affected person. Usually, this infection may go away in 6 to 12 months if treatment is provided earlier. If the nails have become discolored, it may end completely in a couple of months.(3)

Foot coverings play an important role in the development of fungus in the nails of the foot. The more time spent in the water, the more suitable environment is available for the fungus to grow. The moist, dark and warm environment also support the growth of fungus and delaying the success of the treatment.(3) Even after successful treatment, the nail bed may take one year or more to get rid of fungus completely and the growth of the new nail.(2)

Conclusion

Toenail infection is a fungal infection of nail that does not go away without treatment. It may take 6 months to one year to get rid of the fungus depending on the duration, extent, and treatment of the fungus. A new nail grows in its place that may take 12 months to 18 months.

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Sheetal DeCaria MD

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

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Last Modified On: June 17, 2019

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

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