Originally Posted by wvfirefly
A while back I got some kind of infection in my big toe after digging in some dirt in my yard. For a long time the toe would turn red, swell a little and just go back to normal - so I let it be. I put Vicks on it and soaked it in Epsom salt. (I don't have any insurance, so doc appts are only made if there is no other alternative.) The beginning of April the nail swelled and turned red as usual, but after the swelling went down a good portion of the nail turned yellow colored. I did go to the doc, and they put me on an antibiotic and told me to put Monistat creme as far under the nail as I could get it. Now my toenail is coming completely loose from my toe (atleast half the bottom and up the left side). My doc has already mentioned that the nail may have to be removed. If this nail comes off or is removed, will it grow back? Also, are there any other things that may work better than the Monistat? My doctor does not think fungus is my problem. She thinks it's an infection under the nail. I go back on Tuesday and I was so hoping things would be better than they are!! I'm scared to death to have a nail removed!
Don't panic! It sounds to me like you may have given yourself a Pseudomonas Bacterial infection. Pseudomonas spores live and thrive in dirt and just LOVE to get into moist places like our toenails. If you experienced any kind of a cut, break or tear to the seal that binds the nail plate to the nail bed, it is a perfect avenue for the spores to enter the site and set up housekeeping.
Pseudomonas does not necessarily cause a pus filled infection, but it will make the nail plate lift from the nail bed and is characterized by a yellowish to green to brown to black discoloration which is a by-product of the infection and is composed mainly of iron compounds.
By applying Vicks and Monistat to the area, you are just giving the infection what it needs to survive, and that is MOISTURE. I highly recommend that you stop applying the ointments and keep the area clean and DRY at all times. Never wear the same pair of shoes two days in a row because the spores can also live in the moist leather of the shoes and the cycle just gets worse. Wear sandals if you can, and if you cannot, wear white socks and change your shoes daily. Wear thongs or sandals when you get home from work/school - do not go barefoot! Never go barefoot in the dirt!
You can temporarily dehydrate the area (remove natural oils and moisture from the skin around and under the nail) by applying alcohol to the site several times a day. During refinement, alcohol has the 'water' removed from it, so it seeks to replace that water by absorbing moisture from the skin, then evaporating.
You could also try tea tree oil applications as it is VERY drying, (natural antiseptic and analgesic) but I recommend the alcohol first.
I imagine the doctor suspects a yeast infection, which you can also get from a cut, tear or break to the seal surrounding the nail unit - this is why she suggested the Monistat. Nafin (prescription) would work better though. Ask her about Pseudomonas Bacterial infections. If the yellowish discoloration begins to turn more of a line green color, then it is definately pseudomonas as the discoloration is classic for the infection. A yeast infection does not usually discolor the nail plate.
With either of these infections, the nail would not have to be removed. It could just be cut back away from the lateral fold of the nail plate to allow for easier medication application. I see no reason to remove the nail from the root. Not unless it was a fungus infection that had transcended all the way into the matrix of the nail. If it were fungus, your nail would begin to crumble, get real thick, lift from the nail bed and have evident debris between the nail plate and the nail bed, and it would become very discolored.
If it is just pseudomonas or yeast, the nail will heal and will grow back in 'normal'.
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