About 10 months ago I discovered a yellow area on both large toenails that was detached from the nail bed. I went to my doctor and he looked at it and said it was definitely fungal, but said he wouldn't recommend a prescription and didn't believe in the home remedies. Well, I do believe in home rememdies and have used tea tree oil, vicks, and currently oil of oregano on both toes. For awhile I noticed improvement, but then the area increased. I went to a different doctor who took clippings to be cultured. Lo and behold, I got a call yesterday that there is no fungus present. I don't know whether I killed the fungus with the home remedies or if it was never present.
Here's the problem...I still have the detached portions of my nail and the one on my right foot hurts from time to time. I don't know whether I should continue using the oil of oregano, use something else to help the nail grow back attached, or stop doing anything. Also, because the area is detached I get deris collecting under the nail and I don't know if I should scrap it out. Over the last 10 months I've done alot of scraping and cutting back of the nails and I'm afraid I did damage to the nail bed.
By the way, I started using the oil of oregano when I went to the doctor a month ago. I see pink nail growing near the cuticle (as opposed to a dull white-ish color on the rest of the nail) and think the area of detachment has moved toward the open end of the nail.
I'd appreciate any comments, especially from Marti who seems very knowledgeable on all nail problems. I plan to make an appointment with a dermatologist, but know it will take a couple of months to get seen.
True nail fungus will cause the nail to become detached from the nail bed, the nail plate will thicken, turn a yellowish color and there will be apparent debris in the area of separation. You are right to keep it trimmed back - it is much easier to treat that way.
When the doctors do a scraping and send it to the lab to be grown into a culture, they send it in Thymol solution. The thymol tends to kill the spores, so by the time the lab grows a culture, the results will be negative. You have described a fungus infection in your post, so there are probably fungal spores under and in the nail plate. Keep using whatever seems to be working for you. Apply twice daily and keep the nail clean and dry. After showering, put a drop of alcohol under the nail and let it absorb any excess oisture and evaporate. Then apply your treatment of choice.
Since toenails grow at a much slower rate than fingernails, it can take up to a full year for the nail plate to completely replace itself with a new normal nail plate that is firmly attached. Do not forcfully 'dig' under the nail as this can pull up good tight nail plate and leave the toe sore as well as give the fungal spores a new avenue of attack.
Yes, the separated portion of nail plate will tend to curl into the skin, so you might want to keep it from doing so by pushing a tiny bit of cotton into and slightly under the nail plate to keep it from pushing into the skin. You can do this with a wooden toothpick.
Thanks so much for the info! I just have a follow up question. You said I should keep it clean, but shouldn't scrap too much under the nail. How can I get the debris out without being too destructive? Can I use a toothpick? If I can't get the debris out, will the nail plate push it out as it grows attached or will it prevent the nail from attaching?
Also, something I just noticed last night...I filed down the top of my nail a little near the open end and saw that it looked pink. So now I have pink coming from the cuticle and pink from the open end with a band of dull white in between. Does this also sound like a good sign?
The debris is on the underside of the nail plate because the fungal spores eat the protein in the nail plate for food. Do not use a toothpick because you could easily poke the tightly attached skin adn cause further problems. If you cannot safely scrape the underside of the nail plate, just leave it alone. The debris will grow forward with the nail plate.
When I say to "keep it clean", I mean to keep it washed and dry it really well - especially after your shower. I use my blowdryer to dry my toes and nails even though I don't have a problem. My husband has toenail fungus and is not very diligent with his treatments, so after I shower, I apply a drop of alcohol to absorb te excess moisture and I use the blow dryer to qucikly evaporate the alcohol. Then, I apply a drop of listerine or Tea Tree Oil just to be sure I don't 'catch' anything. Nail fungus is contageous if you have any kind of cut, tear or break to the skin surrounding the nail unit and this includes the solehorn cuticle that is underneath the nail plate and binds the nail plate to the nail bed at the free edge.
Thank you so much! I use hydrogen pyroxide after my shower and at night to clean the nail then apply the oil of oregano. My nail definitely looks healthier than it did a month ago. I hope it continues to work.