Treatment Options For Fungal Toenails


Fungal toenails (onychomycosis):


· Progressive toenail yellowing and thickening which is often ugly and embarrassing.

· Are often ignored because the infection can be present for years without causing any pain.

· Are caused by a fungal infection underneath the toenail.   The nail often becomes darker in color and foul smelling.

· Debris may collect beneath the nail plate.  Infection is capable of spreading to other toenails, the skin, or even the fingernails. If ignored, the infection can spread and possibly impair one’s ability to work or even walk. This happens because the resulting thicker nails are difficult to trim and make walking painful when wearing shoes.

· Toenails are especially vulnerable around damp areas where people are likely to be walking barefoot, such as swimming pools, locker rooms, and showers,. Those who suffer from chronic diseases, such as diabetes,  circulatory problems, or immune-deficiency conditions, are especially prone to fungal nails. Other contributing factors may be a history of athlete’s foot and excessive perspiration


Preventing Fungal Toenails



· Shower shoes should be worn when possible in public areas.

· Shoes, socks, or hosiery should be changed more than once daily.

· Wear shoes that fit well and are made of materials that breathe such as leather

· Avoid wearing excessively tight hosiery, which promote moisture.

· Socks made of synthetic fiber tend to “wick” away moisture faster than cotton or wool socks

· Don’t apply polish to nails suspected of infection—those that are red, discolored, or swollen, for example

·At the fist sign of yellowing or thickening of your toenails, you should seek the expert advice of a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine

· Avoid salon pedicures (especially pedicures where the cuticle is pushed back exposing the area to infection) since the instruments used may not be properly sterilized and cross-contamination with fungus or the wart virus can result.

· Proper hygiene and regular inspection of the feet and toes are the first lines of defense against fungal nails.  Clean and dry feet resist disease. Washing the feet with soap and water, remembering to dry thoroughly


Treatment of Fungal Nails

· No treatment is guaranteed to permanently cure your fungal toenails especially if your feet come into contact with fungus and if you are prone to infections.  The environment of your toenails, shoes, socks and shower both during and after treatment is important to prevent re-infection and involves specialized shoe sprays, anti-fungal foot products and regularly cleaning your shower with anti-bacterial/mold products.  

· Even the best over-the-counter treatments cannot cure a fungal toenail.

· Your foot specialist can detect a fungal infection early, culture the nail, determine the cause, and form a suitable treatment plan, which may include prescribing topical or oral medication, and debridement (removal of diseased nail matter and debris) or surgical removal of a chronically painful nail may be needed.

· There are new products used to help sterilize your shoes which can be a breeding ground for fungus.  These can be obtained through your foot specialist.

· Topical treatments are available at our office which combine several anti-fungal medications to cover a wider array of fungal organisms and increase your chances of eliminating fungal toenails compared to previous single medication treatments of the past

· LASER Lunula treatment is now available for clearing of yellow toenails with minimal risk of harmful side effects compared to oral medication.  This new non-thermal cold LASER is effective, pain-free with no down time. This treatment is typically done alongside traditional topical or oral anti-fungal treatments for better outcomes. 

· LASER Genesis Plus treatment is available for clearing of yellow toenails with minimal potential for side effects compared to oral medication.  It’s been reported the LASER beam damages fungus within the nail and can result in a clear new nail as it grows out.  This treatment is always done alongside traditional topical or oral anti-fungal treatments for better outcomes.