Nail fungus is a fungal infection that can happen in one or more nails. It often begins as a yellow spot under the tip of a fingernail or toenail. When it begins to spread deeper into the nail, it can cause the nail to thicken, discolor, or develop crumbling edges. This can be both unsightly and painful. Here are some treatment options for toenail fungus.
To treat toenail fungus, a doctor may prescribe oral antifungal medication. The most effective treatments are Lamisil and Sporanox. A doctor is most likely to recommend oral medication to patients who have diabetes, have risk factors for cellulitis, or have a history of cellulitis. The medications help a new, infection-free nail grow, which slowly replaces the infected nail. Oral medications are typically taken for six to 12 weeks. It may take up to four months for the infection to go away.
Nail Creams and Ointments
A doctor might also prescribe topical antifungal medications. Patients may be advised to use creams with an over-the-counter lotion that contains urea, which helps speed up absorption. Topical medications typically do not cure fungal infections, but they can be used along with oral medications. A cream or ointment might be more effective if the surface of the nail is filed down prior to application.
For a mild infection, a doctor may prescribe an antifungal nail polish called ciclopirox. In this case, the patient is instructed to paint the infected nails and surrounding skin once a day for seven days. After seven days, the layers of lacquer should be wiped off with alcohol to begin a fresh round of applications.
Surgery and Laser Therapy
In severe cases, a doctor may suggest surgically removing the nail. After removal, a new nail will slowly grow in. Nail fungus can also be treated with laser or photodynamic therapy. In a process that irradiates the nail, the nail is first treated with an acid and then exposed to intense light.
If you are in need of podiatric care, seek treatment at Family Foot Center. We provide treatment for a variety of foot problems, including fungal infections, ingrown toenails, heel pain, plantar warts, hammertoes, and bunions. Visit our website or call (347) 625-5256 to learn more about our treatments.