Nail Fungus Treatment

Nail fungus is an extremely common issue affecting millions of adults throughout the United States. Precisely why only some people suffer with nail fungus issues is not well understood. It is very common for nail fungus sufferers to try various over the counter treatments in hopes of eliminating their toenail issues. Unfortunately, many people soon find out that nail fungus can be quite difficult to treat. In fact, less than roughly 1 percent of fungal nail sufferers ultimately find a solution in over the counter treatments. This is typically when nail fungus sufferers turn to their physicians for help.

Treatment options

Treatment for nail fungus, normally depends on the severity of the condition and the type of fungus underlying the condition. For most, even when successful, it can take months to see any benefit from the treatment and even then, the recurrence rate can still be quite high.

  • The most common method of treatment used by physicians today for nail fungus is the use of oral antifungal medications. These drugs are typically the first prescription option used in trying to clear the underlying fungal infection within the nail(s). The drugs most often prescribed are terbinafine (Lamisil) and itraconazole (Sporanox). They work by killing the underlying fungus that is damaging the infected nail. Once the infection is eliminated, the nail bed is able to regrow. Patients are normally treated with these drugs for a period of 6-12 weeks as a standard course of treatment. Unfortunately, many patients require additional course depending on the overall severity of their nails at the time of treatment. This is why it can sometimes take up to a year for the person to see whether the treatment was even effective. The overall effectiveness of this oral treatment is typically less than 50% and can be much less especially in those individuals over the age of 65. This treatment is also not recommended for those patients with pre-existing heart or liver disease issues due to the potential for liver toxicity in this population when using oral antifungal medications. This is why any treatments using oral antifungal medications, requires routine liver enzyme monitoring thru blood testing in order to check for early signs of liver damage.
  • Another alternative to oral antifungal treatments is the use of a medicated nail polish called ciclopirox (Penlac). As nail polish implies, the person will apply this medicated nail polish onto their infected nails daily. After seven days, this polish is then removed with alcohol and the cycle begins again and normally continues for about a year.
  • An alternative to the medicated nail polish is the application of an antifungal cream onto the infected nail immediately after soaking the nail. The soaking of the nail helps to soften up the nail so as to allow the cream to better soak into the nail. In place of the soaking, some physicians will thin the nail out by sanding or debriding the nail down to make it thinner and easier for the cream to penetrate.

The New Laser treatment Option:

As is the case in all of medicine, new advances in treatment are developed every day. In the case of nail fungus, that treatment involves using a laser to eliminate the nail fungus. This treatment is quickly gaining traction given the simplicity of the treatment and the overall effectiveness that many patients are reporting. The treatment involves the firing of a laser pulse directly onto the infected nail and its surrounding area. The laser energy is able to penetrate the nail and heat up the infected tissue directly under the nail. The heat is then able to kill the fungus causing the infection. This allows the nail to regrow infection free over time. Each treatment is normally 10-15 minutes and the average patient can require 4-5 treatments over the course of 4-5 months depending on the severity of the nail infection. This laser treatment is extremely safe, has no down time and has little to no known side effects.

If you hate your fungal nails, please give our office a call. Let our staff at The Sheen Vein Institute help answer your questions and lead you down the road to healthier toenails. Don’t let toenail fungus be the reason you are embarrassed to show off your feet.

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