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What is Toenail Fungus?
Toenail fungus, also known as onychomycosis, is a fungal infection that involves the toenails. The infection causes changes to the appearance of the toenail, but can cause pain. It is found naturally in our environment, but thrives in dark, wet and warm places (i.e. shoes). It may be easier to acquire in some instances like reduced immune system function, diabetes, poor circulation or trauma to the nail.
What are the Symptoms of Fungal Nails?
Thickening of the toenail
Yellowing of the toenail
Brittle or deformed toenail
White, chalky debris beneath the toenail
Odor from the toenail
Tenderness / Pain
How is Toenail Fungus Diagnoses?
In many cases, a clinical examination is sufficient for diagnosis. In many cases a culture is taken for a more accurate diagnosis. This is a quick and painless procedure where a small piece of nail is trimmed and sent for analysis. The results are usually back in 10-14 days. Unfortunately, there has been an increased resistance to medications which treat nail fungus. We (one of the few providers) who routinely test for this susceptibility to target the most effective treatments..
How Do I Treat Toenail Fungus?
Over The Counter - There are many "drug store" or "old wives tales" for treating toenail fungus. The problem is that none are very effective. They don’t penetrate the toenail and treat the fungus beneath it.
Prescription Topicals - There are some topical treatments for toenail fungus that are effective. It just takes 9-12 months of consistent use. There are even a few that can be worn with nail polish or added to nail polish.
Oral Medications - These tend to be the most effective options for treatment. These medicines travel through the blood stream and work their way to the new growing portions nail. The treatment time is much shorter, usually 90 days, but there are shorter dosing options. There is a commonly held concern of potential effects on the liver. Recent research as shown a very high safety profile for these medications. We will still order blood work prior to therapy to confirm overall health.
Laser Therapy - While this technology is relatively new compare to some of the previous treatment options, it is rapidly becoming a prominent tool in our arsenal against nail fungus. It offers quick and pain free treatment options, without the need for monitoring bloodwork.
KeraFlex - This is a unique product that improves the appearance of nails during the course of treatment. The system will restore your damaged toenails to their original appearance. KeryFlex utilizes polymer resins that bond to your damaged toenails to create a sturdy, natural-looking artificial nail. It is a painless procedure. The procedure usually takes about 15 minutes to perform. After the procedure, patients can immediately return to day-to-day activities, get a pedicure, or apply nail polish and rock those high heels.
How Do I Prevent Toenail Fungus?
Wash your feet well with soap. Make sure you dry your feet well before putting on your socks. We offer anti-fungal soaps to help reduce the spread of fungus.
Wear moisture-wicking socks to help keep your feet dry
Wear shoes that breathe.
Use an anti-fungal sprays or powders after you remove your shoes each day. We offer many options in office.
Anti-perspirant powders/sprays may be need in cases of excessive moisture on the feet.
Wear footwear in locker rooms and around pool areas
Confirm your salon sterilizes their instruments and disinfects properly or bring your own instruments.
Avoid acrylic nails
If you suffer from athlete's foot be sure to treat it.
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