Nail fungus can occur on the fingers or toes. The nails usually thicken, discolor, disfigure, and/or split. While it can initially be a cosmetic problem, these infections can also cause pain and irritation as the toenails thicken and press against the inside of shoes.
Nail fungus is caused by fungi, yeast, and moles. There are many causes including trauma to the nails, the use of non-sterilized mani/pedi equipment, going barefoot in a public locker rooms or showers, immunosuppression, diabetes, etc.
- Wash hand sand feet after contacting another person
- Do not go barefoot in locker rooms or public showers
- Use anti-fungal sprays in shoes
- When getting a manicure or pedicure, make sure the instruments are sterilized
- Do not pick or chew fingernails and trim nails regularly
- Wear protective gloves when washing dishes with chemical cleansers
- Have your athletes foot treated
There are a variety of treatment options ranging from topical to oral medications depending on the severity of the infection. Generally, nail fungus is not treated unless the nail fungus is causing pain because of thickened nails.
Topical anti-fungal lacquers, creams, or solutions can be prescribed to treat nails. These medications must be applied daily and take up to a year to work. Efficacy of topical medications depends on the severity.
Oral medications are effective treatments for nail fungus; however, nail fungus is difficult to treat and often recurs because of continued exposure to fungus through shoes, showers, etc. The oral medications also have some disadvantages, including the risk of liver disease, nausea, and stomach pain. The use of these medications, therefore, is not an option for everyone. The use of oral medications also requires close monitoring with blood tests and follow up appointments.
Surgery or Laser Treatment
Surgery to remove an infected fingernail or toenail is most effective when combined with oral and topical medications. Laser therapy can kill the pathogens causing nail fungus, but can be mildly uncomfortable for the patient. We do not offer surgery or laser treatment for nail fungus; however, Dr. Lily does prescribe oral and topical medications.
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