You may have toenail fungus if one or more of your nails is discolored, brittle, crumbly, or thicker than normal. The condition normally develops as an infection under the surface of a nail. As the infection grows, the nail will become darker and can develop a foul odor. White marks may also develop on the nail plate, and debris may accumulate under it. The condition may also cause pain.
Because the condition causes a progressive deterioration of the toenail’s quality and color, the toenail can become ugly and embarrassing. As a result, many people affected by the condition delay seeking treatment. Unfortunately, this can worsen the condition. The earlier you seek professional treatment for toenail fungus, the easier it will be to clear the infection.
The effectiveness of treatments will vary depending on the type and severity of your infection. You’ll get the best results from working with a fungal toenail specialist. Podiatrist and foot and ankle specialist Marshall L. Lukoff, DPM, FAAFS, of Foot Care Specialists, PC, in Quincy and Dedham, Massachusetts, provides fast and effective treatment for toenail fungus. Dr. Lukoff can use treatments ranging from oral medications to cutting-edge lasers.
Home and over-the-counter treatments
The internet is filled with suggestions for home treatments. Some of the most popular treatments include apple cider vinegar, baking soda, lavender oil, and even mouthwash. You’ll also find over-the-counter options in your local drugstore. Unfortunately, you may have to go through a lot treatments before finding one that works.
Treating toenail fungus with potentially ineffective remedies can waste valuable time and allow the fungi to spread. If you have diabetes or a suppressed immune system, you also risk developing more serious infections if your toenail fungus progresses without proper treatment.
Topical nail polish and creams
Some cases of toenail fungus can be treated with prescription antifungal nail polish. The treatment involves painting the infected nails and surrounding skin once daily and removing the layers of caked-on polish weekly. This type of treatment usually requires a year of use to achieve results.
Furthermore, some cases of toenail fungus can be treated with prescription antifungal creams, which are rubbed into the infected nail. If your nails are thick due to the effects of toenail fungus, your nails may require debridement, a treatment in which your nails are thinned with a file. This allows the cream to soak through the nail to reach the underlying fungus.
Oral antifungal medications provide some of the fastest and most effective treatment for toenail fungus. With this option, you typically take antifungal pills for at least three months. If your toenail fungus is severe, you may have to apply a topical antifungal while also taking oral medication.
Oral antifungal medications don’t work for everyone. Side effects can include abdominal pain, headache, rash, and diarrhea. Since they can cause liver and kidney damage, you may need regular blood tests to check your liver and kidney functions. Oral antifungal medications may cause adverse effects when taken with other medications, so this solution may not be appropriate if you’re being treated for other conditions.
If you have a severe case of toenail fungus, you may benefit from the removal of the infected toenail so antifungal medication can be applied directly to the infection. Your nail can be removed nonsurgically with the application of a chemical or through a traditional surgical procedure. A new, healthy nail typically takes about a year to grow in completely.
CoolTouch CoolBreeze Laser
Depending on the condition of your toenail fungus, you may benefit from treatment with the CoolTouch CoolBreezeTM Laser. This cutting-edge system uses focused light to penetrate under the surface of infected toenails. It removes toenail fungus in three painless treatments without side effects. Because the laser uses targeted energy, the surrounding nail tissue remains intact and unharmed. Dr. Lukoff has the expertise necessary to administer this treatment safely and effectively to give you the fastest option for the removal of your toenail fungus.
To get treatment for your toenail fungus, book an appointment online or over the phone with Foot Care Specialists, PC today.