Toenail fungus causes nails to become thick, discolored, and brittle. It is caused by a fungal infection that can affect one or more toenails. Toenail fungus is often a slow-developing condition that may not cause any symptoms initially, but it can become painful and affect the appearance of the nails over time. When you visit AIRE Podiatry Studio for toenail fungus, your podiatrist will thoroughly evaluate your affected toenail to determine the severity of the condition.
Your doctor may ask you questions about your symptoms and medical history to help make an accurate diagnosis. They may also take a sample of the affected toenail to test for the presence of fungus.
Based on the results of the evaluation, your podiatrist may recommend a treatment plan that could include one or more of the following:
Oral or topical antifungal medication
Oral and topical antifungal medications are commonly used to treat toenail fungus. These medications work by targeting the fungus causing the infection and helping prevent its growth. Oral antifungal medications are taken by mouth and can be highly effective in treating toenail fungus. They are typically prescribed for several weeks or months and may have potential side effects, such as liver damage, which is why close monitoring is needed during treatment.
Topical antifungal medications are applied directly to the affected toenail and are available as creams, gels, and nail lacquers. These medications are generally less effective than oral antifungal medications. Still, they may be recommended for mild cases of toenail fungus or to help prevent the spread of the infection to other nails.
Laser therapy is a non-invasive treatment option for toenail fungus that involves using a focused laser to target and destroy the fungus causing the infection. During the laser treatment, the laser energy is directed at the affected toenail to heat and vaporize the fungal cells, helping to eliminate the fungus.
Laser therapy is often recommended for patients who have not responded well to other treatments, such as oral or topical antifungal medications, or those who cannot take medication due to other medical conditions.
One of the benefits of laser therapy is that it does not have the potential side effects associated with oral antifungal medication, such as liver damage. The treatment is also generally painless and does not require any downtime, allowing patients to resume their normal activities immediately after the procedure.
Surgical removal of the infected toenail
Surgical removal of the infected toenail is a treatment option for severe cases of toenail fungus. This procedure is performed by a podiatrist under local anesthesia and involves completely removing the affected toenails, including the nail plate and underlying nail bed tissue.
After removing the toenails, the podiatrist may prescribe antibiotics or antifungal medication to prevent infection and promote healing. A new toenail will eventually grow back, although this may take several months. Surgical removal of the toenail is typically reserved for cases where the toenail fungus is particularly severe or has not responded well to other treatments.
If you are experiencing symptoms of toenail fungus, it is important to consult your podiatrist, who can provide a proper diagnosis and recommend the most appropriate treatment plan for your individual needs.