What is a Fungal Nail Infection?
To reassure you, fungal nail infections are common… Very common!
Although, they are NOT serious they can look unsightly and cause embarrassment, often they can also spread to your fingernails.
Not all thickened, discoloured nails are fungal in origin. Therefore, you should obtain a positive diagnosis of a fungal nail infection before starting any treatment plan, otherwise you could be wasting your time and money.
We can help with the diagnosis by taking clippings for you to provide to your GP for testing.
The Best Treatment Options For Fungal Nails
No treatment. If your test is positive for a fungal nail infection you can choose not to start any treatment. However, it will not disappear by itself, so as long as it doesn’t spread this may be an option if the appearance or discomfort doesn’t bother you.
Topical nail lacquer ‘Amorolfine’ may be an option if the infection is limited to 1-2 nails and does not involve the matrix. Research data on the lacquer revealed that if applied once per week for 6 months it showed efficacy of between 54-64% for toenail infections.
Further, nail polish can be applied during this period but must be removed once a week for one day to allow the lacquer to be effective. Polish can then be reapplied afterwards.
Care For Feet Podiatrists can prescribe this lacquer and we recommend clinical reduction of the nail every 8 -12 weeks to compliment home treatment.
Terbinafine tablets from the GP which you would take daily for 3-6 months, although there are some associated side effects, such as headaches, itching and diarrhea. This treatment is suitable for nails which involve the whole nail and matrix and for numerous nails. It is advisable to return to clinic every 3 months for reduction of the nail.
Surgical removal of the nail under local anaesthetic. The whole nail can be removed and once healed the skin can be treated for the fungal infection using a topical spray or cream. We would carry out this procedure in our clinic without the use of a chemical to allow the nail to regrow.
Fenestration of the nail plate. In clinic we can drill tiny holes into the nail to allow penetration of the anti fungal product to the nail bed, rapidly accessing the site of the infection.
Recent studies show significantly greater improvement in the appearance of the toenails and higher cure rates compared with topical treatment alone.
This treatment may be performed within the clinic during a routine podiatry treatment unless a longer appointment slot is required.
Nail Softening Cream. You apply the cream to the infected fungal toenail and cover with the waterproof plaster repeating daily for 2 weeks, this softens the nail allowing you to scrape off the infection. Notably, this treatment is not suitable for every person, depending on the thickness of the nail and can get a bit messy!
Please consider the following points before treating Fungal Nail:
It is important to point out that a topical athlete foot cream is no substitute for a topical nail treatment.
Concentrated Tea tree oil is NOT recommended because it has been found to cause contact dermatitis, while Dilute Tea tree oil has a negligible effect on fungal infections to be considered an effective stand alone treatment.
When commencing any nail treatment, it is important to treat the affected skin, socks and shoes at the same time to prevent re-infection and to improve treatment outcomes.
please get in touch, we look forward to seeing you soon!