If you aren’t someone who wears shoes or sandals while taking a shower at your local gym or while walking around the community pool, you may end up dealing with an unpleasant problem known as a toenail fungus. Toenail fungus is caused by onychomycosis, a fungus that is also known to cause athlete’s foot and jock itch.
This condition causes the toenail to turn yellow and thick. The nail may even begin to crumble or become brittle. Sometimes the infected toenail will separate from the nail bed and cause pain. While this condition isn’t serious for most healthy individuals, the problem can be unsightly and sometimes difficult to treat.
Milder cases may not need treatment, but if the nail has become thick or uncomfortable there are certain steps you should take to get rid of the fungal infection. Usually the first course of action is to try an over-the-counter topical antifungal medication that you can apply directly to the toe.
If over-the-counter treatments don’t take care of your fungal infection, it’s time to come in to see us. We can prescribe medication to help relieve your symptoms and treat the fungus. The most common medication prescribed is oral antifungal medications, which are usually taken for about 6 to 12 weeks. Even if the fungus is effectively treated, you won’t see results until the nail has fully grown out clear, which may take a couple months.
Sometimes oral medications aren’t enough to penetrate through the nail to reach the infection. If this is the case, then it might be time to consider laser toenail fungal treatment. Laser therapy is able to safely penetrate through the nail to target and kill the fungus, without harming healthy surrounding skin and nail.
This non-invasive laser procedure doesn’t require anesthesia and usually can eliminate fungal infections within one to three treatments. Each laser treatment takes about 30 minutes to complete and boasts little to no discomfort. However, just like the medication, the nail will not immediately become clear after treatment. It will take months of regrowth before you will see a healthier, clearer nail.