Ugly Toenails

Why can’t I get rid of my toenail fungus?

Toenail fungal infections are a common problem that affects up to 20% of Americans. Known medically as onychomycosis, this condition can affect anyone, regardless of age or gender. Unfortunately, once it takes hold, it can be very difficult to cure. In this article, we will discuss the causes of toenail fungal infections, as well as medical and home remedies for treating them.  If home remedies are not effective within 1 month then it is best to have the toenails examined by a medical specialist such as a podiatrist who specializes in foot and ankle problems.

What causes it?

Toenail fungal infections are a common problem that can affect anyone, regardless of age or gender. These microscopic organisms are always looking for a new place to live and reproduce, and toenails offer the perfect entry point for fungi. Because feet are a warm, moist and often enclosed body part, they provide the ideal habitat for fungi. Toenail damage caused by repetitive friction or injury can provide a way for fungi to enter and take hold under and between the layers of the nail. Over time, fungi may even invade the nail matrix, which is responsible for growing new toenails and fingernails. It can be very difficult to cure toenail fungal infections, but there are treatments that can help treat them. 

It’s important to be aware of the additional risk factors that can contribute to the development of toenail fungus. Wearing tight shoes can create a warm, moist environment that is perfect for fungal growth. Walking barefoot in moist areas like swimming pools, saunas, and public showers can also increase your risk. Poor circulation in the legs, weakened immune system, and other skin conditions such as psoriasis can also make you more susceptible.

What Treatment Options Exist For Nail Fungus

It is important to note that relying on your immune system alone to fight the fungal infection is unlikely to be effective. Seeking treatment early is the best way to increase the likelihood of success. It still takes about 8 months for the new nail to replace the old nail so all treatments will take time to see improvement.

Treatment options may include:

  • Oral Medications.  One option is to take antifungal tablets like Lamisil or terbinafine for 90 days. Lamisil is generally safe as long as there are no concurrent medical conditions, but bloodwork is required to evaluate liver function before and during treatment.
  • Topical Treatments. It’s important to note that over-the-counter products for athlete’s foot are not effective in treating toenail fungus. If you have a fungal nail infection, doctor strength or prescription strength antifungal topicals may be prescribed by your doctor to effectively treat the fungus.
  • Laser Treatments.  Laser treatment has been shown to be effective and we will discuss if you are a good candidate for the treatment.  The gentle laser beam goes into the toenail to kill the fungal elements. 
  • Toenail Removal.  Removing a toenail is typically only considered as a last resort, and even than it’s not a guaranteed solution. However, even permanently removing the toenail comes with some risks, so it’s important to carefully consider all treatment options and consult with a doctor before making a decision.

Schedule an appointment at Renaissance Foot & Ankle Center over the phone or request online

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