Do you avoid wearing sandals or going barefoot due to yellowed, thick and cracked toenails? These are tell-tale signs of toenail fungus, which can be an unsightly and embarrassing problem. With help from your doctor at Fox Valley Foot Specialists in Naperville, IL, toenail fungus can be treated and even cured.
What is toenail fungus?
Fungi live in moist and warm environments and can enter the skin through cuts so small they are invisible to the human eye. It can also get into the skin through the opening between the toenail and skin beneath it. Due to the toes having less blood flow than fingers, toenails are more susceptible to fungus than fingernails. Toes are also usually enclosed in socks and shoes, making the perfect breeding ground for fungi. Males are more susceptible to toenail fungus though women may suffer from fungal infections as well.
What are the treatment options for toenail fungus?
While there are many options for dealing with toenail fungus, some of the more popular treatments include:
- Over-the-counter medication: You can find various anti-fungal medications in the form of creams or liquids at any drugstore. However, stronger prescription drugs may be needed for more severe cases.
- Oral prescriptions: Oral anti fungal drugs may be prescribed to beat the infection from the inside out. Results are not seen until the new nail is grown completely in.
- Medicated polish/cream: Your doctor may prescribe topical creams or nail polishes to treat fungal infections. These remedies have not proven to be as effective as oral medications.
- Laser therapy: Laser treatment uses a concentrated stream of light directed at the toenail to kill the infection-causing fungus. The laser penetrates the hard outer layers of the toenail down into the nail’s bed, which topical medications may not be strong enough to do.
- Surgery: In the most severe cases, nail removal surgery may be required. A new nail normally grows in place of the removed toenail.
If over-the-counter anti fungal medications are not working for your condition, Dr. Brendon J. McCarthy, D.P.M. at Fox Valley Foot Specialists in Naperville, IL can work with you to create a specialized treatment plan. Please call (630) 548-3900 for more information.