A Podiatrist’s Treatment Plan For Toenail Fungus

There are several remedies that can be done to treat toenail fungus. Some would rather have the easy way and take some ingredients from the kitchen. Others prefer a quicker but a not-so-sure way of treating the symptoms. They accept over-the-counter medication to be more convenient and also an effective solution for the condition. And there are those who would go a step further and consult a specialist for the most appropriate medication for their fungal infection. Here is how podiatrists normally manage and treat such a nail fungus.


Best Toenail Fungus Treatment

Toenail fungus is also known as onychomycosis. This nail condition is caused by fungi such as dermatophytes (tinea unguium), yeasts, as well as nondermatophyte molds. At the onset, the condition is asymptomatic, meaning it can be present without being detected as insignificant. Anyone who has it will feel nothing but will just see either a whitish or yellowish tinge on the tips of the nails.

However, as the condition progresses, it can make exercising, walking, even standing difficult. Once the condition gets worse, the affected nail thickens, becomes brittle, breaks, and even falls off. A foul odor also comes out from the affected nails.

The Podiatry Network indicates that  public places where the nails are usually exposed and get in contact with contaminated floors, lockers, tools, and equipment as these fungi thrive in warm and wet environments. They are also highly contagious. Thus, a person who gets to touch another person with the infection or gets to use equipment or towels that the person with the infection used will most likely be infected as well. People with other health conditions like diabetes, heart problems, as well as those weak immune systems are also susceptible to catching the fungus.

It is very challenging to treat such condition as the fungus multiply quite rapidly. Even if a treatment is able to eliminate the fungi in an affected area, it may still be infected again as soon as the nails or the skin gets into contact with something or someone with the fungi.

Podiatrists deal with the fungal infection in this manner:

1. A full medical history of the patient is first considered. A podiatrist first determines the underlying issues that may affect the treatment method intended for the existing condition. He needs to take note of any medication that the patient may be taking as well as any health history that may affect his choice of treatment for the fungal infection.

2. The patient undergoes a physical exam. This will help determine the extent of the damage on the affected area. At this point, the podiatrist will characterize the condition of the patient.

3. A lab analysis will ensue. To further determine the real condition affecting the nails a sample of the nails is sent for a lab analysis. Once the exact nature of the nail condition is determined, the podiatrist will specify the courses of action that the patient has to take.

Treatments that may be prescribed to the patients are as follows:

1. Oral Treatments. Lamisil (terbinafine), Diflucan (fluconazole), and Sporanox (itraconazole) are the common oral treatments prescribed for Toenail Fungus. Treatment usually takes around three months with this type of treatment.

Oral treatments have known side effects such as dizziness, stomach pain, skin rash, irritation, mouth sores, and more. It may even affect the kidneys and may lead to jaundice. While there are patients who respond well to the medication, there are some who do not respond to oral medication. In cases like this, topical treatments are given as alternative solutions.

2. Topical treatments. Topical treatments are applied directly to the affected areas. They are more suitable for those who have liver problems. However, it may take longer for this type of treatment to take effect. Nonetheless, as there are good topical treatments, the fungal infection can be treated effectively after some time.

3. Laser treatment. Laser treatment is a newer treatment method. However, many have found this method to be effective. It targets the fungal infection under the nails without even damaging the nails. Experts indicate that the remedy may be done quite quickly. However, there are some fungi that remain under the nails after the treatment. Hence, it is more likely that the condition will still recur.

4. Surgical treatments. There are some patients who may ask to have the nails that have been infected by the fungi to be totally removed. After some time a new nail will grow from where the nail is removed. However, if the fungi managed to damage even the matrix cells (this is where new nails usually start to grow), there will be no chance for new nails to grow if the matrix cells will also be removed. In this case, the matrix cells can either be soaked in chemicals like phenol or sodium hydroxide. It can also be surgically cut out. Stitches will be visible in this area for some time.

Home Remedies For Toenail Infections

Some would rather opt to use home remedies to treat fungal infection. Here are some remedies that are proven to be effective in treating toenail infections:

1. Essential oils. Essential oils are used as a cheaper alternative to prescription medications. Even then, many have experienced a great improvement in their condition after some time. Lavender oil, tea tree oil, olive oil, and sunflower oil are just some of the natural treatment alternatives for fungal infection.

2. Snakeroot extract. A study conducted by the Centro de Investigación Biomédica del Sur indicated that application of the plant extract for more than three months has been effective in clearing the fungi from the infected area. The study also impressed that this alternative remedy is as effective as the prescription medication Penlac (ciclopirox).

3. Vicks Vaporub. An interesting research proved that this over-the-counter mentholated ointment has been effective in clearing out the toenail fungi from 18 participants who have this condition.

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