Written by Dr. Ringpfeil
Nail fungus is an embarrassing and stubborn condition that negatively impacts both health and self-confidence. What’s more frustrating is that nail fungus has a high recurrence rate after treatment. Therefore, our providers treat as well as take the time to teach our patients on how to prevent and cope with nail fungus.
Nail fungus, or onychomycosis, is one of many conditions that can change the appearance of the nails. Signs of a fungal infection in the nail include yellowing, thickening, crumbling, or lifting of the nail.
Debris underneath the nail can also be indicative of fungus. Sometimes nail fungus can accompany a rash on the feet or hands.
Sometimes nail fungus can accompany a rash on the feet or hands. Individuals with longstanding athlete’s foot are more prone to contracting toenail fungus.
Nail fungus is diagnosed by clipping an infected nail in the office and sending the small specimen to an outside lab for analysis. Nail fungus should be treated in individuals with comorbidities like diabetes, as they are more prone to complications from infection. Treatment is possible, but often hampered by the high recurrence rate associated with nail fungus.
Medication and laser treatments are available to treat fungal infection of the nails. Our providers utilize oral and topical medications to treat nail fungus, but do not perform laser treatment.
Oral antifungal medication, such as Lamisil, is one of the most effective treatment options for nail fungus. It can clear a fungal infection in the fingernails after 6 weeks of treatment and in the toenails after 3 months of treatment. Because this medication is metabolized through the liver, we require routine blood work while taking an oral antifungal to monitor the health of the liver.
Topical antifungal medications are available both over the counter and by prescription. These medications vary in strength and formulation. These solutions and creams must be used daily for many months in order to see improvement.
The PinPointe™ Footlaser™ delivers light to the affected toenails that destroys fungus within and under the nail. This provides temporary improvement in the appearance of the toenails. Unfortunately, this treatment is not typically covered by insurance. While this laser is not available at our office, it can be found at many podiatry practices. Please visit http://www.nuvolase.com/patients/find-a-provider to find a provider near you.
TWhen toenail fungus recurs and antifungal or laser treatment is no longer desired, there are methods to improve the appearance of infected toenails. To improve the appearance of thickened toenails, topical keratolytic agents, like urea, can be applied daily. In addition, podiatrists are properly equipped with tools that can file down thickened toenails.
The Philadelphia Dermatology Center serves patients in our local area as well as surrounding cities and out-of-town. Find the most convenient route to our Philadelphia office, by selecting an area near you.