Over time you may have noticed your toenails becoming thicker or changing colors. An itchy rash on your feet or legs can also accompany this change in nails. These are two indications of onychomycosis, a fungal infection of the toenail, which is also the same cause of the more commonly known Athlete’s Foot.
What causes toenail fungus?
Onychomycosis is caused by organisms found in soil which thrive on the dead cells which make up your nails. Thus fungal infection most commonly occurs in toenails due to your feet being enclosed by socks and shoes that lock in moisture, creating an environment for the fungus to thrive. The infection results in thick, crusted, powdery toenails which can become painful or bleed.
Toenail fungus is a more serious issue in those who are diabetic or suffer from blood circulation problems. Should a break in the kin occur and an infection develops, this can be more difficult to treat and may result in hospitalization.
Treatment options for toenail fungus can include oral and/or topical medications. Oral medication is usually administered for a total of 12 weeks. This type of treatment requires a set of lab tests to be taken and reviewed with a possible second set of tests mid-treatment to ensure your body is reacting well to the medication.
Topical treatments for toenail fungus include medication brushed on the nail bed nightly. This treatment is designed to penetrate the infected nail and eliminate the fungus.
It is important to note it takes a full year for a toenail to grow out fully and normally, thus you most likely will not see immediate results from your medication.
Does laser treatment for toenail fungus work?
The use of laser in treating toenail fungus is relatively new, however has shown to be quite effective in conjunction with topical or oral medication. Requiring up to 3 treatments, this option is painless with no downtime.
How can a dermatologist help me with toenail fungus?
When over the counter medications just don’t seem to do the job, a board-certified dermatologist or dermatology physician assistant are here to help you effectively treat your toenail fungus. Working with you to create a treatment plan which is both time and cost efficient, our providers use the most advanced treatment options to get you back on your feet in as little time as possible. If you’re ready to put your bare feet forward, contact our office to schedule an appointment.