Fungal nail infections result from an overgrowth of the fungus under the finger or toenails. They usually develop if you’ve come into contact with somebody with a fungal nail condition or you’ve been wearing shoes for a long time with a high fungal load.
Fungal nail infections can be unpleasant. Signs of infection include brittle nails, a foul odor coming from the nail, or a nail that has lifted from its bed (and looks twisted). They can also be painful.
Fungal nails won’t usually disappear by themselves. But, fortunately, there are several ways that you can treat fungal nail infections and get on the path back to health.
There are several over-the-counter options and home remedies that you can use to treat fungal nail infections. These typically contain agents that you apply topically that kill the surrounding fungus. The active ingredient in many products is terbinafine hydrochloride. It’s a chemical with proven action against fungal infections.
You can also try using natural products. Many remedies contain natural antifungals such as tea tree. However, the effectiveness of over-the-counter remedies is not clear. Studies show mixed results.
If your fungal infection is persistent, your doctor may prescribe prescription polish and creams. Most prescription medications contain either terbinafine or itraconazole.
Antifungal nail paint is a type of topical that remains on the surface of your nails for many days during the course of treatment. Researchers don’t consider it as effective as oral administration as it doesn’t always penetrate the deeper layers of the nail bed. However, topical treatments are generally free from side-effects, making them a popular first choice for many patients,
Your doctor or podiatrist may write you a prescription for oral medications if they expect that other forms of treatment will be ineffective. They may ask you to take the previously-mentioned terbinafine and itraconazole as well as other antifungals, such as fluconazole and griseofulvin.
Depending on the severity of the infection, your physician may ask you to use medications for many months. They may also recommend that you combine topical and oral treatments to hit the infection from multiple angles.
Preventing Fungal Nail
Once your fungal nail infection clears, you may want to take steps to prevent it from occurring again. Fungal nail infections can lead to complications such as loss of self-esteem, problems with exercising, injury to the surrounding skin and impaired sense of touch in the affected fingers and toes.
To protect yourself:
- Reduce your use of nail polish
- Only get manicures and pedicures from reputable salons
- Dry your feet properly after a shower
- Don’t walk barefoot in public places
- Wear clean and fresh shoes
If you have an active fungal nail issue, visit Be Podiatry for foot and ankle care. We can provide you with a range of treatments to get rid of fungal nail and help stop it from recurring in the future.