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Sol Foot & Ankle Centers

Do I Have a Nail Fungus? What are the Treatment Options?

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Nail fungus is common problem that we commonly treat at Sol Foot & Ankle Centers.  Read through the quick FAQ'S below for help and answers to common questions about nail fungus and treatment for your infected toenails.

What is the best way to treat my toenail fungus?

Once a fungal diagnosis has been confirmed there are a variety of available treatment options including topical medication, oral medication, laser treatment and, in rare cases, removing the toenail. 

The best treatment for your nail fungus will depend on a variety of factors, such as: the severity of your condition, how many nails are involved, whether or not it is painful, if you have other medical conditions, and the type of fungus causing the infection.  Because of the numerous possibilities it is always advised to have your feet and nails evaluated by a podiatrist.

Can I get rid of my nail fungus with topical treatments, such as liquids, polishes or creams?

The chances of eradicating your nail fungus with topical treatment are, at best, 50%.  It requires you to religiously apply the medication every day for several months or even years and also to keep up with trimming and filing the nail (or having that performed by a podiatrist). 

There are now three topical medications that are FDA approved to treat nail fungus and. Two of those medications are brand new to the market and will hopefully provide improved success rates in the future. The third medication, ciclopirox nail lacquer, has been on the market for approximately 15 years and is now available as a generic.

Unfortunately ciclopirox was found to cure nail fungus at a rate of only of 12% in clinical studies.  Topical medications may be effective at preventing recurrence of a nail fungus or treating very mild cases, but are rarely used as a primary treatment for nail fungus.

I’ve heard about this new laser treatment for fungal toenails. Is laser treatment effective?

We are having a success rate of approximately 75% percent treating nails with the Pinpointe Footlaser. As with other treatments, effectiveness is affected by the severity of the initial nail condition and how long the nails have been infected.

It is also important that patients comply with instructions for using a topical medication after the laser treatment has been performed. In addition, multiple treatments may be necessary to completely eradicate the problem.

What’s the deal with oral medications to treat nail fungus? I’ve heard they can hurt my liver.

Treatment with oral medication remains the most effective means of getting rid of nail fungus with a success rate of more than 80%. In the past, oral medications were avoided because of the risk of side effects and the cost of the medications. Fortunately, the medications most commonly used today, terbinafine and itraconazole, have proven to be very safe.

It is often advised to obtain a blood test to check the liver prior to starting the medication, but our patients have never suffered any significant side effects related to the liver. In addition, both medications are now available generically and a course of terbinafine can be purchased for less than a hundred dollars at most pharmacies.

How can I find out which of the treatments will work best for me?

The most important thing to do when you have a fungal infection in the nail is to see a podiatrist who is experienced with all of the treatment options, and who utilizes a specialty lab for fungus testing.

The doctor, or preferably a podiatrist, should present you with all of the treatment options and the chances of success in your case. Then you will have the information necessary to decide on the treatment that works best with your lifestyle and comfort level.

 

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