Do you have a toenail fungus infection? If so, you know how frustrating and embarrassing the condition can be. You may shy away from the spa, the pool, or even just wearing open-toed shoes in nice weather. And you may feel alone.
But here’s something you may not know: toenail fungus is more common than you’d think. It’s hard to get a perfect estimate since people are often uncomfortable talking about it, but it’s thought that up to 35 million Americans have a fungal infection in at least one toe.
And we have even better news. Modern treatments (and a little discipline) are able to offer much higher success and cure rates than ever before. It will take a little time, but if you’re ready to get those clear and healthy nails back, we can absolutely help you.
Treatment for Fungal Toenails
Our office provides several potential treatments for fungal toenails, based on your needs or lifestyle. However, we’ll always start with a comprehensive and complete exam.
In short, we won’t just look at your toenails—we’ll do a full evaluation of your foot and nail health. Many conditions need to be detected early in order to give you the best chance of treatment success, and our comprehensive exam may reveal and issue that needs further attention.
After a comprehensive exam, we may recommend one of several treatment options for your fungal nails.
Jublia is new prescription topical medication for fungal toenails that has proven not only very successful, but simple, easy to manage at home, and very safe with low incidence of side effects. For most of our patients, it is the best overall combination of convenience and effectiveness.
With Jublia, you simply need to apply a thin layer of the medication at home, once per day for 48 weeks, with the included applicated brush. About 10-15 minutes after you bathe or shower, when your nails and feet are clean and dry, apply the medicine to each infected nail and the surrounding skin. Then, wash your hands with soap and water afterward.
It only takes a minute or two, and you can make it part of your regular routine.
Jublia has two major advantages over older topical treatment options:
- Jublia does not require the toenail to be debrided or thinned on a weekly basis in order to work properly. You simply need to apply it every day.
- Despite this, Jublia has a much higher success rate than conventional topical treatments—and as good as or better than oral medications.
You may notice an improvement in your symptoms much earlier than 48 weeks. However, it’s important to continue the full treatment course as directed to be sure that the fungi have been completely eradicated.
Other Treatment Options
Other treatment options we can provide include:
- Oral medications. In the past, this has been the most common treatment option. The advantage is a shorter treatment course of just 12 weeks, rather than 48. However, oral medications have more contraindications and drug interactions and a higher risk of more significant side effects, including headaches, dizziness, abdominal pain, and allergic reactions.
- Laser treatment. Laser toenail treatments typically require 2-4 brief sessions at our office, where we use laser energy to attack the fungi underneath the nail. This is a very safe treatment option with no known side effects; however, cure rates are somewhat lower than other options.
One limitation of any fungal toenail treatment is the slow growth rate of toenails. Even if you kill all of the fungi, you would still have to wait for the damaged and deformed portion of nail to grow out and slowly be replaced by healthy nail tissue.
If you don’t want to wait that long, we also offer KeryFlex nail restoration at our office. This is an aesthetic treatment that allows us to restore the appearance of a healthy nail by remodeling it and bonding it to a medical grade composite resin.
The remodeled nail is firm yet flexible, non-porous, and unaffected by polishes, acetone, or detergents. It looks, feels, moves, and breathes just like a natural nail, and will not prevent new nail growth or get in the way of other treatment methods.
KeryFlex is not itself a treatment for fungal nails, but it can provide the immediate benefit of healthy-looking nails while medical treatments are used to eliminate the underlying fungi.
Fungal Toenail Prevention
Once your toenail fungus is gone, you’ll want to make sure it doesn’t come back! Here is what we recommend.
- Wash and dry your feet every day. Make sure you get between the toes, too.
- Keep your nails neatly trimmed. Not too long, not too short. And don’t share your equipment with anyone else.
- Don’t wear damp or sweaty socks and shoes. Change your socks as soon as they get damp, even if that means more than once per day. Rotate between pairs of shoes so you let each dry out fully for more than 24 hours.
- Use antifungal powders or sprays on feet and shoes. This simply daily routine can prevent fungi from finding a foothold.
- Don’t go barefoot in public. You should always be protected by shower shoes or flip flops when relaxing at the pool or using public facilities.
- Be careful where you get your pedicures. This is so important to us that we founded our own medical spa. We sterilize all tools in a medical grade autoclave, and never reuse disposable of single-use tools. We even have pipeless foot baths that are easy to clean and will not recirculate contaminated water. If you want the safest, healthiest, most relaxing pedicure with the lowest risk of infection transmission, we hope you’ll give us a try!
If you’re sick of your fungal toenails and you want to restore them to a healthy, clear shine, please give Silicon Valley Podiatry Group a call today. You can reach our office at (408) 358-2666.