What is fungal nail infection I hear you ask yourself? Well Fungal Nail or in the foot care world “Onychomycosis” is an infection of the nail plate and the surrounding structure by fungi including yeasts, moulds and dermatophytes.
It is not always easy to identify a fungal nail infection and people often mistake other conditions as fungal nail. Usually, the nail has yellow or orange stripes running through the nail which also has a crumbly material underneath the edge of the nail, also sometimes with thickening of the nail.
They do say that between 3% and 10% of people in the UK will have a fungal nail infection at some point in their life; toenails are more commonly affected than fingernails and it is also a condition that is more common in people over 55 or in younger people who share communal areas such as shower and changing rooms. If you are thinking you may have this give me a call and book a treatment session-the sooner the better.
As For Treatment Of This Condition, You Have 6 Options:-
1) Do Nothing
Of course it is your option to do nothing, BUT, fungus in a nail rarely goes away without some form of treatment. The normal course is for the nail to get fully involved with the fungus growing from the tip to the root and then get thicker and thicker. It is not unusual to see elderly patients with nails that approach an inch thick.
2) Nail Thickness Reduction
Have your thick fungal nail reduced on a regular 6-8 week basis to prevent pain due to shoes pressing on your thick nails. This is usually performed using a high speed rotating bur that painlessly thins the nail down. This is part of the basic treatment I offer at Heel the Soles.
3) The Lacuna Method
I completed my training on this method of fungal nail treatment in April 2019.
It is a fairly straight forward procedure, involving me drilling several micro holes into each infected nail so that when Lamisil is applied it can soak right down underneath the nail to reach the fungal infection.
I have had great success with this method and offer it as a service. If you would like further information on this method there is more information here. Or give me a call. This method has been very successful with several of my patients. but it can take several months to complete (depending on the rate of nail growth)
4) Antifungal Treatments
Most people start their treatment with the use of a topical medication or a home remedy. People have tried Lamisil, Lotrimin, Micatin, Vic’s, Tea tree oil, white vinegar, or the prescription product Penlac. All of these products need to be used 2 x daily for up to a year to see results. Here at Heel the Soles I start treatment by getting my patients to use 3 drops of tea tree oil, 1 tsp of olive oil, massage onto affected nails, leave for 10 mins and then rub nail with an old toothbrush, then apply vics to nail and leave. Do this 2 x daily. If no change in nail structure appears, then I have Imperial nail mycosis oil that I have for sale for use at home. This product is used 1 x daily for 6 months. One bottle should last you that long. Ask me for details.
Unfortunately, because toenails are waterproof, quite often the treatment cannot get under the nail to were the fungal infection is and so quite often even after many months there is little sign of improvement in a lot of cases. But certainly worth a try before moving onto something else.
Some Treatments You Could Try…
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5) Oral Medicine (prescribed by your GP)
The standard for toenail fungal treatment is the oral medication Lamisil (terbinafine). This medicine is taken one tablet a day for a 90 days and studies state achieves a 75% rate of improvement. There is a slight and rare but a very real risk to the liver, kidney, and blood cells. The people who have been seriously injured probably already had damage to the various organs and there is no clinical proof that Lamisil did the damage all by itself, so because of the risks involved you would need to get laboratory proof that the condition of your nail is fungal nail before it is prescribed by your GP.
6) Laser Therapy
This is a relatively new treatment available for fungal nail. The laser treatment is performed during one visit where a laser light is passed over and through your nails to kill the fungus without damage to any of your skin or nails. It has been used thousands of times without any side effects.
With the laser treatment, there are no injections, no pills, no tests and no risks. The effectiveness is reported to be around 88%. Failures are likely to be due to damage of the nail plates, either through injury, severe long-standing fungal infection, or poor circulation or genetics. The downside to the treatment is that it is very costly; it purely depends on how many sessions are required and how many toes need the treatment. It can be up to £500 for both feet to be done.