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Fungal Nail Infection Treatment

Fungal Nail Infection Treatment

foot with fungal nail infection

Fungal Nail Infection Treatment in Edgware

At Podiatry Station we provide various treatments for fungal nail infections. Fungal infections on your feet can appear on the skin, where it is known as Athlete's Foot, or within the toenails.

The most common presentation of fungal nail infection on the skin is in between the toes. However, it can also appear anywhere on the soles. You may have a mild rash like lesion or the more severe pus-filled lesions, which are also extremely painful.

In a fungal infected toenail, the nail becomes thicker, discoloured, and crumbly, with visible colour changes, which make the nail cosmetically very unattractive and often a source of embarrassment.

In the absence of treatment the fungal nail infection within the skin may progress to your toenails. Therefore, it is important to seek treatment as soon as possible.

What causes the fungal nail infections?

Fungal nail infections can be caused by a number of different fungal species, which are most commonly picked up in communal changing areas and/or swimming pools. Athlete’s Foot can also spread from human contact, and people who sweat excessively are much more prone to infection.

Once your feet have been contaminated, the warm, dark and sweaty environment of feet crammed in shoes or trainers provides the ideal breeding ground for the fungus. However, Athlete’s Foot also occurs in dry and flaky areas. It’s quite common in summer with sandal wearers. The sun makes your skin dry out, so it loses its natural protective oils. This combined with the constant trauma from sandals makes them more prone to infection.

Is fungal nail serious?

If left untreated, the fungus can spread to the toenails causing thickening and yellowing of the nail, which is much harder to treat. Fungal infections are highly contagious and can spread to anywhere on your skin; including your scalp, hands and even your groin. This is especially likely if you use the same towel for your feet, as for the rest of your body. It is always best to treat this condition as soon as symptoms are first noticed.

Who gets fungal nail infections?

It’s not called Athlete’s Foot for no reason! It’s a common condition. Walking barefoot around swimming pools and spending your life in trainers makes you more likely to suffer from Athlete's Foot. But, you do not need to be an athlete to suffer from this condition.

Anybody who's immune system is compromised is likely to get a fungal infection. Pregnant women are also at a much higher risk of catching a fungal infection.

Many patients may get a fungal infection of their toenails following an episode of trauma to the nail. This maybe something as small as dropping a food tin on your toenail or hitting it against some furniture.

How do I prevent fungal nail infections?

The most important thing is to ensure your feet are completely dry after washing them, as well as before you put your shoes and socks on. However, there are many things you can do to make your feet less hospitable to fungal infections.

Firstly, change your footwear on a regular basis. There’s no point sorting your feet out if you constantly re-infect them by putting them into damp, fungal-infected shoes. It takes 24-48 hours for shoes to dry out properly, so alternate your shoes daily. To help shoes dry out more quickly, take any insoles out. Also, loosen laces and open your shoes out fully so that air can circulate. Choose trainers with ventilation holes.

Let air circulate between the toes by going for a wider, deeper toe box, and choose shoes made from natural materials. Off-course, you should also be changing your socks daily.

Wear flip-flops in the bathroom and in public showers. This will not only ensure that you don’t leave your dead skin around for others to pick up, but will also stop you picking up other species of fungus. Never wear anyone else’s shoes, trainers or slippers.

Fungal Nail Infection Treatment

Treatment Options for Fungal Nail Infections

The Podiatrist will examine your toenails and advise you on the best course of treatment depending on the severity of the symptoms.

Before any treatment plan is decided we will confirm the diagnosis of a fungal nail infection. This is a very important part of the treatment as sometimes the nail may look like its infected when it is not. Treating a toenail for fungal infections, without knowing for sure it is a fungal infection, would be a total waste of time and money. Therefore, in order to give you the most accurate treatment plan we strongly advise you to get the nail tested at our clinic.

This is a very quick and painless procedure which can be done at the time of consultation. Not only is this test reliable, the test results are given within 5-minutes, which means that there is no delay in your treatment.

Once the diagnosis has been confirmed, the Podiatrist will talk you through your treatment options.

1. Laser Therapy

Laser Therapy involves directing light energy into damaged tissues to accelerate the body's natural healing process.  The laser is placed in contact with the skin which enables light photons to penetrate the tissues and interact with molecules within the cells to cause several biomechanical effects.  The Podiatrist will then enhance the action of the Laser by removing as much damaged nail as possible so that the laser beams can work at clearing up the infected tissue.  By increasing the blood flow to the area and decreasing the inflammatory cells the Laser promotes healing and significantly helps speed up the recovery process.

Click here to find out more about the MLS Laser!

2.  Topical Anti-Fungal Ointment

The nail can be cut back and the fungus physically scrapped out. A topical anti-fungal ointment would then be applied by the Podiatrist. The patient would then need to continue with the application of the anti-fungal ointment on a weekly / daily basis. If this treatment option was selected then the patient often needs to return every 6 weeks in order to keep the nail to a minimum, to give the best results and outcome.

3.  Lacuna Method Fungal Nail Treatment

A simple effective treatment for fungal nails. This relatively new treatment is changing the way Podiatrists deal with fungal nail infections. The Lacuna Method treatment for fungal nails works by painlessly drilling many tiny micro holes (fenestration) into the infected nail plate through to the skin under the nail (the nail bed). Following the first part of the treatment where the nails are micro drilled, the nails are then treated with an antifungal spray, which passes through these holes directly to the source of infection; the infected nail bed. With daily application at home of the anti-fungal agent, the infection in the nail bed is cleared and the damaged nail grows out. It should be noted that, without delivery of a fungicidal agent to the source of the infection, clearance of the infection is highly unlikely.

Click here to find out more about Lacuna Method, a simple effective treatment for fungal nails. 

4.   Complete Nail Removal

In some cases, the damage to the nail maybe so severe that none of the above options are suitable.  In that case we often recommend that the patient may wish to remove the nail completely. Nail Surgery only requires one visit and is quick, easy and painless.

Click here to find out more on our Nail Surgery page.

5.  Nail Reconstruction

Some patients choose not to have any treatment on their fungal nails and are instead  happy to just “cover it up".  Nail Reconstruction allows the patient to do this in a safe and clean manner.  After the nail has been cut and cleared up the Podiatrist will then make a medically reconstructed nail on top of your existing nail.

It is a flexible, UV Gel specially designed for toenails, as it is made from an extremely elastic gel resin that can bond to a surface, add strength and harden with a glossy finish, whilst at the same time adapting to the movements of the toe. The reconstructed nail is a strong adhesive and can be used on scaly nail surfaces, damaged nails, growing nails or even on calloused layers of skin where the toenail may be missing. It does, however, work best where there is some nail to adhere to.

It provides a protective covering for growing nails, or even Psoriatic nails and offers an excellent, natural looking prosthesis suitable for both men and women. We do not use any aggressive acidic primers, which damage the natural nail plate and as the gel cures to a flexible surface, it should not damage or hinder the natural nail growth. Nail reconstruction is especially useful for patients with fungal nails and although it will not treat or cure fungal nails, it is non-porous so can help limit the spread of fungal nails.

This treatment can be used in conjunction with fungal nail treatment either in the form of topical cream or oral anti-fungal treatment and offers a cosmetically pleasing look, providing a smooth, ridge-free base should you wish to apply nail polish.

Once the nail has been applied it will look like, and cut just like, an ordinary toenail. It may need refilling every 6-8 weeks. Certain activities, footwear and excess pressure can affect how long a nail reconstruction may last.

Laser therapy

Laser Therapy for Fungal Nails

At Podiatry Station we strive to remain ahead of our competitors, by offering our patients the latest treatment options with the use of modern technology. Laser Therapy is used for a number of conditions, including recovery of fungal nail infections.

Read more about Laser Therapy

Are you suffering from toenail or foot problems?

See a specialist at Podiatry Station