Fungal nails refers to any number of fungal nail infections that can occur on the foot. Since fungal nails are usually more resistant and more difficult to treat than Athlete's Foot, topical or oral antifungal medications may be prescribed. Full change of the nail color and thickness is generally not seen until 10-12 months after beginning oral or laser nail treatment. Topical medications have a low efficacy and oral medications may work from 50-80% of the time. Oral medications require a simple blood test to make sure your liver enzymes are normal prior to treatment. In rare instances, you may get side effects affecting the liver, blood, or other systems in your body. Laser treatment for fungal nails is a new treatment without many of the side effects that oral medications may cause. Permanent nail removal is another possible form of treatment for tenacious fungal nails.
Click on FUNGAL LASER NAIL TREATMENT for more information.
Preventing Fungal Nail Infections
After a fungal nail infection has cleared up, take steps to prevent the infection from recurring. All your shoes should be free and clear of the the fungal microbes or you are susceptible to a reinfection. You can use a Steri-shoe UV light device to kill all the fungi in your shoe or get a entire new shoe wardrobe. Before bed, thoroughly wash and dry your feet, and apply a nonprescription antifungal cream to the entire foot from the ankle down. Use the cream every night, then gradually apply it less often. Keep your feet dry. Dry feet are less likely to become infected. Apply powder to your dry feet after you take a shower or bath.
Other suggestions for preventing fungal nails include:
- Don't share nail clippers or nail files with others.
- Don't share shoes or socks with others.
- Try not to injure your nail, such as by cutting it too short (trauma to the nail may lead to infections).
- Wear dry cotton socks and change them two or three times a day if necessary.
- Wear dry shoes that allow air to circulate around your feet (tight, enclosed, moist shoes contribute to fungal toenail infections).
- Wear shower sandals or shower shoes when you are at a public pool or shower.
Follow basic foot care guidelines and, more than likely, you can head off most common foot fungus problems.