Toe nail fungus is a type of infection that enters your skin through the cracks on your feet or probably your nails. This can change the color of your toe or even make it thicker. This can be painful. The fungus grows on toes as most of the time the toes are moist or warm. Toenail fungus is more rampant in men as compared to women. Those who have a weak immune system, diabetes or an athlete’s foot are more prone to suffering from toe nail fungus.
Most often, this is treated with OTC drugs. This can be helpful for a short period of time but you need to be aware there is a possibility of the toe nail fungus re-occurring.
Removal of the Nail:
If the infection has become severe due to negligence and you are suffering from a lot of pain, there might be a requirement of getting this removed surgically. This decision will be taken by your doctor. Ciclopirox can be used along with the surgery. This helps in treating the nail bed. A new nail can grow back but takes around a year or so.
Anti-Fungal Oral Drugs:
If the infection is detected in the early stages, it can be possible to treat this with oral drugs that are prescribed by your Podiatrist. These drugs can help in growing of a new nail while replacing the infected one. The duration of this treatment is anywhere between 6 to 12 weeks. The new nail will start growing only after 4 months. Combining this treatment with the therapies used for antifungal can lead to the required success.
Laser Therapies and Light-based Therapies:
As laser therapies for toe nail fungus are quick and comfortable, these have gained importance with the passing of time. The laser beams and the heat energy target the fungus directly on the cell wall and cause the cell to die. This tends to increase the blood flow to the nail that is affected and help in the growth and also strengthen this. This is a preferred choice as there is no requirement of any anesthesia and also because this treatment has no side-effects. This is based on the ‘walk-in and walk-out’ therapy and works well for most.
Getting a Diagnosis:
As this toe nail fungus looks like any other condition it is advisable to get it checked by your doctor as soon as possible without any delays. You might need to consult a dermatologist (skin specialist) or a podiatrist (foot specialist). They might need to scrape of some of the infected part to get this checked from a lab. It is only then that they can diagnose this well.
Make sure you pay enough attention to your toes like the rest of your body. Wash your toes well and ensure you dry them completely. Trim toenails on a regular basis. Wash the files and clippers you use before cutting your nails. Avoid using nail polish all the time as this stops your toe nails from breathing.