Treatment for Fungal Nail Infections
Are you looking for treatment for fungal nail infection?
Fungal nails are not only one of the most common conditions that we see in clinic, but can also be one of the hardest things to treat. They can take many months to resolve. So if you want to have clear nails for summer, then winter could be the time to start treatment.
There is no “quick fix” to cure fungal nails. Although there are some things that can improve the appearance in the short term, for example for a special occasion. We have a blog about our cosmetic toenail reconstruction for you to take a look at.
The first step is diagnosis, as we always say. We carry out tests for fungal nails in clinic that give results in 5 minutes.
Fungal nail infections vary in type and severity, and we categorise them by the part of the nail affected, and how much of the nail is involved.
How do you treat fungal nails?
There are two main ways to treat fungal nail infections – topical therapy (antifungal treatments painted onto the surface of the nail) and oral therapy (antifungal tablets prescribed by a GP). However, many GPs now do not routinely prescribe oral antifungals as the infection is seen as a cosmetic issue.
Topical therapy involves painting on a lacquer or applying a spray to the affected nails. Your local Podiatrist can advise you as to which of these would be best for your nails. This will be based on the type and site of the infection. For the best results with topical treatment, we advise reducing the thickness of the affected nails, allowing the treatment to penetrate the nails more easily. We do this in clinic using a small electric bur, carefully removing as much of the infected nail as possible.
Another way to reduce the nails is using chemical reduction using urea cream. This softens the nail to gently remove it and then topical treatments can be applied to the nail bed beneath.
Any topical treatment needs to be applied to the nail until it has grown fully clear. If there are any segments of nail still affected by the fungus, then the infection can begin to spread again once treatment is stopped.
How long does treatment for fungal nail infection take?
Whether you treat nail fungus with topical or oral therapy, depending on how much of the nail is affected, it can take up to a year for full resolution. Treatment for fungal nail infection takes dedication to applying the treatment needed!
Also, as we’ve discussed in other blogs here, it is important to treat the skin for any athlete’s foot at the same time. Nail and skin infections often occur together.
Once the nail beneath the cuticle is infected, then the best treatment is oral therapy, or full chemical removal of the nail followed by topical treatment. This is because it is not possible to apply topical treatment underneath the cuticle to the full nail.
So the sooner you start treatment for fungal nail infection, and the less nail is affected, the quicker and easier the cure.
If you want to get your nails checked out, you can book online to see us here.
If you want to take a dive into more information - DermnetNZ is a great resource!