Some patients use creams, lotions, or nail polish that is not approved by Health Canada to treat fungal infections of the toenails. Others use home remedies that many include vinegar and other solutions. These treatments are rarely effective.
Your podiatrist will debride your nails as much as possible and then prescribe a antifungal cream or nail varnish that must be applied for 5-12 months.
Your health care professional may also prescribe an oral medication for a fungal infection of the toenails. This treatment lasts about 12 weeks. The medication travels through the blood to the source of the infection under the nail. Keep in mind that these medications have side effects that could affect the patient’s liver and/or kidneys and as a result they require blood tests before, during and months after taking them.
Lastly, laser treatments are becoming more mainstream for these infections. The efficiency is approximately 70% and may cost hundreds of dollars.
Some patients decide not to treat a fungal infection of the toenails. It is certain that these infections do not disappear and they may worsen. Furthermore, the infection may be transmitted from one person to another. Your podiatrist will help you treat these infected toenails and offer suggestions on how to prevent them in the future.
Reasons to treat fungus infected toenails?
- The discoloration may be a source of embarrassment.
- The thickness of the nails may become painful.
- Diabetic patients or those with circulatory problems my complicate their foot health.
- Advice for fungus infection prevention:
- Keep your feet as clean and dry as possible.
- Use powder or talc to absorb humidity.
- Wear shoes that breathe and made of natural materials, such as leather.
- Wear sandals or flip-flops in public areas.
- Wear comfortable shoes that do not squeeze the toes and cause trauma.
- If you visit a beauty salon for a pedicure, ensure that the instruments are sterile from an autoclave and that the foot baths are thoroughly cleaned.