Toenail fungus causes your nail to thicken and turn yellow. When you have it, you may be embarrassed to remove your shoes or wear sandals. Fungal infections might just be cosmetic sometimes, but other times they can cause pain when you walk or wear shoes. Toenail fungus is difficult to get rid of with over-the-counter treatments. An infection can go on for years. Seeing a foot specialist for medical care is the best way to clear up an infection. Here are some of the treatment options your specialist may recommend.
Your foot doctor may give you a prescription for oral anti-fungal medication that works on the infection from the inside. The medication flows through your bloodstream to attack the fungus under the nail. You may also be given medication to apply on the surface of the nail much like nail polish. It might take several months of taking the medication daily to kill off the fungus. Once the fungus is gone, you may have to wait several months more for your toenail to grow out and eliminate the damaged portion of the nail.
If your nail is damaged by the fungus to the point where it is crumbly or gummy, the podiatrist may remove a portion of the nail by scraping away the infected materials. If your infection is severe enough to interfere with normal walking and daily activities, or if other treatments fail, the podiatrist may completely remove the toenail and the fungus infection along with it.
Laser treatments for toenail fungus are fairly new, but they are quite effective. The fungus could be killed in a single treatment. There is no pain or discomfort associated with the procedure and no downtime needed for recovery. The podiatrist shines the laser light on your nail and the light penetrates the nail to reach the fungus underneath to kill it.
In addition to these medical treatments for toenail fungus, you should make lifestyle changes so the fungus doesn't return. Wear socks and shoes that allow your feet to breathe so your feet aren't damp all day. Change your socks a few times daily to ensure your feet are dry. Also, treat your shoes with an ultraviolet light or fungicide to make sure they are free from fungus that could reinfect your toe. Toenail fungus is contagious, so it can spread to your other toes or you can reinfect yourself if you don't guard against it. Talk with a place like Oregon Foot Clinic for more help.