A Future Free of Fungal Nails Starts NOW!

by | May 1, 2019

It’s always good to have something to look forward to in the future. Maybe you have a vacation on the warm sands of The Bahamas coming up, or your big wedding day is approaching!

(Or maybe you’re going to spend a day at Lake Michigan or a few nights out on the town. That’s great, too!)

Whatever you are looking forward to, there is likely some preparation involved. You’ll want to pack, get tickets, call up your friends, etc. Make sure it all happens in good time.

However, if you have unsightly fungal nails and would like to spend your event with them looking much clearer or downright perfect, you need to get on that right now!

Some things take more time than others. Treating fungal nails, unfortunately, is one of them.

Why are Fungal Toenails So Hard to Get Rid of?

The fungus that can take up residence in toenails can be of a number of different varieties. One of them is also responsible for athlete’s foot, so it has a fine history of being a terrible annoyance to humans.

One trait most of these fungi have in common is that they are awfully stubborn. They spread and multiply deep into nail tissue, making them difficult to access and treat directly. The toenails that have a job of protecting the toes beneath from problems are now being used as a thick, brittle, crumbly shield for fungus.

Treatment for fungal toenails may involve topical anti-fungal creams. They can be effective, but only when they reach the fungus itself. This may mean filing the infected nails down so the ointments have a better chance of sinking in and reaching the “lair” of the fungus.

Another option is oral anti-fungal medications, in the form of pills or liquid medicine that can be swallowed. These have the benefit of attacking the fungus “from the inside out,” so to say, which can make them more effective than topical creams in some cases (and with less effort).

The downside of oral antifungal medications, however, comes in the form of potential side effects. In some cases, these may be minor and likely tolerable (e.g. a rash, redness, or a bit of stomach upset). In rare cases, however, a medication may cause liver damage in some patients. This makes certain anti-fungal medicines something that cannot be recommended to all patients—especially those with a history of liver damage or illness.

Ultimately, treatment for fungal toenails can be complicated and take effort. We must ensure that the proper medicines are being used and that they are reaching the target well. Sometimes this includes testing a sample of the fungus to know exactly what we are dealing with.

No fungal toenail treatment currently exists that immediately gets rid of toenail fungus—even high-tech laser treatments. All of them take from a few weeks to a few months for ultimate results, depending on the severity of the fungus when treatment started.

Once a fungus has been completely eradicated from the nails, the battle for a great look still isn’t completely over. Just because the fungus is gone does not mean the toenails that have been damaged by it immediately recover. That part is a lost cause, unfortunately, and you must wait for new nail tissue to grow out and replace it.

 Patient receiving laser treatment on toenail, close-up. Fungal infection on the toenails.

What Does All This Mean About Fungal Toenails, Then?

If fungal toenail treatment can take some time, then it’s obvious that you should begin treatment as soon as possible if you are looking to have clearer nails for a future date.

But let’s step back just a little bit. What if you think you might have fungal toenails, but aren’t sure? It might not look like the huge messes you’ve seen in photos, so it might be something else, right? Or even nothing at all?

In these cases, we say to get it checked out immediately!

One of the biggest challenges of fungal nails is that they don’t tend to get noticed or addressed until the fungus has had more than enough time to get in and start doing damage. If you can catch fungal toenails in its earliest stages, you should consider that a gift!

What should you be on the lookout for in the early stages of fungal toenails, then?

If you see a whitish or yellowish dot or streak on your nail, that’s what you want to keep an eye on. Yes, sometimes this comes as the result of a small ding to the nail and will clear up on its own. However, if that blemish does not clear up after a few days, or changes shape or grows larger, that’s when you should give us a call. Early treatment almost always means a much easier and faster time to clear nails.

The best treatment, of course, is prevention in the first place! If your nails are still free from fungus, keep them that way by guarding your feet in public areas such as gyms, locker rooms, and public pools. Use shower shoes to limit your contact in these damp, warm places where fungus likes to thrive.

Find Clarity for Your Future

Do you need help for fungal nails, ingrown toenails, plantar warts, or other skin and nail conditions that are making you reluctant to wear open-toed footwear? Waukesha Foot Specialists can help! Drs. David Guhl and Amy Miller-Guhl have the tools and expertise to help your feet look their best for your big events.

Give our office a call at (262) 544-0700 or fill out our online contact form to schedule an appointment.

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