Fungal infections (Onychomycosis) of the nail can be difficult to treat, although it is the most common infection of the nail bed and affects about 10% of the population.
The best thing you can do is try to prevent the infection in the first place, or prevent reoccurrence once it has been treated. This can be achieved by
- Maintaining good foot hygiene, including promptly treating any athletes foot
- Don’t share shoes with other people and wear shoes that fit properly
- Wear clean, dry cotton socks and wash them at 60 C
- Avoid walking barefoot in public areas
- Home remedies for mild infections
- Oregano oil
- Tea tree Oil
At 23MD we treat onychomycosis with Ellipse Nd:Yag1064 which offers reliable and effective treatment without the risk of uncomfortable side effects. The treatment is pain free and requires 3-4 sessions. In more severe cases laser treatment can be combined with oral medication.
When fungi infect a nail, they usually start at its free edge, and then spread down the side of the nail towards the cuticle. Eventually the whole nail may be involved.
At first most of us wouldn’t notice any major symptoms but over time, as fungus progresses, it can make the nail thick, brittle, discoloured and painful. The skin nearby may also have a fungal infection; it may itch, crack, form a blister or appear white, especially between the toes.
Onychomycosis is mostly caused by fungi called dermatophyte which usually spreads from athletes’ foot. Less often a nail infection is due to other types of fungi, usually (Candida) and moulds. These other fungi tend to attack nails that are already damaged, as it its easier for the fungus to invade.
Fungal infections of the nail do not clear up by themselves. Some treatments use topical creams, others try utilising antifungal tablets. The treatment times are sometimes extended to months, and this could have toxic effects on your liver. The success rates with these treatments are variable.
It is always better to begin the treatment early because the longer you wait, the harder it is to treat.