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Dr. Brandon Macy
Podiatrist - Clark, NJ
1114 Raritan Road
Clark, NJ 07066

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Fungus infections in nails are a common problem that can be ugly, painful and very difficult to treat. There are many different appearances to the fungus--it can appear white, yellow, brown, orange; the nails can be a normal thickness or severely thickened.  Other diseases and damage to the nails can be misinterpreted as being fungal in origin.  For this reason, if there is any doubt about the true diagnosis, a sampling of the affected nails will be taken to get an confirmed laboratory diagnosis prior to initiating treatment.

Fungal nails, while caused by the same fungi as Athlete's Foot, are usually more resistant and more difficult to treat than Athlete's Foot.  This is because the nails are hard, non-porous and often thickened, making it nearly impossible to treat by topical medications alone even though the antifungal ingredients are the same. Creams and over the counter topical nail medications cannot penetrate the nails plate. [If you look closely at the fine print on the labels of those topical nail medications, there's a warning required by the FDA "Do not use on scalp or nails".  

The most successful treatments involve oral antifungal medications and laser treatment.  Oral medication is relatively safe, but the risk of side effects, however rare, causes some people to turn to other methods of treatment.  Laser is very safe, but there insurance coverage for treatmentis virtually nonexistent.  Topical medications without harsh chemicals are often recommended in addition to these treatments to help the process along.  Keep in mind that no treatment works 100% of the time and that nails that are damaged might remain thickened or distorted even if able to clear the fungus successfully.

How long does it take to clear fungus from nails?  

In other than the most superficial fungal infections, it can take 5-6 months or longer.  Treatment by oral medication or laser doesn't make the fungus "fade", rather the fungus spores are destroyed, but the nail has to go through its normal growth cycle to push out the damaged nail.  At an average growth rate of 1 mm. per week, it can take many months for the clear nail to become noticeable.
 

Preventing Fungal Nail Infections

Following basic foot care guidelines gives you the best chance to head off most common skin and nail fungal infections.   If you have an active  Athlete's Foot infection, that must be treated as well, since the presence of fungus in the skin is a reservoir for infection or reinfection of the nails. 


Other suggestions for preventing fungal nails include:

  • Don't share nail clippers or nail files with others.
  • Don't share shoes or socks with others.
  • Try not to injure your nail, such as by cutting it too short (trauma to the nail may lead to infections).
  • Wear socks that wick perspiration away from the skin and change them often if you perspire to excess.
  • Wear dry shoes that allow air to circulate around your feet (tight, enclosed, moist shoes contribute to fungal toenail infections).
  • Wear shower sandals or shower shoes when you are at a public pool or shower.

 

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Call Today 732-382-3470

1114 Raritan Road
Clark, NJ 07066

Podiatrist - Clark, Dr. Brandon Macy, 1114 Raritan Road, Clark NJ, 07066 732-382-3470