24 Feb Overview of Toenail Fungus Treatment in Arizona
Fungal nail infection involves fungus growing around the finger nail and/or toe nail. The nails develop a fungal infection, which is caused onychomycosis, and this causes a yellow, thickened nail that does not bend or flex easily. Onychomycosis affects around 7% of the general population.
What causes fungal nail?
Fungi live on the dead tissues of the nails, hair, and outer skin layers. The most common fungal infections are athlete’s foot, ringwork, and jock itch. Having a fungus is the cause of fungal nail. Fungal nail infection affects the toenails more often than finger nails. The risk of fungal nail increases if you have minor skin injuries, deformed nails, moist skin, immune system problems, or wear footwear that does not let air reach the feet.
What are the symptoms of fungal nail?
Symptoms of onychomycosis include:
- Changes in nail shape
- Crumbling of outside of nail
- Debris trapped under the nail
- Thickening of the nail
- Loosening or lifting up of nail
- White or yellow nail streaking
How is fungal nail diagnosed?
The Phoenix podiatrist can make the diagnosis of fungal nail simply by examining your feet. However, the doctor may take a scraping from the nail to view under the microscope. A nail sample can be sent to the laboratory for culture, which takes around 3 weeks.
Hhere are four types of onychomycosis:
- Distal subungual onychomycosis – The most common type of tinea unguium, which is caused by a fungus that invades the nail bed and the under portion of the nail plate.
- White superficial onychomycosis – Caused by fungal invasion of the superficial layers of the nail plate, which forms “white islands” on the plate. This type only accounts for 10% of cases.
- Candidal onychomycosis – A Candida species of fungus that invades the fingernails.
- Proximal subungual onychomycosis – Fungal penetration of the nail plate through the proximal nail fold.
How is fungal nail treated?
Fungal nail is treated using over-the-counter creams and ointments. Prescription medications are also used to help clear up fungus. You will need to take the drug for around 3 months, and the doctor will order laboratory testing during this time to assess liver function. The fungal nail infection is cured by growth of non-infected, new nails, which grow slowly over time.
The other option for treatment is laser toenail fungus removal. The therapy is amazing for removing the fungus, and takes several sessions that are about 30 minutes each. The treatment with laser therapy avoids the need for oral medications and the potential complications associated.
What medications are used to treat onychomycosis?
Medications used to treat fungal nail include clotrimazole, itraconazole, butenafine, terbinafine, ciclopirox, and amorolfine. In a recent meta-analysis, researchers found that ciclopiroxolamine and butenafine were both effective when applied daily for 1 year. In addition, terbinafine was found to be better tolerated than itraconazole, and ciclopirox nail paint was proven effective.
What are the risk factors for fungal infection?
The most common risk factor for fungal infection is aging. This is because aging causes diminished blood flow, longer exposure to the fungi, and thickened nails. Nail fungus affects men more than women, and is often associated with a family history. Other risk factors include:
- Going barefoot in damp public places
- Wearing socks and shoes that hinder ventilation
- Moist environment
- Having diabetes
- Circulation problems
- Athlete’s foot (tinea pedis)
- Minor skin/nail injury
Oasis Foot and Ankle offers expert laser toenail fungus removal in Phoenix and Scottsdale at several clinics. The treatment involves amazing Class 4 Lasers and excellent outcomes. Call the top Arizona podiatrists today!