What is a fungal nail?
Fungal nail infection or the medical term ‘Onychomycosis‘ is a fairly common infection of the nails. It can affect 1 in 10 of the adult population. Fungal nail infections can be hard to treat and with any fungal nail treatment, there is no guarantee of a lifetime cure.
Onychomycosis can affect people from all walks of life and can cause you to lose confidence and have low self-esteem when it comes to showing your toes in public, especially in the summer months.
So, although previously difficult to treat, thanks to today’s advanced technology, it’s now possible to address this unsightly and destructive nail condition, improving and, in many cases, curing fungal nail infection.
What treatments are available?
Home remedies: These are products that can be purchased from the pharmacist and their effectiveness can vary, depending on the severity of the condition. However, if the fungus is down to the nail matrix, home remedies may not have any effect.
GP-led treatment: Treatments can include oral anti-fungal drugs. They are usually taken for a course of around 3-6 months. You may require regular blood tests due to potential side effects and liver damage.
In-clinic treatments: Two options are available for in-clinic treatments. These include:
Reducing the nail and applying topical product application.
This has been shown to be a highly effective method of treating nail fungus, depending on the severity and destruction of the natural nail that may have occurred. However, even for full-thickness including nail matrix, nail reduction and removal of the infected nail with topical treatment, this will help reduce cross-infection to other nails and skin that can cause Athlete’s Foot.
Nail reduction requires our clinician to thin the nail down every 6 to 8 weeks. Home treatment is required by using a urea-based cream to soften the nail and remove the remaining infected nail. An antifungal to dry the nail out and stop further fungal growth can also be used.
This is considered the ‘first line’ fungal nail treatment. It should be noted that this technique can take a long time to produce results, awaiting new nail growth. Re-infections can be common.
No more having to wait to visit your GP, who will probably request nail clippings to be sent away to an NHS laboratory and grown on a culture, with results expected in several weeks, that can often come-back as a false-negative result!
Laser fungal nail treatment
The best treatment for fungal nail infection could be laser treatment, which is shown in a study to offer a 91% clinical improvement rate*.
Laser treatment for fungal nails works using an Nd: Yag laser device that emits energy pulses, producing pulses of heat. The heat penetrates through the nail to the bed where the fungus is located. The fungus is broken down and neutralised, eliminating the active fungus. This allows new, uninfected toenail to regrow without the risk of self-reinfection of the surrounding skin.
Which fungal nail treatment is right for me?
The effectiveness of onychomycosis treatments varies and depends on each person. How long they have had the infection, How much of the nail is infected and so on.
If you are looking for a highly effective procedure that has fewer potential side effects than prescribed oral medicine, then laser treatment can be a suitable option.
If you are in any doubt about if you have a fungal nail infection, we recommend you book in for a five-minute fungal nail test. You can book an initial consultation at one of our footcare clinics in Beeston, Nottinghamshire and Ilkeston, Derbyshire.
What is PACT therapy fungal nail treatment?
You may have heard of PACT therapy to treat fungal nail infections. You can find out more about PACT therapy here.
*Westerberg D, Voyack M. Onychomycosis: current trends in diagnosis and treatment. Am Fam Physician. 2019;88(11):762-770