Toenail Fungus Cures
While prescription medication may work for some people, for others, it just won’t simply do. They may not be able to take prescription toenail fungus medication or the infection may be so painful and so deeply imbedded that medication will prove ineffective in treating your toenail infection. If your toenail infection is one of these latter cases, then your doctor will probably suggest something a little more invasive.
Types of Toenail Infections
There are three different classes of toenail infections that you can have. Distal subungual onychomicosis is an infection of the nail bed and the underside of the nail plate. Secondly, a nail can be infected with a white superficial onychomicosis, which is where the upper layers of the nail plate are infected. Finally, your toenail infection could be a proximal subungual onychomicosis. This is the rarest form of toenail infection that occurs when the newest part of the nail plate is infected. This infection is usually the result of a compromised immune sytem.
The Type Determines the Toenail Fungus Cure
Different toenail fungus infections require different approaches that are used to get rid of the toenail fungus. As stated earlier, the amount of pain caused by the infected toenail and the amount of infection will determine the treatment options suggested by your doctor. In addition, the type of infection will also be taken into consideration. Your doctor will take these various factors into consideration when suggesting a course of action for treating your toenail fungus infection.
Non-Surgical Cure for Toenail Fungus
If you’re doctor suggests a treatment for your toenail fungus other than medication, he or she will probably suggest non-surgical removal of the infected toenail. The procedure takes place in your doctor’s office after the nail has been softened. This is usually accomplished by a chemical procedure in which an ointment is placed on the nail to soften it. The ointment typically contains urea. The ointment is left on the toenail for 7-10 days. After this period, your doctor will remove either the entire nail (referred to as avulsion) or only the infected portion (referred to as debridement). To accomplish this, the nail is either pulled away from the nail bed (for avulsion) or the infected portion is cut away (debridement).
You usually have to keep the toe that received the treatment clean and dry for two weeks, which is the amount of time it takes for it to heal. Antibiotic ointment can be applied to keep the area from getting infected. The doctor might suggest that you keep your toe elevated for a minimum period immediately following the procedure. You may feel a little tenderness in the infected area for the first 24 hours following the procedure. Taking acetaminophen or ibuprofen should help reduce this soreness. You can return to normal activities immediately after the procedure as long as you keep it dry and clean. It takes about 12-18 months for a toenail to completely grow back. Your doctor may prescribe ciclopirox to be used on the nail bed to keep the fungus from returning.
If you experience chronic toenail fungus infections, your doctor may suggest a surgical process that completely removes (avulses) the toenail for good after applying a local anesthetic to numb the area. Then, a surgical procedure is performed to keep the toenail from ever growing back. This procedure is intended to be a permanent solution to chronic toenail fungus infections. This procedure is referred to as phenol ablation.
Phenol is an acidic chemical that is applied to the nail matrix. The nail matrix is the part of the nail bed that is closest to the toe. The nail matrix is full of nerves and blood vessels and is what makes your toenail grow. During phenol ablation, phenol is applied to the matrix to destroy it. Your toe will simply not have a toenail anymore. Phenol ablation has been reported to be successful up to 90% of the time at keeping the toenail from growing again. If it’s unsuccessful, your doctor may suggest a matrixectomy, which is a surgical procedure that removes the matrix.
Following phenol ablation to cure toenail fungus, you’ll need to cover the area with a bandage for about two weeks. You’ll want to use antibiotic ointment to keep the area from getting infected. During the first 24 hours after the procedure, you might experience some mild pain that can be alleviated by taking acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Generally, you can return to normal activities within two weeks. You’ll need to follow up with your doctor about that time to ensure that the surgery site is healing properly.
A Laser Cure for Toenail Fungus
If you’re interested in curing toenail fungus in a non-invasive way that is an alternative to prescription medication, you should speak to your doctor about laser treatment. This treatment is a breakthrough in toenail fungus treatment that has occurred in the last several years. Laser toenail fungal treatment has been approved by the FDA.
The procedure is simple. A laser is passed through the toenail. It kills the fungus cells without harming the healthy cells surrounding the fungus. Supporters of laser toenail fungus removal claim that the procedure is painless for most people. You’re not even given a local anesthetic before the procedure. Also, no side effects have been reported with laser treatment. The toenail will not appear to be treated, but overtime, your toenail growth will push out the discoloration, while you trim it away. Your toenail should look healthy in about 12 months. It only takes about 30 minutes to an hour to complete one session that you can walk away from with no recovery period. One other benefit of laser treatment over the other forms of treatment is the ability to wear nail polish immediately after the treatment.
Unfortunately, one drawback to laser treatment for toenail fungus is that, because most insurance companies consider it cosmetic, you’ll have to pay for it yourself upfront. A single session can cost anywhere from a couple of hundred dollars to almost a thousand dollars. The success rate for fungus removal with laser treatments is about 65%. For this reason, doctors usually suggest that laser treatment be accompanied with other treatment options.
Preventing Fungus from Returning
Because laser treatment does not remove the effected toenail area, there still remains the issue of the fungus returning, which can also be said for prescription medications. Therefore, you should follow the same precautions to prevent the fungus from returning that you would use if you were using any other treatment, keep feet clean and dry, spray the insides of your shoes with antifungal spray, and keep toenails trimmed neatly.
For those individuals who are too keen on prescription drugs or are squeamish at the thought of having your toenail removed, there are home remedies that have been suggested to be successful at curing toenail fungus.
If you’re toenail fungus is not bothering you enough to see a doctor, you can soften your toenail at home and file down your toenail. This will relieve any discomfort from wearing shoes. Keeping your toenails trimmed will help, as well.
If this is not enough, you can try snakeroot extract. A study was conducted to determine if using this alternative medicine had the same results on treating toenail fungus as prescribed medications. The study concluded that snakeroot extract had the same probability of success at treating toenail fungus as ciclopirox. The treatment takes about 3 months. Tea tree oil has also been claimed to treat toenail fungus. You will want to apply it twice a day. Other natural treatments that have been suggested include thymol oil and apple cider vinegar. It must be noted that, other than snakeroot extract and tea tree oil, these other alternative remedies have not been studied enough scientifically to pinpoint with certainty the effectiveness of these treatments.
Options for Curing Toenail Fungus
Your toenail infection may be too widespread to consider prescription medications. Or, you may not be able to take prescription medications. Maybe, you can’t afford laser treatment. For that matter, you may not be able to afford phenol ablation or any other toenail fungus removal procedure. But, these reasons don’t have to stop you from getting your toenail fungus infection treated.
There are many options that exist for curing toenail fungus. You don’t have to limit yourself just to one option. Seeking out the advice of a professional healthcare provider is a good idea. But, ultimately, the toenail fungus treatment that you use is a matter of your choice. You have to consider what treatment options are right for you given your particular circumstances and beliefs. A toenail fungus infection does not have to get in the way of you wearing your favorite pair of shoes again. With so many methods of treatment, it’s simply a matter of deciding what you want do about your toenail fungus and getting it done.