What Are Your Options for Treating Toenail Fungus?

Aug 10, 2021

When you realize you have a fungal toenail infection, it can become hard not to think about it.

Every opportunity to go open-toed in front of others can come with second thoughts. Do I really need to wear sandals to the beach? Maybe I don’t want to go swimming at the neighbors’ today.

And of course, you want those thick, brittle, discolored, misshapen nails gone.

No Better Time to Start Treating Fungal Toenails Than Now

Treating toenail fungus takes time. Even when the fungus has been totally eradicated from a nail, the effects of its stay there remain – like a hotel room trashed by a celebrity rocker. 

Only when new nails grow out to replace what had been infected will you have completely clear nails once more. Because toenails grow at a relatively slow rate (around 2-3 mm per month on average), the entire process can take some time. 

So, unfortunately, you can’t come to see us the week before a big event, and expect to have your toenails looking pristine by then. But for events further out in the future, beginning treatment as soon as possible will give you the best chances that your toenails will look great by the time the date arrives.

Do not delay coming to us if you even suspect you might be starting to get a fungal toenail infection. The early stages never look like the more severe symptoms you know. They tend to look more like white spots or streaks that don’t disappear with time or even start to grow and change shape. If we can diagnose a fungal infection and begin treatment at this time, results come much faster and easier.

And how do we fight for results against fungal toenails, you may ask?

A closeup view on the foot of a person with a yellow and thick big toenail, symptoms of Onychomycosis, a common fungal infection commonly found in toe nails.

Treating Fungal Toenails with Laser Therapy

We are proud to provide FDA-approved laser treatment as an option for getting rid of toenail fungus. This newer technology possesses a couple of distinct advantages over more traditional topical and oral anti-fungal medications:

  • It tends to be more effective. Higher overall cure rates tend to be achieved with laser therapy, due to its ability to reach directly where toenail fungus is hiding within the nail. Topical treatments are not always able to reach so effectively, even when the nail is filed down for better contact.
  • There is no known risk of side effects. While oral antifungal medications can be effective at attacking fungus “from the inside,” they can cause side effects in some patients. Of particular concern can be effects on the liver, making oral medication an unlikely recommendation for anyone with a history of liver problems. Laser therapy does not carry these potential risks. 

This is not to say that we would ever fully discount the potential use of topical or oral medications if needed. There are certain circumstances when we might recommend it over laser therapy. In some severe cases, we might recommend medication alongside the use of a laser. In general, however, we prefer laser treatment as a first choice and foundation.

How Fungal Nail Laser Treatment Works

Receiving laser therapy for fungal nails is very easy. You do not need to do anything to prepare for a laser session, and there is no aftercare you need to worry about once a session is complete.

During a session, we will apply the laser system to each infected nail. The light energy is attuned in a way that it can pass through the nail tissue and hit the fungus without causing any burning, pain, or damage to healthy cells. Session length may vary depending on how many toes are infected and the severity of that infection, but most patients can expect to be done in less than 30 minutes.

For most patients, more than one session will be required to fully get rid of the fungus. You may already know by now just how stubborn toenail fungus can be, after all.

A typical treatment course will consist of 3-4 treatments spanned out over a period of weeks, but the schedule can vary depending on the specifics of your infection. We will evaluate the progress of the treatment part way through and make any adjustments if necessary.

What About Other Ways to Treat Toenail Fungus?

You may see over-the-counter items such as nail creams and medicated polishes, and you might also hear about potential home remedies such as apple cider vinegar. Unfortunately, these tend to be rather spotty when it comes to achieving results.

Many over-the-counter treatments for toenail fungus face the same challenge as our prescription topical ointments: actually getting in and reaching the fungus itself. Some may be effective during the early stages of infection but will likely take longer to provide results.

Home remedies also do not have the testing behind them to make them recommendable for fungal nail treatment. They are OK to try if they do not ask you to do anything that would harm your feet or nails. However, keep in mind that if they don’t work, that is time gone that you could have spent on more proven means of treatment.

Get the Fungal Nail Treatment You Need Now

Don’t wait for a mild case of toenail fungus to become worse, or an already bad case to become even more firmly rooted. We can help you fight back and reclaim your naturally clear nails.

Schedule an appointment with Patel Podiatry by calling either of our two locations:

  • Milford: (203) 876-7736
  • Hamden: (203) 288-4055

If you prefer to reach out electronically instead, fill out our online contact form and a member of our staff will respond to you during our standard office hours.