Fungal Nail, or onychomycosis, is the most common problem affecting the toenails. It caused when a fungal organisms inhabits the nails plate.
There are four types of onychomycosis;
· Distal Onychomycosis affects the far edge of the nail.
· White superficial onychomycosis creates white spots of damaged in the outer layers of the nail.
· Proximal Onychomycosis happens when the fungus infects the near part of the nails.
· Total Dystrophic Onychomycosis involves the entire nail, and often leaves it in a thickened and damaged state.
Onychomycosis appear as discoloration of the nail, with or without a change in shape. There are several other conditions which may present similar to a fungal infection, so you should check with a doctor or podiatrist to be sure.
What Can Be Done?
Due to the structure of the nail plate, it is often difficult to treat.
There are 3 major modes of treatment;
· Systemic treatments involve taking an antifungal tablet to stop the infection. The tablets will need to be prescribed by a doctor, as they can cause interactions with other medications
· Topical treatment requires the antifungal to be applied directly to the nail.
· Laser treatment uses an infrared laser to kill the fungus.
Treatment times to achieve complete resolution can be as long as 12-18 months.
However the fungus is treated, reduction and management of the nail plate by a podiatrist will increase the effectiveness of the treatment and keep the nail comfortable.