Fungal nail infections (known as Onychomycosis) continue to be a serious problem for many Australians, with up to 25% of the population affected at any one time. Highly contagious, fungal nail infections can affect people of all ages and if left untreated, can cause more serious health issues in addition to being unsightly and embarrassing. At The Walking Clinic Canberra, we have a longstanding reputation for being the best podiatrist Canberra locals turn to for expert advice and treatment for a wide range of foot and toenail problems. The management of fungal infections depends on the type, extent and severity of nail involvement, symptoms and pre-existing conditions. Although it is challenging to treat, there are typically three common treatment options, and we have broken them down below.
Topical treatments cover ointments, creams, lacquers and serums that you apply directly to the surface of your nails. These are usually over the counter products purchased without prescription at your local pharmacy. One thing to note with fungal nail infections is they are not found on the surface of the nail, but under the nail and deep within the nail bed. Therefore, surface treatments generally cannot penetrate deep enough and have a very low success rate on their own.
Oral medications are pills prescribed by your doctor. These are prescribed for more severe infections, and generally work by helping a new nail grow free of infection, slowly replacing the infected part. Itraconazole (Sporanox) and terbinafine (Lamisil) are the most common, and studies have shown that they can eliminate nail fungus in 10-12 months for around 55% to 70% of people. While these medications have a much higher efficacy rate than topical treatments, they can have harmful side effects so they aren’t suitable for everyone. Your podiatrist and GP will assess the suitability of these medications for your specific circumstances.
One of the newest treatment options, there are different types of laser treatments available, both of which are performed by a professional podiatrist. Studies have shown that laser treatment can be very effective as it’s uses energy to penetrate the nail bed and eliminate the infection from within.
HOT laser – this is where the laser uses heat to destroy nail fungus by heating the nail plate. Because people have different pain tolerances, this process needs to be done by an experienced podiatrist who uses a “stop and start” method to heat the nail. This process usually lasts an hour per session.
COLD laser – this uses two cold laser beams to damage and destroy the nail fungus and can also improve your immune response and boost your circulation to clear the fungus. This procedure is pain-free, quicker (approximately 15 minutes per foot), and has shown to have high efficacy rates. It is also safer for children and diabetics.
Regardless of the laser option chosen, most patients require at least 4-6 sessions over at least 6 months. With the assistance of the experienced foot clinic Canberra locals know and trust, Walking Clinic podiatrists can assist with the management and treatment of fungal nail infections to help you get the best results possible.
The Foot Clinic Kingston Locals Turn to for Professional Podiatry Solutions
Have you been putting off seeing someone about your unsightly fungal nail problem? Highly regarded as one the best podiatrists in Canberra, The Walking Clinic has is here to help with a team of skilled podiatrists in four convenient locations. Experienced in diagnosing and treating a wide variety of toenail problems including fungal nail issues, we can provide you with a tailored treatment plan so you can show your toenails without embarrassment this summer. Call us today or book an appointment online now.