Do you have questions about foot care? We have answers.
Do you have questions about foot injuries or the causes of foot pain? Tanglewood Foot Specialists provides the answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) about foot injuries and foot care. If you would like to schedule an appointment to talk to a doctor about your foot pain, call Tanglewood Foot Specialists at (713) 785-7881.
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Does Vicks Vaporub cure toenail fungus?
One of the home remedies that is popular, especially appearing regularly in the Houston Chronicle's health column, is the use of Vicks Vaporub to cure toenail fungus. In fact it is so convincingly popular that I've had patients discontinue the use of prescribed anti-fungal treatments, with scientific studies proving that they are effective, in favor of using this product. Does Vicks Vaporub cure toenail fungus? The answer is no.
Why does this myth persist? Vicks does have some effect on the toenails. Applying Vicks Vaporub to the toenails will soften and lighten their color. This gives the impression of treating the fungus. In truth, Vicks may have some anti-fungal properties, but it is unable to effectively penetrate the toenail to treat the fungus. This is a problem with many topical anti-fungal treatments.
Tanglewood Foot Specialists use Formula 3 as our topical anti-fungal of choice. We have seen this medication provide better results than any other topical anti-fungal medication. In addition, the company stands behind its product with a money-back guarantee. Formula 3 is available at our Houston podiatry office.
Does fungus make my shoes stink?
Foot odor, which leads to odor in the shoes, has many contributing factors. One of them is a fungus infection. Bacteria growth in the shoe is also responsible for odor in your shoes. Shoes harbor both fungus and bacteria since they provide a dark, moist, and warm environment which allows them to thrive.
Prescribing a treatment for the fungal infection of the foot is only one piece of the puzzle. A common omission of many doctors when they treat a fungal infection of the toenails or skin is to treat the shoes. This can be accomplished with a spray designed to treat the shoes, such as Mycomist. There are also ultraviolet treatments that are useful in eliminating fungus and bacteria without the use of chemicals.
Houston podiatrist Dr. Andrew Schneider at Tanglewood Foot Specialists is committed to provide a comprehensive solution to your foot and ankle issues. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Schneider for an evaluation and treatment recommendation.
Are sweaty feet a problem?
Feet perspire...some people's more than others. In our hot and humid climate in Houston, we see our fair share of sweaty feet. Sweating feet will cause a perfect environment to harbor fungus. Fungus thrives in a warm, moist, dark shoe and waits for an opportunity to infect the skin or toenails.
The more your foot perspires, the more moisture is in the shoe. This increases the potential for fungal growth and infection. Foot perspiration can be controlled in many cases and fungal infections of the skin and toenails can be treated. Most don't consider what is living in their shoes. Your shoes can harbor fungus and need to be treated as well. This can be accomplished with using an antifungal spray, such as Mycomist, or by using an ultraviolet light which can disinfect the shoe without heat or chemicals.
Tanglewood Foot Specialists can offer solutions to control excessive foot perspiration, treat the athletes foot infection or toenail fungus, and prevent reinfection with proper disinfection of your shoes. Call our Houston Podiatry office for a convenient appointment.
Is toenail fungus related to Athlete's Foot?
Toenail fungus is similar to Athletes foot. Athletes foot is a fungal infection of the skin. It is a very common infection of the foot, occurring on the sole of the foot and also between the toes. The same fungus that can infect the skin also can infect the toenails, causing the nail to become discolored and thickened. In fact, many cases of toenail fungus are caused by an Athlete's foot condition.
The treatment for toenail fungus differs from athletes foot, however. Athletes foot usually responds well to topical antifungal medication. While mild cases of toenail fungus may respond to topical medication, such as Formula 3, most require other forms of treatment. These include a three month course of oral antifungal medication or treatment with a laser.
What's the safest way to cure my fungus?
Treatments to eliminate fungus toenails are generally safe and continue to grow safer. The treatment that many are concerned about taking is an oral antifungal medication. When these medications, such as Lamisil, first came out, there was concern about how it would effect the liver, since previous generations of oral antifungal medication were hard on the liver and these newer medications are also metabolized by the liver.
Now that the oral medications that are commonly used today have been available for over 20 years, we know that they are safe. The medication that I use most frequently in my Houston podiatry practice, a generic form of Lamisil, has had its safety profile continually upgraded, with no "black box" warnings, few side effects, and no interactions with other medications. I do still take a simple blood test, however, to ensure that the liver is not compromised by medication, illness, or any other reason, prior to starting therapy with an oral antifungal medication. That said, it is a very safe medication which is prescribed for patients as young as their late teens to the senior population.
If oral medication is still too risky for you, or you are not a candidate to take it, consider using a topical medication alone. The most effective topical is Formula 3, which is dispensed from our office for your convenience. It penetrates the toenail to treat the fungus but has no systemic effect.
How do I get my toenails looking better fast?
We are always on the lookout for a quick fix. Unfortunately, when it comes to the toenails, one isn't available. Because all treatments for fungal toenails work on the new toenail growth, clearing the nail plate takes at least as long as it takes for the nail to fully grow out. The timeframe is typically 9-12 months for a great toenail and 6-9 months for the smaller toenails.
The best way to assure that the toenail grows out properly and as quickly as possible is to provide the most definitive treatment. Using an oral antifungal therapy, such as Lamisil, will provide the greatest success of therapy. Many also couple this with a topical medication, such as Formula 3, to supplement the oral medication and maximize the improvement.
While treatment for the fungal toenail takes time for the infection to resolve, it does not mean that you need to put up with ugly toenails until then. In my podiatry office in Houston, TX, we use a called KeryFlex. KeryFlex is a healthy artificial toenail. It is is composed of a flexible resin that will not dig into the toe and become infected, like an acrylic nail would. Women enjoy KeryFlex since it is able to be shaped and polished. Nail polish can also be removed without effecting the nail. Men like the natural appearance that KeryFlex provides when they are wearing sandals.
Don't wait for sandal season to treat your fungal toenails. Because of the time it requires to improve, the best time to start treating your toenails is TODAY! Contact your Houston Podiatrist to find out which antifungal therapy is the best one for you.
How long do I have to wait for my toenails to look better?
No matter how you treat your fungal toenails, you are treating the new growth of the toenail. The existing thick and discolored nail plate will not change. Instead it will grow out as the nail is treated.
Toenails do not grow quickly. It takes approximately 9-12 months for a great toenail to fully grow out and 6-9 months for the nails on the other toes to progress. Not realizing this, many people are disappointed to learn in the spring that their infected toenails will not be completely clear for summer. At least they'll be clear for next year!
If you don't want to go through another summer with thick and discolored toenails, we provide a service called KeryFlex. Keryflex is a healthy, flexible, natural appearing artificial toenail that can cover a nail damaged from fungus infection or trauma. This non-invasive procedure has provided both women and men a healthier appearing toenail while the nail improves with treatment for the fungal infection.
To learn about your options to get your toenails clear of fungus and ready for sandal season (which here in Houston is most of the year), contact Tanglewood Foot Specialists to schedule an appointment with Dr. Andrew Schneider.
Does topical antifungal medicine need to get beneath my nail?
Any topical medication used to treat fungal toenails does need to get beneath the toenail in sufficient amounts to treat your fungus. This is usually the reason that topical medications fail. The active antifungal can eliminate the fungus, but the "vehicle" doesn't succeed in moving the medicine through the toenail. Different vehicles for topical antifungal medication include cream, ointment, gel, lacquer, and oil. The topical that is recommended in our Houston podiatry office, Formula 3, does penetrate the toenail in sufficient amounts to treat the fungus appropriately, due to the oil that the medicine is dissolved in.
Topical medication is designed to penetrate the nail plate when applied. In fact the better the medication penetrates the nail plate, the more effective the medication is in resolving the nail fungus. A common error is to try to push the medicine under the nail manually. This causes trauma and can separate the nail from the nail bed. This is counterproductive, since trauma allows the fungal infection to spread or worsen. You should not poke anything under the toenail in any circumstance.
If you have used an over the counter topical antifungal medication to treat your fungal toenails and have found them not to be effective, call Tanglewood Foot Specialists for a comprehensive evaluation. Houston podiatrist Dr. Andrew Schneider will recommend the best treatment to cure your fungal toenails.
Can I polish my toenails during treatment for fungal toenails?
Most women enjoy polishing their toenails in order to cover the unpleasant appearance during treatment for fungal toenails. Depending on how the toenail fungus is being treated, this could be okay. If the oral medication is being used to treat the toenails, the nail polish will not interfere with the treatment. If a topical antifungal medication is being used, such as Formula 3, it is best to not use toenail polish at all, since it is difficult for the medication to penetrate the polish and does not reach the toenail. If you must polish your nail, it is important that you choose a healthy, enriched nail polish.
It must be said that most nail polish is damaging to the toenails. Nail polish has a consistency similar to liquid plastic and suffocates the toenail. In addition polish uses caustic chemicals, such as formaldehyde and toluene, that damage the nail. Using a "healthy" toenail polish, such as Dr's Remedy Enriched nail polish, prevents that damage by not including those chemicals and adding natural antifungals and vitamins. Even the polish remover does not have acetone, which is also damaging to the toenails.
If you are concerned that you might have a fungal infection in your toenails, contact Houston podiatrist Dr. Andrew Schneider. Dr's Remedy enriched nail polish is available in our Houston office. For those outside the Houston area, you can order Dr's Remedy online.
Why does my toenail fungus keep coming back?
Toenail fungus is often treated and resolved completely. With time, however, you may notice the return of the fungal infection in the toenails. This is not due to a failure in the treatment, but rather the toneail becomes reinfected.
One of the most common causes for the return of fungal toenails is the continued presence of fungus in the shoes. Fungus thrives in a warm, dark, moist environment, which is what is found in a shoe. Add to that the heat and humidity of Houston and you have a perfect storm for fungus forming and reinfecting your toenail.
There are ways to disinfect shoes. Using an antifungal treatment for the shoes, such as Mycomist, in conjunction with treatment for the toenails is ideal. Even after the toenail treatment is complete, and the the nails are clear, it is worthwhile to keep disinfecting your shoes to do what you can to prevent the fungus from returing.
If you have been treated for fungal toenails and are noticing that the thickness and discoloration is returning, contact Houston podiatrist Dr. Andrew Schneider for an evaluation. We'll treat the new infection and take measures to prevent the situation from occurring yet again.