I often see patients for fungal toenail infections in my Houston podiatry practice. And to heal their nails, I can choose between a few different treatment options. Some patients may need an oral medication. Others will get better with topicals. And still others will need a combination treatment approach.
Still, fungal nails won't get better unless you use your medication correctly. So, when it comes to topicals? You have to understand the proper application technique.
How to apply topical antifungal medication
Does antifungal topical medication have to get under your nail to work? The answer is simple: yes! If I prescribe topical medication treat your fungal toenails, we need to get it under your toenail. And not just a little bit, either. You need to deliver enough medication beneath the toenail to actually fight your fungus.
Of course, that's not such an easy task. And this is usually the reason that topical medications fail. But to understand why it's such an important one, we need to get a better understanding of why and how fungal toenail infections develop.
What causes a fungal toenail?
Toenail fungus, or onychomycosis, is an infection that develops beneath the toenail. But where does it come from? There's fungus living on almost every surface you encounter. Especially here in hot, humid Houston. (Fungi love warm, damp environments.)
If you're walking and come in contact with that fungus, you probably won't have a problem. But if there's even a tiny crack in your nail or the skin of your big toe? That's when problems develop.
You see, the fungus can enter your system through that opening. Then, it can thrive. Soon, you'll notice changes in your toenail appearance. But the problem isn't with the nail itself. Because, as we reviewed, that infection thrives beneath your nail. Which is why we have to get topical antifungals beneath it to treat your infection.
Fungal Toenail Symptoms
Once you develop a fungal nail infection, your nail appearance will change. The nail may grow thicker. Or it could start to crumble.
Some fungal infections make your nail brittle, or cause deformities. The nail may yellow. And it can even give off a foul odor.
Clearing up a fungal toenail infection takes time. But treatment will work. As long as you carefully follow my application and dosing recommendation. For oral medications, that means completing your full prescription course, even if your symptom improve earlier. And for topicals? It means you have to get that medication under your nail!
Pro Tips for Getting Topical Antifungals Under the Nail
I know it's not easy to get topicals underneath a crumbling fungal toenail. But you really need to. Because, while an active antifungal can get rid of fungus, it's not a strong enough "vehicle" to move the medicine through the toenail.
Now, what do I mean by vehicle here? The antifungal medication I prescribe is infused in another product. And that's what I call the vehicle.
There are several different vehicles for topical antifungal medication. These include creams, ointments, gels, lacquers, and oils. In my Houston podiatry office, i prefer Tolcylen Nail Solution. It's my top choice because enough of the active medication penetrates the toenail, so it can treat the fungus beneath. And that's because the medicine dissolves in a penetrating oil "vehicle."
In all honesty, topical medication should penetrate the nail plate when applied. That's its whole job. In fact the better the medication penetrates the nail plate, the more effective the medication is in resolving the nail fungus.
But people get confused about how this happens. A common error is to try to push the medicine under the nail manually. This causes trauma and can separate your nail from the nail bed. Clearly, this is counterproductive. After all, trauma allows the fungal infection to spread or worsen. So I want to be clear. You should not poke anything under the toenail in any circumstance. Instead, trust my prescription. And ask about products that can support faster healing.
Tolcylen Soaks and Sprays: A Great Companion to Fungal Toenail Treatments
My favorite topical antifungal medication now has a Tolcylen Therapeutic Foot Soak. When you use it in combination with your topical antifungal treatments, you can keep your feet in optimal condition for healing.
We also carry Tolyclen shoe sprays that work with your fungal toenail treatments. This spray targets fungus that may be hiding in your shoes. So it keeps you from reinfecting yourself by simply putting on your shoes and heading out for the day.
Even with complementary products, healing will take time. And I won't lie. Your nail won't look great for much of that period. So, if you need to restore your nail's appearance sooner, I have a solution. It's called the Keryflex Toenail Restoration System.
What is Keryflex Toenail Restoration?
The Keryflex toenail restoration system uses polymer resins to create an artificial nail. If that sounds gross, don't worry. Flexible and durable, this toenail looks and acts like your natural toenail. You can even file, shape and polish this nail. Better yet? You can change polish as often as you want, using an acetone-based nail polish remover!
Of course, men also benefit from Keryflex nail restoration. Because the nail looks so natural, you don't need to coat it with polish. Thanks to its matte finish, the natural look completely passes for your real, healthy nail.
Best of all, I can apply a Keryflex toenail in my office. The procedure is painless, and won't take much longer than 15 minutes. I won't need to give you anesthetic, you'll be able to immediately return to regular activities, and you'll enjoy the look of a healthy nail right away. Even if it takes longer for your natural nail to heal from that fungal infection.
Treating Fungal Toenails in Houston, TX
I know that clearing up fungal toenails is a frustrating process. But if you've used an over the counter topical antifungal medication without results, that doesn't mean topicals won't work. It just means you need a stronger product. One that comes in a vehicle that penetrates your nail.
How can you get that, you may ask? The answer is simple! Contact Tanglewood Foot Specialists for a comprehensive evaluation. As your Houston podiatrist, I'll recommend the best treatment to cure your fungal toenails.