Do you have questions about toenail fungus and Onychomycosis? We have answers.
Do you have questions about toenail fungus and Onychomycosis? Tanglewood Foot Specialists provides the answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) about toenail fungus and Onychomycosis. If you would like to schedule an appointment to talk to Dr. Andrew Schneider about your toenail fungus and Onychomycosis, call Tanglewood Foot Specialists at (713) 785-7881.
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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, Tolcylen Nail Solution, 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.
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.
How can you be sure it is fungus in the toenail?
Fungal toenails are often easily diagnosed in the office based on their clinical presentation. They often appear thickened and discolored with loose material beneath them. There are also times when we can clinically tell that a toenail is not infected.
When a toenail is questionable as to whether it is infected or not, a simple test can be performed to diagnose the nail. A biopsy is performed on the toenail and sent to a lab for examination. This biopsy is usually not painful and no anesthesia is required. The results from the biopsy are returned in approximately one week. This test is often necessary when there is associated trauma to the toenail, which also can thicken the nail when fungus is not necessarily present.
Prior to starting definitive treatment for toenail fungus, it is important to know that there is a fungal infection present. Visit Houston podiatrist Dr. Andrew Schneider to evaluate your toenails. If the examination is inconclusive, the biopsy can be done that same day. The longer you wait, the worse the nails can become. Contact Tanglewood Foot Specialists today!
Is there a way to cure fungal toenail infection without medication?
The most common way to treat toenail fungus is with medication. An oral antifungal medication, such as Lamisil, or a topical antifungal treatment, such as Tolcylen, is often recommended. Both of these medications are effective and safe, however there are ways to treat a fungal toenail without medication.
There are some patients who elect to have to infected toenails surgically removed and then treat the nail beds with antifungal cream. I generally do not recommend this method except when the toenail is so thick and deformed that it causes pain. Also, if multiple toenails are infected, removal can become very painful.
A newer treatment for fungal toenails involves laser therapy. This treatment entails one to three treatments, depending on the laser, and is generally not painful. Treatment with the laser is not uncomfortable and initial results show an improved appearance of the toenail. There are also natural antifungal therapies, such as tea tree oil and garlic, which are used in topical preparations with limited success.
If you are noticing your toenails are becoming thick and discolored, be sure to get them checked before they become worse. Contact Houston podiatrist Dr. Andrew Schneider for a comprehensive evaluation.
Why are my toenails so ugly?
There are many reasons why a toenail can change appearance. They can become darkened, discolored, yellowed, thickened, curved, and deformed. As a foot doctor in Houston, I see people everyday who do not like the appearance of their toenails. Because of our warm climate, open toed shoes and sandals are commonly worn by both women and men. They want their feet looking nice.
The most common cause of ugly toenails is fungus. Fungus is naturally present on our feet and in our shoes, especially in Houston where we have extreme heat and humidity. If given an opportunity to infect, such as after trauma to the toenail, the fungus will do so. Mild fungus infections may show a white appearance to the nail surface. More advanced fungal infections of the toenails will lead to yellowing, thickening, and deforming of the nail. Toenails can also become ugly without fungus, such as repetitive trauma from running or injury, but fungus is the most common cause.
If you have noticed your toenails becoming thickened and discolored contact Tanglewood Foot Specialists for a comprehensive evaluation. Houston podiatrist Dr. Andrew Schneider will evaluate the cause of the changes to your nails and work with you to find the best solution to return them to a healthy appearance.
Does a thick toenail mean I have fungus?
Nails are a specialized form of skin and react like skin does in many ways. Just as skin will thicken when there is pressure on it, forming a corn or callus, so will toenails. Our feet live in shoes and our toenails will hit the top and end of our shoes, causing pressure on them and small amounts of trauma. This pressure will cause the toenails to thicken. For this same reason, many athletes, such as runners, soccer players, and tennis players, see their toenails thickening.
Toenails also respond to trauma. Think of how many times you stub your toe, drop something on your toe, or someone else steps on you. Each time that happens, it is traumatic to the toenail and can lead to ongoing thickening of the toenail. This thickening can occur with or without a fungus infection.
If you have injured your toenail, or notice it becoming thickened and discolored, contact Houston podiatrist Dr. Andrew Schneider for a thorough examination.
Is toenail fungus contagious?
There was a very effective commercial for Lamisil, a medication to treat toenail fungus, featuring Digger the Dermatophyte which would have you believe that toenail fungus was the next plague. In truth, toenail fungus is contagious, but it is well encapsulated beneath the nail. The risk of transmitting toenail fungus to others is relatively small.
Many people with toenail fungus, however, also have an adjacent fungus infection of the skin, such as athletes foot or tinea pedis. This infection must also be treated and is much more contagious than toenail fungus alone.
The most contagious part of both toenail fungus and athlete's foot is the residual fungus that inhabits the shoes. This fungus will reinfect the skin and toenails even after they are successfully treated with medication. Therefore, in addition to treating the nail and skin with medication, whether topical or oral, it is necessary to ensure the shoes remain free of fungus. In my Houston podiatry practice, we routinely recommend an antifungal spray called Mycomist to disinfect the shoes after they are worn.
If you are concerned that you are suffering from a toenail fungus, contact Houston podiatrist Dr. Andrew Schneider for an appointment. We will discuss the best treatment solution for your condition, resolve the issue, and keep it gone.