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  • Writer's pictureSophia

Best Treatment for Fungal Nail Infections: Effective Options and How to Choose (Part 2)

Updated: Jul 8

fungal infection can affect toenails and fingernails

Fungal infections are a common concern, especially when it comes to our feet. They are highly contagious and can be persistent and uncomfortable, but the good news is there are various treatment options available. Selecting the best treatment depends on several factors including the severity of the infection, your health status, and lifestyle. Here is a comprehensive guide to help you navigate through the different options and find the best one for you.

Understanding Fungal Nail Infections

Fungal nail infections, also known as onychomycosis, are caused by microorganisms that thrive in warm and damp environments. Signs and symptoms include nails that are thickened, discoloured, crumbly, change in nail curvature, and skin peeling.

1. Natural and Home Remedies

Some people prefer natural remedies for treating fungal infections, such as:

  • Tea Tree Oil: Known for its natural antifungal properties, it can be applied to the entire nail plate.

  • Eucalyptus Oil: Also having natural antifungal

  • Vinegar Soaks: Soaking feet in a vinegar-water solution can help reduce infection.

When to Use: For mild infections or as a supplementary treatment.

Advantages: Generally safe and cost-effective, with fewer side effects.

Disadvantages: Limited scientific evidence on effectiveness and takes longer to see results. Poor patient compliance due to lengthy process.

2. Over-the-Counter Treatments

For mild fungal infections, over-the-counter (OTC) treatments may be effective. These include:

  • Antifungal Tinctures and Ointments: Products like clotrimazole and miconazole are widely available at pharmacies and can be applied directly to the affected area.

  • Medicated Powders and Sprays: These can help keep the feet dry and prevent the spread of infection. Can be applied onto footwear as well.

When to Use: OTC treatments are best for initial, mild infections or as a preventive measure for those prone to athlete's foot.

Advantages: Easy to obtain, affordable, and user-friendly.

Disadvantages: They may take longer to see results and are usually not very effective for more severe infections.

3. Prescription Medications

For more stubborn fungal nail infections, prescription medication may be necessary. These include:

  • Oral Antifungal Medications: Drugs like terbinafine and itraconazole are taken by mouth and may be more effective, especially for more severe nail infections.

When to Use: For moderate to severe infections or when OTC treatments are not effective.

Advantages: Better efficacy at treating deeper or more extensive fungal nail infections.

Disadvantages: Potential side effects, such as liver toxicity or interactions with other medications. Regular monitoring by your GP is strongly recommended.

Laser therapy is the most popular treatment choice for fungal nail infections. It inhibits the growth of the fungus by selective photothermolysis (the use of light to generate heat and cause cell injury based on the wavelength of light used, the duration of the pulse, and the amount of energy delivered).

When to Use: Ideal option as a first line of treatment or for those looking for a non-pharmacological option. Laser therapy can also be used in conjunction with any of the above treatment options.

Advantages: Safe and more effective. Non-invasive, with no systemic side effects.

Disadvantages: Can be expensive if multiple sessions are required.

laser treatment for fungal nail infection

How to Choose the Best Treatment for Fungal Nail Infection

Selecting the right treatment involves considering the following factors:

  1. Severity of the Infection: Mild infections might respond well to OTC treatments or home remedies, while more severe cases often require laser treatment or prescription medications.

  2. Health Conditions: If you have liver disease, diabetes, or other conditions, consult your GP before starting oral antifungals.

  3. Lifestyle and Preferences: Consider convenience, cost, and your comfort level with the treatment method.

  4. Consult a Podiatrist: A professional can provide an accurate diagnosis and recommend the most effective treatment plan according to your needs. Even when using OTC treatments, a podiatrist is able to prepare the nail so that your product is able to penetrate the nail more effectively.

Preventing Recurrence of Fungal Infections

Regardless of the treatment chosen, preventing recurrence is crucial. Here are some tips:

  • Keep feet clean and dry, especially in between your toes after showering.

  • Wear breathable footwear, preferably non-synthetic materials.

  • Change socks daily or more regularly if your feet sweat excessively.

  • Use antifungal powders or sprays as a preventive measure.

  • Treat any tinea pedis present on your feet and toes.

change socks daily

Understanding your options and consulting with a podiatrist will help you choose the best treatment for your specific situation, ensuring healthier happier feet.

For more information on fungal nail infections and available treatments, contact our clinic at (08) 7924 7038. Our friendly staff will be happy to answer any questions and help you book an appointment. You can also schedule an appointment online through our website for your convenience.


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