Skip to main content

4 Ways to Get Rid of Toenail Fungus

4 Ways to Get Rid of Toenail Fungus

Toenail fungus, medically called onychomycosis, is a widespread infection of the toenails. The infection occurs when fungi get between the nail and the nail bed, the tissue just underneath the toenail, usually through a crack or cut in your toe.

Toenail fungus is a common problem, especially as you get older. Medical experts suggest that onychomycosis affects 1 in 10 people overall, jumping to 1 in 2 for people over 70.

At Monroe Foot & Ankle Care in Jamesburg, New Jersey, podiatric physician and surgeon Dr. Elliott Perel and his staff understand how unsightly toenail fungus can be, which is why they offer a variety of treatments to get rid of it. Here’s what you need to know.

How does toenail fungus get started?

While more than one kind of fungus can cause a nail infection, dermatophytes (a type of mold) cause the most. These microorganisms feed off the keratin in your nails, the protein that makes them hard.

Many types of toenail fungus are quite contagious. You can spread the infection to someone else through direct contact or by touching an infected surface. Since nail fungi thrive in dark, warm, and moist places, you can easily become infected if you walk barefoot around a swimming pool, public locker room, or shower.

Toenail fungus rarely spreads to other areas of your skin (which also contains keratin), but when the dermatophytes attack the skin first it’s called ringworm; when it’s between the toes it’s called athlete’s foot, and when it’s in the groin area, it’s called jock itch.

4 ways to get rid of toenail fungus

There are four broad ways you can get rid of toenail fungus.

1. Oral antifungal medications

Antifungals are prescription medications taken orally every day for several months — or even longer. Some of the most common include terbinafine (Lamisil®), itraconazole (Sporanox®) and fluconazole (Diflucan®). These medications have side effects, so Dr. Perel may monitor you with blood tests every so often. They can also interact with other medications, so they’re not for everyone.

2. Topical medications

Topical medications are like nail polish, and you apply them to the nail just like polish. They can take a long time to work by themselves; they’re most effective when paired with oral medications.

3. Laser treatments

Dr. Perel directs a laser beam and special lights at the infected toenail to destroy the fungus. Lasers are FDA-approved for “temporary increase of clear nail,” but they’re by no means a cure. In fact, cure rates for laser treatment are lower than both oral and topical medications, so it’s not typically used as a first-line treatment.

4. Surgery

If your nail is severely affected and other treatment options fail, Dr. Perel may choose to remove the nail altogether. A new nail will grow in its place, but it may take up to 18 months to grow back fully, as nails grow quite slowly.

If an unsightly fungal toenail infection is putting a dent in your self-confidence, it’s time to come into Monroe Foot & Ankle Care for a consultation with Dr. Perel. Give the office a call at 732-521-6166, or book online with us today.

You Might Also Enjoy...

My Warts Are Embarrassing; Can You Help?

If you’re embarrassed by the appearance of warts, there are a number of conservative and surgical treatment options that will clear them up. We’ve got the scoop here.

How Are Customized Orthotics Made?

Orthotics are medical devices that fit in your shoes to relieve foot pain and improve functionality. Keep reading to learn more about them and how the customized versions are made.

Why Do I Feel Like There's a Pebble in My Shoe When Walking?

If you constantly feel like there’s a pebble in your shoe, especially if it’s accompanied by pain between the toes, you may have a condition called Morton’s neuroma. Keep reading to learn what it is and what we can do to relieve your discomfort.

The Early Warning Signs of Ingrown Toenails

Ingrown toenails are more than just a painful nuisance. Proper treatment is necessary to prevent a serious infection. Keep reading to learn the early warning signs so you’ll know when to seek medical help.