Onychomycosis or toenail fungus, as the name implies, is a fungal infection of the toenail. This is a condition that is best treated as soon as the symptoms show up to avoid further complications.
What is toenail fungus?
Toenail fungus is an infection that gets in through cracks in your nail or cuts in your skin. It can make your toenail change color or get thicker. It can also hurt. Because toes are often warm and damp, fungus grows well there. Different kinds of fungi and sometimes yeast affect different parts of the nail. Left untreated, an infection could spread to other toenails, skin, or even your fingernails. Source: WebMD
Symptoms of a fungal nail infection
A fungal nail infection may not cause any obvious symptoms at first.
As it progresses, the infection can cause:
– discolouration of the nail– it may turn white, black, yellow or green
– thickening and distortion of the nail– it may become an unusual shape or texture and be difficult to trim
– pain or discomfort– particularly when using or placing pressure on the affected toe or finger
– brittle or crumbly nails – pieces may break off and come away completely
Sometimes the skin nearby may also become infected and be itchy and cracked or red and swollen. Source: NHS
Over-the-counter creams and ointments usually do not help treat this condition.
Prescription antifungal medicines that you take by mouth may help clear the fungus.
– You will need to take the medicine for about 2 to 3 months for toenails; a shorter time for fingernails.
– Your provider will do lab tests to check for liver damage while you are taking these medicines.
Laser treatments may get rid of the fungus in the nails.
In some cases, you may need to have the nail removed. Source: MedlinePlus
As mentioned above, laser treatments are the most effective way to get rid of toenail fungus. It doesn’t cause unwanted side effects unlike oral medication, and it also has a greater chance of clearing the nail fungus.