What it is:
Nail fungus (onychomycosis) is an infection of the toenail or fingernail plate and
How to treat it:
Cases of onychomycosis can be categorized as mild, moderate or severe. The diagnosis can be made by a simple culture of the nail plate. This should be considered because not all cases of thickened nails are caused by fungal infection. Be sure your provider takes a careful medical history and physical exam prior to any treatment. The milder cases can be treated initially with debridement of the thickened or discolored nail, and a daily topical antifungal preparation. In any of the cases, laser treatments can safely be added to this protocol, and in the more resistant cases can be repeated several times if needed. Oral antifungal medications such as terbinafine and itraconazole can be used in the more difficult cases, and complete removal of the nail plate may also be performed. Since a new nail plate can take six to nine months or more to completely grow out or turn over, it takes a while before the patient notices significant change if the condition is improving. Basic hygiene consisting of daily sock and shoe changes, antifungal sprays and ultraviolet treatments to shoegear should also be practiced.