Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Answers To Toenail Fungus Quiz!

Yesterday, I posted a short quiz on toenail fungus (onychomycosis).  As promised, here are today's answers (along with the questions in case you missed them yesterday):

1. Nail fungus is a sign of bad hygiene.

True or False

2. Nail fungus is commonly caused by the fungus that causes ringworm.

True or False

3. Failure to treat athlete’s foot will increase your chances of developing toenail fungus.

True or False

4. Common places to catch infections are locker rooms, pool sides, etc.

True or False

5. Fungal infection of the nail may destroy the nail.

True or False

1. False---Nail fungus is an infective problem. It has no relation with nail hygiene. Nail fungus is caused by a fungus or a type of yeast.

2. True---The fungus of the dermatophyte family that causes ringworm, also causes nail fungus.

3. True---If you don't treat athlete's foot, the infection may reach the nails and infect them.

4. True---Common areas that are infected with fungus like locker rooms, pool sides, etc. are the places where you catch nail fungus infection. Wash your feet after visiting such places, dry them and if you are susceptible to fungal infections, apply an anti-fungal ointment. Wear footwear whenever possible.

5. True---If the infection spreads, the nail may get detached and may fall off.

Unlike when I first began to practice podiatry, there are treatment options for toenail fungus that actually work!  As a new podiatrist, the best options I had available for the treatment of toenail fungus included periodic trimming and grinding down of toenails (which did not resolve the infection) and permanent removal of the affected toenail(s) - not a very popular option. 

Today, however, I can offer three options for treating toenail fungus.  First, for mild cases, there are topical antifungal medications.  I prefer a medication called Formula 3.  It is applied twice daily for one year.  This does take some effort on the part of the patient, and for severe cases, the medication has a hard time penetrating the toenail deep enough to actually kill the fungus.  Formula 3 is available for sale in my office.

The second option available is an oral mediation called terbinafine.  This is the generic version of Lamisil.  Because it is taken internally, the medication becomes incorporated into the toenail, and over a period of several months, the toenail gradually grows out clear.  Over the years, I have seen a lot of success with terbinafine.  However, not everyone is able to take terbinafine.  Some patients cannot take terbinafine due to potential harmful interactions with other medications they are taking.  In addition, those with kidney or liver disease should avoid terbinafine. 

The final option that is now offered at Concord Foot and Ankle Clinic is the use of the PinPointe FootLaser.  This laser was specifically designed to treat toenail fungus, and is FDA approved for the treatment of the onychomycosis.  The PinPointe FootLaser works by gently heating the toenail bed, thereby killing the fungus.  Once the fungus is killed, the toenail gradually grows out clear.  This is a procedure that is done in the office, taking 30 to 60 minutes.  Some patients may experience temorary warmth during the procedure; however, anesthesia is not required.  Because of the gentle way the PinPointe FootLaser works, there are no known side effects, and is a treatment option open to almost everyone.  As with other treatments for onychomycosis, clearing of the toenail takes several months, and is seen first at the base of the nail as new, disease-free nail begins to grow out.  To learn more about the PinPointe FootLaser and to see if it is right for you, visit my website by clicking here.  While there, you can browse through the gallery of before and after pictures.  You may also wish to simply call my office at (574) 875-8698.  We would be happy to answer any questions you might have.

With all the treatments now available for onychomycosis, there is no reason for anyone to continue to suffer with this condition. 

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