Fungal infections of the foot are extremely common – about 20% of the population are likely to be affected by this problem at some time in their lives.
Fungal toenails are a section of this group. There are over a hundred thousand different species of fungi, but only a very select few that will colonise and infect skin and nail tissue. What is important to remember with fungal nails is that there are a number of conditions that present in a very similar way, therefore it is important to get an early diagnosis to ensure you are treating the right problem.
At our foot clinic, we specialize in taking accurate samples for diagnostic culture and giving patients a full set of evidence-based options with which to treat these fungal problems.
Infection rates can increase considerably with communal living, specifically sports people who regularly share communal showering. The incidence also increases with age. It has been recorded that greater than 100 fungal elements can be identified off a one square metre floor space in a communal swimming bath. These can be extremely small but just as infective.
There are a number of different fungal nail types that can occur, including:
- The superficial fungal nail which occurs on top;
- The subungal, or underneath, fungal nail;
- The total fungal nail where the whole nail is infected.
Treatment is available for this difficult problem – WE CAN HELP
Don’t believe everything you hear around these treatments, come and consult with us prior to embarking on sometimes expensive and ineffective treatments, whereby basic management can be enough.
Example treatment plan and results:
Start treatment on a diseased nail where the bulk of the diseased tissue has fallen off and the remainder removed. The infected tissue must be removed to allow the treating solution to penetrate. Like removing rust from a car, if it’s left there it will create further infection and contamination. This is a fairly standard approach for all treatments of this nature including laser.
Do topical applications work?
Yes topical applications (the stuff you put on your nail) do work but as in any infected area the best option is to remove all the infected tissue first. This is exactly what we do at Waikato Podiatry and then we treat whatever the topical applications can’t and don’t do. We call this debridement. Once the dead infected tissue has been removed then we can get to the active area of infection and target specific treatment.