If you want to have clear nails by summer, start now
As a practicing podiatrist for more than 20 years, I understand how long nails take to improve when fungus is present. Healthy nails take three months to grow out while fungal nails can take nine to 12 months to grow out. With that in mind, the clock is ticking. While you may take comfort in hiding your toes in your Uggs during the winter, know that summer and flip flop season will be here before you know it.
So how do I treat fungal nails? There are generally three treatments available with varying levels of efficacy. I tailor the procedure with the risks and complications to each patient. Unfortunately, no treatment is faster than any other treatment. Some succeed better than others though.
The first treatment that I will touch on are topical lacquers. There are many medicines in this grouping and too many for me to list. Milder fungal infections respond better to lacquers than do severe cases. I rarely recommend these for severe infections except for patients with medical issues that can’t be treated with other therapies. The medicines are usually applied once daily or in some cases twice daily. Side effects are rare, but effectiveness is not as strong as other treatments in my hands.
I also treat fungal nails with oral medications. Oral medications have better effectiveness than the topicals in my experience. The patient will take the pills for 90 days. After the course of therapy, the medicine can work up to one year after the last pill is taken. One caveat is that the pills get processed by the liver and tests needs to be done to assess the condition of the liver prior to therapy. A simple blood draw is performed allowing us to assess your liver enzymes to ensure that the medicine can be taken safely.
The last treatment available in my arsenal is laser care for nail fungus. Laser treatment works by exposing the nail to heat, light and wavelength helping to destroy the fungus in the nail. I have been performing this treatment for more than a decade and have enjoyed success with this modality. No blood tests are needed and no topical medications to apply during care either. Two treatments are generally needed but more may be required. The treatment takes 15 minutes to finish. As with other treatments time is needed for the nails to grow out.
No one wants fungal toenails, but if you have them, they will not go away on their own. Treatment needs to start soon if you want to show off your toes this summer.
David Weiss, DPM, is the owner of Weiss Foot & Ankle Center located at 777 South White Horse Pike, Suite D1 in Hammonton. For more information or to make an appointment, call (609) 561-2488 or visit weissfootandankle.com.