Does a Fungal Infection Require Toenail Removal?

Dr. Corey Fox
Connect with me
Director of Massapequa Podiatry Associates

When you look down at your feet and see unsightly, discolored toenails, you might wish they were gone, but a fungal infection does not require toenail removal!

Some people think a toenail must be removed when a fungal infection has developed; that it's the only true way to get to that offensive fungus residing under the protection of the nail.

That certainly makes sense, but it's just not accurate.

So, if we don't need to remove any nails, how can we treat toenail fungus?

Well, let's start with a very quick look at what happens in a fungal nail infection and how to recognize when you need professional treatment.

Nail fungus (anychomycosis) thrives in dark, warm, and moist environments, much like the ones found inside your shoes. Given that toes have less blood flow than most other areas of the body, it's harder for your body's immune system to recognize and defeat an infection on its own.

Mushrooms growing in-between toenails

You can recognize this fungal infection by toenails that have become discolored (often yellow), dull, brittle, and thickened or distorted. Basically, nails that do not have their clear, natural shine and appearance!

As with most conditions, seek treatment as soon as you notice a case of fungal toenails. Treating an infection earlier increases the likelihood of success in restoring your nails to health. If discovered very early, you may even find that home care—with such tools as over-the-counter antifungal agents—may clear up the infection.

When home care isn't enough, reach out to the professionals at Massapequa Podiatry Associates!

Professional care for toenail fungus is centered on eradicating the infection by using:

  • Topical medication. There are prescription topical medication options that can work on destroying fungus residing on the surface of the nails. Unfortunately, this kind of treatment can't easily reach spores underneath toenails.
  • Oral antifungal medications. The goal of this treatment is to attack the fungal infection from the inside. The medication is delivered via your bloodstream and can reach areas topical ones cannot. There may be side effects that accompany this treatment, though.
  • Laser therapy. Laser therapy for toenail fungus is a quick and effective option that provides optimal results. This treatment option combines the best of topical and oral medications—since it can target spores above and below infected nails—but without their respective downsides. It is completely safe, has no known side effects, and is proven to restore nails back to health.

Now, it is important to note that there are cases wherein we do recommend removing an infected nail and having new tissue grow in its place, but these tend to be rare. Plus, laser treatment has been able to reduce the amount of times we would need to recommend this practice.

If you are tired of looking down and seeing embarrassing, unsightly nails, contact our team here at Massapequa Podiatry Associates. We will provide the treatment you need, so give us a call at (516) 541-9000 and request your appointment today!

Be the first to comment!
Post a Comment