Toenail fungus, or onychomycosis, can be a persistent infection which can cause discomfort. The most reported concern is the cosmetic appearance of the nail; this is totally understandable. The nail lifts, thickens, discolours and regularly crumbles.More often than not those living with fungal nails have tried numerous treatments with no success.
Toenail fungus treatment modalities currently offered have great treatment efficacy but often reoccurrence can become problematic. There are a range of factors that cause reoccurrence. Some people have a strong genetic predisposition to the infection, a range of environmental factors, or sometimes bad luck acquiring an infection from a nail salon.
We treat toenail fungus every day with success and with confidence. Importantly, we treat it honestly.
Of recent, lots of clinics, cosmetic clinics and podiatry clinic are treating fungal nails without the experience or the knowledge of fungal nail disease. As a podiatrist, when a patient presents stating they have tried every treatment including laser, topical medication, oral medication, and home remedies it can get frustrating. Particularly if there have been no positive changes in the nail. With treatment success ranging from 25%-90% you either have to be unlucky or not being treated correctly. Or the patient has not been advised on what their nail will look like after the infection skewing expectations. There is also the chance you don’t actually have a fungal nail infection. This presents to us almost every day.
So what other conditions can cause the appearance of the nail to change or mimic a fungal nail infection?
These are conditions such as psoriasis, drug induced nail changes, congenital nail deformities, hereditary nail conditions, melonychia, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, ectodermal dysplasia, congenital malalignment of the great toenails, micronychia, onycholysis, paronychia, ungual warts, trachonychia, onychauxis, onychogryphosis and more!
This is where diagnostic ability, knowledge and honesty of the practitioner is important. Treating any of those above mentioned conditions as a fungal infection can either make the nail worse or alternatively you may find yourself spending on the wrong treatment.
Cold laser is the latest spate in toenail fungus treatments. Advertised as the holy grail of treatment. Not to mention names, there are companies which don’t have registered podiatrists or health care professionals offering this treatment. What is seemingly bizarre is this treatment is yet to be researched and is not regulated by the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods. The ‘ARTG’ is the governing body on what is safe and effective to use on the Australian public. Realistically, laser light at such a low level is not damaging to tissue but there is no independent published research on the effect of the laser on fungal nails.
Overall, all that can be said is seek second opinions for the diagnosis of your nail. Sometimes testing to the nail can be a false-negative. Make sure you have a detailed medical and medication history taken. Avoid jumping from treatment to treatments as all treatments take time to show results. Stick with evidence based treatments, we know what works and what does not work – taking unnecessary treatment risks is not necessary.
If you need a second opinion are unsure about your nails give us a call on 9431 1138 or click here to book online.