4 Treatment Strategies for Killing Nail Fungus

Nail fungus is a notoriously difficult problem to remedy. Not only can your nails become unsightly, but in severe cases, the nail can crumble from the nail bed and the surrounding tissue may become infected. Fortunately, there are several strategies to eliminate nail fungus.

Topical Treatments

One of the major treatments for nail fungus is to use topical medications to kill fungus. Since topical medications can take time to penetrate the nail and reach the fungus, this strategy can take more than a year before the effects are noticeable. Your nails must grow in completely clear before the treatment is viewed as a success. Although the treatment is lengthy, there is an advantage over systemic treatments because there are fewer risks of side effects. Topical treatments can take the form of prescription ointments, but you can also use over-the-counter remedies. One method is the application of menthol vapor rub to your affected nails. You will need to apply the product twice per day, and treatment can take a year or more.

Oral Antifungals

Oral antifungals can be easier to use than slathering topical treatments on your toes, but in some cases, they may require several months of treatment before they work. Additionally, you will need regular blood work to make sure your liver enzymes do not become elevated during treatment, which can indicate liver damage. This risk is exacerbated if you take other medications that have the risk of liver damage, such as medications used to treat chronic diseases and/or pain conditions. Although these medications are potent, it may be worth the risk for a faster treatment course and it may be easier to maintain a treatment regimen.

Laser Treatments

Laser treatments for nail fungus can provide the best compromise between oral and topical treatments. Since laser treatments are administered externally, there is not the risk associated with systemic treatments. The laser treatments can kill fungus at its source, making it more powerful than traditional topical medications. In some cases, multiple laser treatments may be necessary to completely eliminate the fungus.

Maintenance Therapy

Regardless of the method you use to kill nail fungus, reinfection is always a risk. First, it is important to continue a treatment until you are sure the nail has grown in completely clear. Additionally, you should treat all affected nails at once to minimize the risk of one nail infecting neighboring nails. To minimize the chance of reinfection, it is good practice to purchase new footwear after the infection clears. Also consider investing in shoe sterilizing products, such as sprays or ultraviolet sanitizers, to reduce the likelihood of future infections.

Although nail fungus can be difficult to eliminate, there are treatment strategies to kill the infection and methods to reduce the return rate. Being thorough with your treatment and maintenance can help you treat the problem right the first time.