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Toenail Fungus: The Getting, Going, and Staying Gone

Onychomycosis is the medical term for nail fungus and yes, you are not the only one hiding your ugly toenails. Over 6 million Americans suffer from toenail fungus and the number continues to grow more every year. Every day, I am faced with questions regarding oral treatment for toenail fungus, and there seems to be a lot of misunderstandings and myths. Do you know the truth about oral fungal treatments?


Truth or Myth? Oral treatments such as Lamisil damage your liver.
This can be true and false. Oral fungal medication does put your liver at an increase risk of damage, but when used properly the risk is minimal. For this reason, activities like consuming alcohol are prohibited while taking the medication because it intensifies the risk of liver damage. To prevent any damage from occurring, doctors will take blood work to determine your liver function before and during the course of your treatment. If any signs of risk are present, the treatment is discontinued and there are often no consequences once the treatment is halted.

Truth or Myth? You can NEVER have toenail fungus and athletes foot at the same time.
Myth. Toenail fungus and athlete’s foot are caused by the same fungus, thus it is very common to see both at the same time. Often, one will experience athlete’s foot first and then the fungus migrates to the toenails. It is thus very important to treat athlete’s foot aggressively and to use preventative medicine to keep the fungi off of your feet. I often suggest patients to use over the counter antifungal cream a couple times a week on their feet if they are prone to getting fungal infections.

Truth or Myth? Sweaty feet can cause toenail fungus.
True! Fungus loves warm moist environments. You’re gym sneakers are a 5 star resort for the family fungi vacation. If you have sweaty feet, you are creating a haven in your shoes and socks for fungus to multiply. A podiatrist can offer several treatments for excessive foot sweating and will help decrease the nasty growth from spreading. It is also suggested to change your socks twice a day and to alternate shoes so as to not wear the same pair two days in a row and thus allowing them to dry and air out.

Truth or Myth? If I take oral medication for toenail fungus, I’ll never have to worry about fungus again!
Myth. The fungus that grows under our toenails also grows in our shoes, showers, floors, soil, and almost everywhere you walk. Thus, reoccurrence after the oral medication can be very common. It is important to take preventative measures to keep fungus out of your toenails! There are a number of products that kill fungus in your shoes and on your feet. Using these products weekly after your toenail fungus is gone can help decrease the risk of seeing those ugly toenails.

Truth or Myth? Oral treatment is the only way to get rid of Toenail fungus?
Myth? If the entire nail is infected, there are very few treatment options and oral medication has the most documented success. But recently, there have been some breakthrough treatments that have become very popular. There are several types of lasers that are on the market that are showing good signs to eliminate the fungus. The Laser treatment available at FAANT has been recently FDA approved and is 70-80% effective!