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Fungal Toenails

Fungus is all around us, some good, some bad. Some we eat, some that are quite gross, some that can poison us, and some that will grow on us. Donald Trump’s approval rating keeps ticking down over the last few weeks and now stands at around 38%. There are some that love President Trump, some that hate him, and, to borrow a line for an e-card I saw recently, President Trump is growing on some people like a fungus. But I digress. As I mentioned earlier, some fungus is good (penicillin is derived from a fungus, and some fungi are delicious), while other fungi can be bad (poisonous if eaten or can cause infection).

When it come to infection caused by fungus, one of the most common is fungal toenail infection. About 15% of people or around 35 million people have toenail fungus. It can be painful or just be embarrassing. It’s one of those things that is very easy to get, and very hard to get rid of; because of this the sooner you notice and come into Grand Central Podiatry, in Midtown Manhattan, to have it treated, the better the chances of getting rid of the fungal infection. That being said, there are several things that can work in treating fungal nails.

Topical solutions can be helpful, especially if the infection is caught early. It is necessary to continue applying the drops 1-2 times per day for nearly a year. This is because the solution doesn’t kill the fungus in the nail, instead it prevents it from growing. So, you need the nail to grow out completely which, for the big toe, takes about 9-12 months. If your toenail is big and thick, this option probably isn’t the best option for you.

Oral pills are the most effective treatment. Terbinafine is a pill you take once per day for about 3 months. It is attracted to the nail root and gets incorporated into the new nail as it grows out. Some podiatrist will have you use drops at the same time and continue the drops through the 9-12 months as normal. Using this technique, there is a 70-80% success rate. But, just like everything else in life, you can’t get something for free. The reason podiatrists and other doctors don’t treat all fungal nails with terbinafine is due to the low, but real, possibility of causing damage to the liver. Therefore, if you and your doctor decide to go this route, there will likely be blood work involved to make sure your liver is doing alright.

If your nails are bothering or hurting you and if you have any other foot or ankle problem, come see the foot and ankle specialist near Grand Central Station. I have decades of experience and would love to help relieve your foot and ankle concerns.

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