Fungal toenails can stem from a multitude of causes. Once your nails turn thick and discolored, any hope of getting rid of them may feel implausible. So how long does it take for your fungal toenails to go away?
If they are treated properly, fungal toenail infections typically take several months of treatment to heal. Since the healing properties of fungal nail treatments work as your nail grows, the speed at which your nails grow makes a difference. In general, it takes around 3-6 months to see results.
In order to see the best results, dedication to the treatment process is a must. That means choosing a fungal nail treatment that fits your lifestyle. Do you think you can remember to apply a topical every day? Or would you prefer a once-monthly treatment to get rid of the fungus? Read on to figure out which fungal nail treatment is right for you.
Treating Fungal Nails at Home
While foot and ankle specialists often disagree on the effectiveness of at-home fungal nail treatments, they may help get rid of the fungus if the condition hasn't advanced. If you just noticed that your nails have become thickened or discolored, trying one of these options might do the trick.
Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil has been shown to exhibit antifungal properties. Applying the essential oil topically may kill the fungus. Experts recommend applying the oil twice daily with a cotton swab to the surface of the affected nails. Because it cannot penetrate nail polish, you'll need to abstain from pedicures while treating the infection. It's also crucial to use pure, therapeutic-grade essential oils.
Plain, white vinegar has antibacterial and antifungal properties. While any evidence that vinegar alone will make your fungal toenails go away is anecdotal at best, there is little to no risk, so it's safe to try in mild cases. To treat fungal nails with vinegar, soak the affected foot in a bath of vinegar and water (a 1:2 part ratio) for about 20 minutes every day.
Adjusting Your Diet
Because the health of your nails is directly tied to your diet, changing your intake of protein and vitamin-rich foods can make a difference. We recommend focusing on B vitamins, which may include adding a biotin vitamin to your daily routine. Additionally, an improvement in your diet can be used in tandem with more traditional fungal nail treatments since eating food rich in vitamins and minerals has been shown to increase the speed of nail growth.
Check out this article on the top foods to encourage healthy nail growth.
When to See a Doctor About Your Fungal Toenails
While fungal toenails may seem like a cosmetic issue to some, the condition can actually lead to serious side effects. If you have diabetes, fungal toenails can worsen over time and eventually cause ulcers on your feet. Fungal nails have also been linked to an increased risk of cellulitis. Even in more mild cases or those without underlying health conditions, fungal nails can become painful.
At the end of the day, fungal nails (at the very least) are downright embarrassing. You feel the need to hide your feet by avoiding sandals or going barefoot. We typically see patients coming in with complaints of fungal toenails when the spring or summer rolls around, but starting treatment for fungal nails in the fall is actually ideal. This will give the nails time to grow out and for the treatment to work its magic.
Visiting a podiatrist will also ensure that you are dealing with a true fungal infection. Sometimes, nails can appear thick and discolored due to damage, trauma, or even your anatomy, so confirming the presence of fungus through a lab test is the most efficient first step in any treatment plan.
So, you've made the decision to see a professional about your fungal nail problem. What will they recommend?
Topical Fungal Nail Solutions
After confirming the infection, a topical solution can be purchased to treat the issue and get rid of the fungus. While kits are available at most drugstores, we recommend consulting a professional so you know you're spending your money on something that will actually work. Topical antifungal treatments must be applied every day and cannot be used over most nail polish or acrylic nails.
Check out what the Tolcylen Fungal Nail Solution can do for you!
Oral Antifungal Medications
Terbinafine (also known as Lamisil) is an effective, oral antifungal medicine. After a positive fungal nail sample, a series of bloodwork, and a prescription, you'll take one pill a day for a few months. Since this treatment works from the inside out, you can wear nail polish.
Laser Nail Therapy
This new, state-of-the-art treatment for fungal nails works by penetrating the nail to attack the fungus at the source. It consists of three treatments over the course of three months, and our office uses the revolutionary HyperBlue Plus laser system for these treatments. It must be performed at the clinic by a professional and is not billable through your insurance.
Weighing Your Options
The most important part of treating fungal toenails is finding an effective treatment that you can stick with. To find a treatment that works with your lifestyle and your goals, take a look at the chart below.
|Treatment Option||Frequency of Treatment||Length of Treatment||Cost of Treatment|
|Applied once daily||3-6 months||$59 per tube|
|One pill, once daily||3 months||Rx Copay (retail cost - $250)|
|3 in-office treatments||3 months||$300 for the package|
Now that you know what treatments are out there, your next step is to reach out. Schedule a consultation today and get back to beautiful, healthy-looking feet you'll be proud to show off when sandal season comes around again.