WHAT CAUSES NAIL FUNGAL INFECTIONS?
Also known as onychomycosis, fungal infections in the toenails are common and affect a large number of adults in Asia. It is usually painless and may only be symptomised by some discolouration and a thickened nail – this often means that many individuals are not aware of their nail infection.
There are several causes, with the most common being the spread of other fungal infections (e.g. athlete’s foot) from the toes to the nails, or walking in damp areas where fungi thrive such as swimming pools. Often times, a damaged nail is also the starting point of any infection as well as aging and poor footwear choice and maintenance.
Dermatophytes and candida are the most common fungi that cause infections, but both of these may be treated similarly.
HOW CAN IT BE TREATED?
If caught in the early stages, curing fungal toenails is simple and normal, healthy toenails may be left to grow on its own after treatment. During consultation, our doctors will advise you on the possible options for treatment in order to obtain the good results. Typically, your options consist of:
- Topical anti-fungal treatments applied over several months
- Strong anti-fungal tablets administered orally over several months
- Surgical removal of infected nails (extreme cases only)
- Laser treatment that helps to remove fungus swiftly and painlessly
In addition, Premier Clinic also offers a thinning procedure which can help to reduce the treatment time. Using a scalpel, your doctor will expertly thin the infected nail which reduces treatment as there is less surface area to address. Please do not try this at home as it is a highly skilled procedure which may cause injury or even result in the spreading of infection if performed incorrectly.
The laser treatment utilised for this treatment is the Candela GentleYAG laser which works at a very specific wavelength (1064nm). Fungal spores will be targeted and be reduced in the months following treatment, and in the majority of patients, these spores can be completely removed from the skin surface, allowing the nail to grow back normally.
At Premier Clinic, we may also decide to use a combination of treatments in order to maximise the chances of a successful recovery. Combinations may include any of the treatments mentioned above, but this will vary depending on the patient’s situation as well as the initial diagnosis.