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Fungal Nail Infection

and Athlete's Foot

Margaret Carruthers Podiatrist and Chiropodist | Fungal nail and Athlete's Foot

Fungal nail (known as Onychomycosis) is the same fungal infection as Athlete’s Foot. The infection can infect any part of your nail, including your nail plate, bed and root, as well as the skin around the nail, between the toes and on the skin of the foot.  The infection starts off as a white or yellow spot or spike within the nail, eventually spreading on the whole nail, to cause thickening, crumbling, brittleness and discolouration. The infection can spread to other toe nails and if left untreated can cause permanent damage to the nail. Fungal nail infections are contagious and are easy to catch in places where you’re barefoot such as changing rooms and swimming pools, or sharing contaminated towels clothing or nail scissors. They are also more common in people with sweaty feet or who don’t dry between the toes thoroughly. 

How can it be correctly diagnosed?

Although clinical/visual diagnosis is correct 60% of the time, this figure is much improved by using a new and reliable system called ‘Diafactory testing’. This super cedes microscopy/culture which traditionally diagnosed fungal nail but was not always accurate and took a long time to process. The ‘Diafactory’ system gives immediate results, with 98% accuracy and it can be done within the clinic session. 

Treatment Options

The infected nails can be left untreated, without ill effect to health. However, there are good reasons to treat the infection, especially as it may be symptomatic of other underlying more serious conditions such as Diabetes, low immunity or poor circulation. The infection will never clear ‘on its own’ and can spread to other nails and parts of the body. In addition, many pedicurists won’t touch ‘fungal nails’, because they don’t want to risk contaminating their equipment. Oral prescription drugs can be used but are known to have side effects. Over the counter nail treatments, used with traditional methods of nail debridement to allow access to the fungus have had limited success because they cannot pass through the nail to the nail bed. At my clinic, I have invested in the very best techniques and equipment to clear your fungal nail infection. This new system is called ‘Clearanail’.

What is Clearanail and why does it work?

creates micro indentations into the nail; thereby allowing antifungal medication to penetrate where it will be most effective. The micro holes are very small; they are 0.4 mm in diameter (about the same width as four human hairs) and the machine uses computer-controlled technology to accurately gauge the exact hole depth for each nail. For more information on research trials please read resources




How many treatments are required?
Typically only one session is required to make the holes. But in long established fungal infection cases, further sessions may be required, to ensure that the fungus is completely eradicated.

How long does the treatment take?
Approximately half an hour to an hour to make the holes; depending on how many nails are affected.

How is the subsequent antifungal solution applied?
Lamisil Spray, used twice daily by the patient. The solution penetrates to the nail bed via the newly drilled holes and therefore tackling the source of the infection directly. This will be supplemented by Lamisil foot cream for the skin of both feet and Daktarin foot spray to be used on shoes. In addition, all underwear must be washed at 60 degrees, for up to a month, to eliminate all sources of the infection.

How quickly will it work?
A visible improvement will usually be seen in the nail in just 2-8 weeks. Usually by 28 weeks it is nearly clear and by a year it is completely resolved. Success depends on committing to daily use of the antifungal spray for up to 3 months and daily use of antifungal cream on the skin of the foot at the same time to eliminate all fungal spores. The micro holes grow out with the nail.
Other info: - The skin must be treated at the same time as the nail, otherwise re-infection will occur. After clearance; prophylactic use of antifungals, is advised on the nail and skin once monthly.

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