Onychomycosis, or fungal infection of the nail and nail bed, is the most common of all diseases of the nails in adults. The fungal organism causing onychomycosis (dermatophyte) is contagious and ubiquitous in the environment. Dermatophytes can infect the nails, the skin, and can live inside of your shoes. Toenail fungus has an inherited tendency and commonly runs in families. Besides being cosmetically unattractive, nail fungal infections can cause nail deformity, pain or discomfort while wearing shoes. It also can lead to more serious foot complications if a secondary infection develops.
Important facts about nail fungus treatment:
- Resolution of fungal infection is a lengthy (can easily take 1 year) process that takes commitment to a daily treatment protocol, which involves a multifaceted approach (aka, there is no ‘quick fix’). You must treat your nails, your skin AND your shoes.
- You will receive a Rx for a topical nail compound, which combines Lamisil (best known for its oral route) + antifungal (-azole class) + Ibuprofen (known to increase the efficacy of antifungals). This medication is only available through a compounding pharmacy (franchise pharmacies like CVS, Rite-Aid, etc DO NOT compound).
- You will receive a Rx for a topical antifungal cream called Naftin. This will be sent directly to your usual pharmacy.
- You should purchase a Shoe Sterilizer (ie,Sterishoe or UV Total Recovery- available on Amazon.com).
- You should use an antifungal oil (ie, ARCH Sole Savour nail oil) for the nails after the first 2 weeks of compound use to hydrate the nail, and improve overall nail health. Archer developed ARCH specifically for this purpose. All ARCH products (cream, oil, scrub) have antiseptic, and antifungal properties (available at drkristaarcher.com). Use discount code ARCH5.
- You should purchase antifungal socks such as Incredisocks incrediwear.com. Use discount code ARCHER20. Read more about the technology here www.incrediwear.com/our-technology/
- You should purchase Dani-Pro Antifungal Clear Base Coat to use before wearing the color polish of your choice (available in-office).
- Archer offers her patients an in-office laser treatment with the CoolTouch CT3 that treats fungal toenails. This laser is currently FDA cleared to treat acne scars, fine lines, and wrinkles, and has also received general podiatry FDA clearance. This laser treatment has been shown to effectively treat onychomycosis in clinical and in-office trials, and uses invisible infrared beams to safely treat fungal nails with no adverse side effects.
“Before laser treatment, combinations of topical and oral antifungal medications were used to cure infected nails as part of a long and drawn-out treatment plan. Today patients require about four CoolBreeze treatments averaging about one minute per nail. The procedure is pain-free, and patients can resume their normal activities the same day. The best part for women is that they can continue to paint their toenails throughout the course of the treatment.”
There are several shoe sanitizers on the market that utilize UVC light to kill bacteria, fungi, and viruses in your shoes. Steri-Shoe and the UV Total Recovery Shoe Sanitizer are 2 examples (available on Amazon). Using a shoe sanitizer is a very important and crucial part of the Fungus Protocol. If you have toenail fungus (onychomycosis), you first need to have the fungus treated. Laser treatment is effective in eliminating the fungus in several sessions. However, recurrence of toenail fungus is very common, and often predictable if treatment stops there; you can easily get re-infected from the microbes in your shoes. After laser treatment, it is imperative to begin a shoe sterilization regimen to kill the fungus spores and microbes that reside in your shoes. To ensure your shoes will be a healthy and microbe-free environment for your feet, use a shoe sanitizer to effectively kill the microbes in your shoes.