Toenail Fungal Infection (Toenail Fungus)

Prevention and Treatment of Toenail Fungal Infection

To prevent toenail fungal infection:
• Check your feet at least a few times a week (daily, if you have diabetes), looking carefully for any signs of toenail fungus. Also check carefully between your toes to see if there are any signs of athlete’s foot.

• Try to avoid going barefoot, especially in public places.

• Wash your feet well and dry them off carefully--especially between the toes—after bathing.

• IPFH suggests wearing properly selected and fitted, as part of an integrated approach, padded socks made of acrylic or acrylic blends that help wick moisture away from the foot, with shoes with non-slip outsoles and any inserts or orthotics prescribed or recommended by a doctor or foot health professional. Peer-reviewed, published studies have shown clinically-tested padded socks reduce moisture by wicking it away from the feet.

Properly designed and fitted shoes or boots have uppers made of mesh or another material that allows moisture to escape. If the shoe upper is made of leather, it should have vents or other openings that help evacuate moisture. Waterproof shoes do not allow moisture to escape and may create a wet environment conducive to the growth of fungus. Well-designed footwear also has few seams or raised areas that can cause pressure points or rub the skin, irritating feet that may already have been affected by toenail fungus.

Toenail fungal infection is also frequently accompanied by athlete’s foot, so take the same precautions to prevent toenail fungus as you would take to prevent athlete’s foot.

Although most cases of toenail fungus do not respond well to topical treatments and are best treated with oral medication prescribed by a physician, in 2014 The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that it had approved two new topical medications for toenail fungus that showed significantly better results than traditional topical treatments. These were efinaconazole 10% topical solution (brand name "Jublia") [click here and enter "Jublia" in the search box for more information:] and tavaborole topical (brand name "Kerydin") [click here and enter "Kerydin" in the search box for more information:].

Some early evidence suggests that laser treatment may also be effective. This is an expensive option and more research needs to be done, but it could be an alternative for people who don’t want to risk the potential side effects, such as liver damage, of oral medications.

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