You have toenail fungus. You've done your research and you're still pretty confused by all information out there. You know you want to use a topical treatment but there are so many choices-- everything from tea tree oil, to homeopathic remedies, to Jublia. Which one should you choose?

Get Your Nails Tested

First, before you can decide how to treat your nails it's important to determine if your nails have fungus. As a Seattle podiatrist who sees a lot of toenail fungus, I send my patients nails to a lab to be tested. Once I know its fungus then I work with my patients to determine the best strategy for them.

What to Expect From Topicals

Over the years, there have been many different topical medications prescribed for treatment of fungal nails. Unfortunately, the success rate called, “complete cure”--killing the fungus plus restoring a normal appearing nail--is very low (~20% no matter which medications or remedies have been used). That's why I don't advise my patients to choose this method by itself if they want a greater chance of having clear nails.

How to Get the Most Out of Topicals

So although I don't recommend using topicals alone, if you choose to go this route here are ways to obtain better results:

  • Treat your nails with the topical daily for 12 months (it takes that long for your nail to grow out)
  • Treat the nails with a topical urea preparation 2-4 weeks prior to beginning the use of a topical antifungal e.g. Kera Nail Gel. This medication will cause the nail to slough/thin, and make the nail more penetrable by the topical medication.
  • File nails daily with an emery board; this will also help with topical penetration.
  • Kill the fungus harbored in your shoes by using an ultraviolet shoe sanitizer on a daily basis.
  • Treat the skin around the nails with a topical antifungal (i.e. Lamisil, Tinactin) to minimize the exposure of the nails to fungus in the skin.

If you've tried using topicals alone and are dissatisfied with the results, call us 206-368-7000. We use the Pinpoint FootLaser™ in addition to topicals and a shoe sanitizer for the best results in getting rid of toenail fungus.

Other information on nail fungus:

For more information about your feet, get our free foot book "No More Foot Pain" mailed directly to your home.

Seattle foot and ankle specialist, Dr. Rion Berg offers foot care for patients with bunions, heel pain, diabetes, fungal toenails, ingrown nails, and surgical solutions when needed to residents of Seattle, Bellevue, Kirkland, Shoreline, Lake Forest Park, Mountlake Terrace, Lynnwood and other surrounding suburbs.

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