Fungal Nail & Skin Therapy

Have your nails changed colour, shape or size recently? You may have picked up a fungal nail infection!

Medically known as onychomycosis, fungal nails affect 1 in 10 Australians, appearing more commonly in the elderly. This may result in ingrown pain, unsightly nails and therefore, a lack of confidence to wear the shoes you love.

What Causes Fungal Nail infections?

Fungal nails are mainly caused by many types of fungi, the most common being dermatophytes. These fungi feed on the keratin in your nails, resulting in the thick, discoloured and crumbling look. Other factors, such as immune system strength, blood circulation status and some chemotherapy medications may also increase your risk of fungal infections.

Treatment Options

There are four main treatment options for fungal nails

  1. Do nothing
    If your infection is mild and there are no other comorbidities, there is no serious health risk of leaving it alone. However, infected nails will remain discoloured and chalky
  2. Over-the-counter Anti-fungal lacquers
    Topical monotherapy is a valid therapeutic approach for fungal nails. It involves applying an antifungal lacquer either once or twice a day (depending on the product) for at least six months to eighteen months. It is the cheapest option; however, compliance is an issue due to its lengthy, rigorous treatment schedule, resulting often in failure to remove the fungus. Research has shown it to have a success rate of 8% -10%.
  3. PACT laser therapy – We offer this at Crows Nest Podiatry
    Photodynamic Antimicrobial Laser Therapy is a new treatment option we offer at Crows Nest Podiatry. Developed within the last decade that utilises light waves near the infra-red spectrum, in combination with photosensitive gel to penetrate the infectious fungi’s cell walls, killing them without causing any harm to the surrounding tissue. Studies have shown to have an extremely high success rate of 75% – 90%.

    Baltazar et al. 2015 reported that patients who were unresponsive to other standard treatments, including oral antifungals responded to PACT.

    Watanabe et al. follows two case studies PACT was successful in restoring nail function.

    Donnelly et al. reports that PACT has demonstrated conclusively that dermatophytes (main cause of fungal nails) and other fungi can be effectively killed with photodynamic action.

  4. Oral Antifungal Therapy
    Oral antifungals are not available over the counter and need a GP prescription to access. Your podiatrist can refer you to a GP if you wish to seek an oral medication intervention. They have a success rate of 85% percent, however have been known to have serious side effects and are contraindicated if you are on multiple medications or have liver function issues. Some side effects are: headaches, stomach and bowel problems, and dizziness.

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