Fungal Toenail Management £98
Optional: laboratory report £145
Fungal nail infections begin as small discolourations under the toenail. Over time the nail thickens, becomes discoloured and eventually so brittle it can fall off. All it takes is a single, tiny fracture to your nail for spores to get in. The warm, damp environment of your socks, shoes and tight spaces between the toes give them all the food and shelter they need to spread.
The first step is to identify what kind of infection it is - not all are caused by fungi. Once identified, it's much easier to start treatment. Our head podiatrist has written an excellent guide on the subject which we recommend you read if you'd like to know more.
Proper treatment can take several months, something over-the-counter medications downplay. Remember, you're dealing with spores that have had millions of years to perfect their craft, so they won't go away easily. Add in the fact that you need to wait for your nails to grow out to see the effects of the treatment, and it's at least 8 weeks before you notice fresh growth. You may need oral antibiotics, topical medication or a medicated nail lacquer.
You don't need a mycology test in most cases, though they are often recommended. A podiatrist has the skills, training and experience to bypass the roulette of over-the-counter medication, and begin addressing cause as well as symptoms. You can take steps to ensure that the the potential risks of re-infecting yourself and your household, but the best combination is to do both at the same time.