Part of my large toenail on one foot has turned yellow over the last 6 months. My wife thinks it is a fungal nail infection.
Approximately half of nail problems are due to a fungal infection. Fungal nail infection is about four times more common in toenails than fingernails and can involve all or part of the nail, including the nail plate, nail-bed and root of the nail. The chances of fungal nail infection increases as we get older. Several types of fungus can cause nail infections. 93% of fungal nail infections are caused by other fungal skin infections including athlete’s foot and ringworm. For example, athlete's foot is a fungal skin infection of the toes that easily spreads to the toenails.
There are several factors that increase the risk of a fungal nail infection, such as wearing shoes that cause hot sweaty feet, or being in a humid environment; regular damage to the nail or skin and having poor health, or certain health conditions such as diabetes or psoriasis. If the infection is not treated, there is a chance it will spread to other nails.
Fungal toenail infections are difficult to treat due to the hardness of the toenail. The infected nail looks thick and discoloured, perhaps white or yellowish. It may also be brittle or crumbly, and parts of the nail or even the whole nail may fall off. Other causes of brittle or crumbly nails could be psoriasis or under or over active thyroid. With no appointment needed, call into Whelehans where our pharmacist can check your feet in our private consultation room to assess whether if it is fungal nail infection. There is no charge for our pharmacist consultations.
Antifungal treatments containing amorolfine (Loceryl® paint) are painted onto the affected nails. It is only available on prescription. The treatment must be applied twice weekly and used for 9 to 12 months in fungal toenail infections. For resistant fungal nail, the doctor may prescribe Terbinafine tablets (eg Lamisil®). For fungal infections of the toe, terbinafine 250mg tabs need to be taken once daily for 3 months. They should not be prescribed for people with impaired liver function so a liver function test will be done before prescribing. Whelehans have less expensive generic versions or terbinafine tablets available. There are now over the counter fungal nail treatments such as Curanail® and Naloc® available over the counter in pharmacy without prescription; these do not suit all cases; our pharmacist can advise you. Whelehan’s chiropody service is every Tuesday and Thursday for adults and children.
This article is shortened to fit within Newspaper space limits. More detailed information and leaflets is available in store at Whelehans