Toenail fungus is an extremely common problem that afflicts many patients seen by Dr. Cherpack. Toenail fungus (mycotic nails or onychomycosis) is primarily caused by dermatophytes which are also the most common infective organisms which cause athlete’s foot (tinea pedis.)
As many have experienced, topical anti-fungals or home remedies are highly ineffective at treating nail fungus because at least 90% of nail fungus is an infection of the underlying nail bed, making topical treatment almost useless.
Definitive treatment is most successful with oral antifungals, which treat the fungus at its source. Contrary to popular belief, the oral medication is very safe and has little or no side effects. However, many nails (especially the big toenails) are dystrophic or deformed. This is evident when the nails are very thick and hard. There may be a concomitant nail infection under the nail plate, but treatment with medication or laser will not correct this problem. Dr. Cherpack always debrides (cuts, trims and sands the nails) so they are not thick and more aesthetically pleasing (which is what most patients are looking for). This treatment is very gentle and painless.