Fungal nail infection (also called onychomycosis) is responsible for approximately 50% of all nail disease and in western countries it appears to be on the rise* due to our ageing populations and lifestyle changes.
If you suspect you have a fungal nail infection there are many treatments available—although success rates vary greatly.
Treating fungal nail
“Typically fungal nail infection won’t go away without treatment; this can include over-the-counter topical antifungal creams and ointments, prescribed oral antifungal pills, laser treatment, or, in severe cases, surgical nail removal,” says Dr Brenden, principle podiatrist and owner at A Step Ahead Foot + Ankle Care.
“The biggest problem with topical antifungal agents is that they’re often ineffective, while oral terbinafine—despite being considered a ‘first-line’ treatment—requires strict adherence for 12 weeks.”
In recent years laser technology has emerged as an effective method of treating fungal nail infections. Performed by your local podiatrist, laser allows light to pass through the nail into the nail bed, effectively treating the infection at its source.
The heat from the laser kills both fungi and spores. Providing every nail is treated (which is what we recommend), the likelihood of success is high.
Preventing fungal nail from striking
“Fungal nail infection is much like a tummy bug; it can be passed on to others you come into contact with, particularly family members. As such, it really does pay to know how to protect against fungal infection,” says Dr Brenden (A.k.a Dr Foot)
The following steps can help keep your feet and nails fungus free:
Avoid public showers. If you must use a community shower—wear thongs
Boil your socks. Fungi thrive in warm, moist environment (Hello sports socks!) but they can’t survive extremely high temperatures. Boil your socks regularly, for at least 10 minutes, to kill off any hidden fungi spores.
Keep feet clean and dry. In between sweaty toes is the ideal habitat for infuriating fungi. Stop fungal infection for striking by keeping feet clean and dry. If you’re prone to sweaty feet, try an antifungal foot powder, spray the soles of your feet with antiperspirant and don’t forget to change your socks daily.
Don’t share nail clippers. Sharing is caring but not when it comes to fungal nail infection. Be vigilant at the nail salon; ensure the nail tools they use have been sterilised.
We treat several people a day for fungal nail infections. If we can help you please let us know! You can contact us through our helpful front desk team. They speak to multiple patients a day with this condition. They can run you through our process and costings and reserve an appointment time that suits you best. Our number is +61 2 9673 2987 we would LOVE to help.
Medical clinics + other podiatry clinics
If you are one of the many Podiatry / Medical clinics that follow my posts please read the details in my clinic websites, I am currently developing a course for practitioners interested in learning more effective and efficient ways of treating nail fungus. If you follow our posts we will announce this as it occurs or simply send us a message and our office will save your details. We look forward to helping you as well! Our number is 02 9673 2987. Hope to chat soon.
Children spend at least 30 hours a week stomping around in their school shoes. This means that choosing the right shoe is really important for the health and comfort of your child’s feet.
“Ill-fitting school shoes can lead to a multitude of foot problems in adulthood, such as ingrown toenails, corns, callus, bunions and hammer toes. There’s also evidence to suggest that poorly fitting shoes can cause back pain,” says podiatrist and founder of A Step Ahead Foot + Ankle Care, Dr Brenden.
No parent wants to put their child through undue foot pain or cause feet issues in later life. By understanding how to select the right shoes for children and following the guidance of a podiatrist, parents can help ensure they’re a step ahead when it comes to picking out the best back-to-school shoes.
With Dr Brenden’s top tips, choosing the right back-to-school shoes for your child should be as easy as…well…A,B,C!
Get the best fit. It can be tempting to buy a size bigger, given how fast children’s feet grow, but the key is to allow a maximum of one thumb width between the top of the longest toe and the end of the shoe.
Heel support. Squeeze the back of the shoe to make sure the heel counter is strong and stable. This way you know you’re getting good heel support. The heel of the shoe should also be no higher than 1.5 cms.
Fasten up. Check that the fastening mechanism (laces, Velcro or buckle) holds the heel firmly in the back of the shoe. Slip-on shoes are not recommended for school wear.
Sole survivor. The soles of shoes should be fairly straight, rather than curved, as this accommodates the straightness of the foot. Also, if you attempt to ‘wring out’ the shoe by holding one hand at the heel and the other in the middle, it should not twist.
Flexibility. A flexible shoe allows for the natural movement of the foot but make sure that the shoe flexes at the ball of the foot; the shoe should NEVER bend in the middle.
A higher price tag doesn’t always mean a better shoe. Well-known brands, such as Clarks, do tend to outlast some of the cheaper brands but this is because they are well made using quality materials. Check to see that the shoe you’re considering buying is made from a high-quality, durable material.
Forget foot weights. You might be fooled into thinking that a heavy shoe is a sign of good quality. Yet a shoe that is particularly heavy is probably not going to be the most comfortable choice. A shoe should weigh no more than approximately 250 grams. That’s less than a can of soup!
Hand-me-down shoes are a no-no. Aside from the risk of fungal or bacterial infection, pre-worn shoes are likely to have molded to the shape of the previous owner’s feet. It’s also probable that the tread and heel counter have worn down, offering less support and poorer stability for your child’s feet.
Listen to your child. If your child complains of foot pain or discomfort or you notice they are walking differently, take a trip to your local podiatrist to have their feet checked.
“Parents commonly ask how long school shoes should last. Of course, this will depend on the quality of the shoe but on average they should last nine months to a year.
“However, if you notice your child has a growth spurt—check to see if their feet have outgrown their shoes. On average, children’s feet grow about half a shoe size every six months,” says Dr Brenden.
Plus, check out Dr Brenden’s YouTube reviews of some of the latest (2018) school shoes on the market (Includes Ascent Eve Black, ASICS Gel Trigger, New Balance 625 KX, Target Billy Senior—to name just a few!)
Despite the fact that fungal nail infections are notoriously tricky to get rid of, they’re thankfully quite easy to avoid—if you know how, of course!
Fungal infections are seriously easy to contract and super contagious, so it pays to have a few tips up your sleeve to beat a fungal skin or nail infection.
Top 5 tips for fungus-free feet
1.Boil your socks
We’re not kidding; regularly popping your socks in a pot of boiling water can help stop you from getting fungal nail and prevent friends and relatives from catching it (if you’ve already got it!).
Why? Fungus can’t survive extremely high temperatures. Boiling your socks for 10 minutes at 55-60 degrees will kill off any fungus that might be lurking in your socks. But remember, simply washing your socks on a regular (40-60 degree) wash cycle will do nada to nuke fungal spores.
2.Don’t share showers
Communal showers are a breeding ground for fungus. This is because fungal infections are extremely common and public showers are high-traffic areas; lots of feet means a much greater chance of catching a fungal infection! Think Gyms, swimming pools, beach side change rooms!
Super tip; If you must share a shower area, be sure to wear thongs to help minimise the risk of picking up fungal spores.
3.Be nail salon smart
A professional pedicure can be a relaxing way to prep your feet for summer—but not if you go home with more than you bargained for. Busy nail salons can be a breeding ground for fungus, so make sure you seek out a reputable nail bar. Ensure a new set of tools is opened just for you and the foot basins are lined with plastic protectors that are replaced at every use.
Super tip; If you want to be super vigilant, take your own nail file.
If you’re at the beach or swimming pool and there are outdoor and indoor showers—take the outdoor option.
Indoor showers are darker and might not have the drainage that the outdoor showers do, which means that water can collect. This creates a dark and wet environment—the perfect place for a fungal spore party!
Super tip; Outdoor showers on the other hand have the benefit of UV rays, which dries the shower area and reduces the likelihood of a fungal infection.
5.Keep feet dry
Fungal spores love dark, damp places—just like between the toes of sweaty feet. An easy step to stop fungal infections in their tracks is to make sure feet are washed and thoroughly dried on a daily basis. Sounds easy right? Yet if it were really that simple, fungal infections wouldn’t be so commonplace.
Super tip; Help protect your feet from fungus by using an antibacterial foot powder or spray in your shoes and on your feet, changing your socks daily and washing your feet after exercise.
Facing up to fungus
Fungal spores are invisible to the human eye, so it’s important to be able to quickly recognise the signs of a fungal skin or nail infection. Symptoms include:
Dry skin or white patches around the toes that remain even after moisturising
Callused skin – people often think its just dry skin, look for the other signs
Small blister like patches on your skin.
Discolouration of the toenail (usually white, yellow or brown streaks)
Thickening of the nail
Let’s face it, sometimes fungal spores will get the better of us. The trick is to treat a fungal skin or nail infection at first sight.
You can start by trying a broad-spectrum antifungal cream or ointment containing the active ingredient terbinafine, which can help kill the infection. Yet despite being widely available, antifungal ointments, paints and creams have a very low success rate.
Our Podiatrist Dr Ryan explains that this is why A Step Ahead Foot + Ankle Care are fighting more and more cases of fungal nail with laser.
“Laser works by penetrating the nail, heating up the nail base and killing the fungal spores.
“To ensure the best results we always treat all ten toes so that every single spore is busted. We also use a mirco drill, which makes tiny holes in the toenail and enables the laser to successfully reach the nail bed. It can help with post-laser treatment too, as any creams applied will also make their way into the nail bed for better results.”
Added benefits of fighting fungus with laser include:
Laser can beat even the most stubborn fungal spores
Before the Laser therapy the entire nail was yellow and infected
How do you beat fungal nail infections?
Tanya was frustrated!!
“I have tried everything! Its driving me crazy!”
“I have tried Vicks”
“I have tea tree oil”
“I think I have tried all the ointment creams and paints that the pharmacy stocks”
“I have even tried toothpaste!!!”
“I can’t kill this nail Fungus!!!”
This is what Tanya said to us when she attended our clinic. Frustrated and embarrassed Tanya is not alone in feeling this way. Nail fungus can be embarrassing and yes it can take years and years to beat and for many people they never do, until now.
What do Fungal nails look like ?
Fungal nails before therapy – this is an extreme case and what nails may look like without treatment
Yellow, Brittle, worm eaten, unsightly, a single line though the nail to an entire worm eaten slightly smelly mess is what a fungal nail can look like. It often starts small, a slight and small line developing in the nail. It may look like the nail is lifting and you may think you simply bumped it.
Accurate diagnosis can be frustrating while you may self-diagnose the condition after looking at “Dr Google” it can be easy to find photos and information on the net. Asking friends and relatives will help as well (Let’s face it everyone’s an expert and everyone has a cure!) However lots of people find that on visiting their GP that despite testing the results often come back negative – yes despite those yellow worm eaten toenails! Now there’s a reason for that, if you’d like click this link it may help explain why. https://astepahead.com.au/fungal-nail-with-false-negative-results/
So after you’ve tried all the paints and ointments from the pharmacy, all the home remedies from Vicks to tooth paste. Where do you go to from here?
An answer for stubborn nail fungus
After many years in Podiatry and feeling the frustration of literally tens of thousands of patients I took the decision to look for a solution to chronic fungal toenails. Each year I see literally hundreds of patients who have struggled with this horrible condition and yes many of these patients have tried multiple creams lotions and medicament with no relief just like you! Frustrated by this and along with some Podiatry friends, I decided to look worldwide for a solution that would be safe simple and pain free for patients.
Laser is now used to kill fungal infections in nails
Laser therapy for fungal nails is a fast effective and reliable solution to fungal nails
In search of an answer I attend a conference in America and after some research found the Class 4 Diode laser which we introduced almost 3 years ago now. Finally we had found an answer which provided patients with simple and safe solution to a complicated problem.
Laser therapy is a highly effective treatment for this embarrassing and health effecting problem. Our clinical effectivity rate is well over 85% and reaching 95%. We hear of others using laser with lesser result and we believe it, we have developed a detailed system of after care to help you keep the fungus away! But more on that later!
A summary – why choose laser:
Highly effective – Fast results
Safe – No side effects!
No Aesthetic required
Comfortable with minimal discomfort – think laser hair removal.
Nail Polish can be applied immediately after you leave
No need to take medication
So what after all of Tanya’s frustration did we do?
We undertook a laser session with Tanya, laser takes approximately an hour , yes it can be a little uncomfortable , most patient who have experienced it compare it to laser hair removal. We then treated Tanya’s shoes and helped her with how to beat the fungus at home and from returning.
We held a free check-up for Tanya at 2 months after our initial treatment and she was ecstatic! After 7 years her nails had developed a clear line where new FUNGAL free toe nail had started to grow!!!!
We went through again what steps she could take to stop this from re occurring however with such a fantastic result we suggested Tanya only needed to return if her fungus did – which we didn’t expect!
Laser therapy for fungal nails
So how can we help?
If you feel you may have a fungal nail and would like to finally get on top of things we would love to be able to help! We have now helped hundreds of patients just like you beat their nasty fungal nail condition and we’d like to be able to help you as well!
We are located in Sydney’s Western suburbs, unlike Macquarie street where parking is 65 dollars an hour our parking is free and out the front! We are conveniently located minutes off the M4!
Please call our smiley and friendly clinic staff who can help you through the process and answer any questions we haven’t on 96732987 or 47322007.
It has a line running through it or often down the nail.
It’s maybe becoming crumbly and brittle?
It may be a little smelly
You think it’s a fungal infection and all the pictures you’ve seen of fungal on the net tell you it’s a fungal infection, but your Doctors testing keeps saying you’re wrong. But maybe you’re NOT!
I hear time and time again over many many years this very same story. So why does it happen? Over the many years these are my summations as to why we are getting what we refer to as “False Negative” results.
Mistake 1. You need to treat it like mould in your kitchen! So your Doctor trims your nail and pops the offending nasty bit in a little see-through plastic jar with a yellow lid. Seems like it all ok, however that same little yellow container later that day is often placed in the back of a Pathology collectors car and it sits there possibly in the sun as they run around collecting all sorts of nasties from other Dr’s clinics. Sadly like mould fungus is killed off by UV sunlight – So here we have mistake one!
Mistake 2. This has been going on for months and you have tried everything! You tried creams and paints of all descriptions! However while it may seem to go away a little it comes back time and time again. Now if you have used those paints and creams then this may have an effect on the result the test results small amounts may kill any fresh fungal spores and are most likely to kill surface fungus however not the entrenched fungus. So all that cream may not be killing the real fungal problem but is killing the chance of a positive test result.
Mistake 3. When you head to your GP they often don’t cut very much of the nail and so the amount of nail sent with fungus on the surface or ingrained in the nail is not significant and possibly they miss the area entirely!
With 20 years of experience I have seen literally thousands of fungal infections and with those thousands of frustrated patients who had tried all the marketed pharmacy ointments paints and creams. I am really happy to say that we have finally found an answer in Laser treatment of fungal nails.
Laser treatment of fungal nails is now a safe and highly effective treatment of fungal nails. As a practitioner I personally went over to research treatment options for this condition and was impressed with laser so brought this technology back to Australia. Since bringing this back almost 3 years ago now we have had excellent results and haven’t looked back. Part of this success though has outstripped others in the field as we have introduced in combination with laser a 4 point system that assist in killing the fungus in all the places it lives.
If fungal nails are a concern for you please contact our team A Step Ahead Foot and Ankle care and chat to the team about Laser and our system for making sure you are truly successful in removing all traces of fungus in your nails.
Please call us on 96732987 or 47322007 we would love to help get you back on the right track!
BB's looking super clever in Bright red Red Foo frames! No BB doesnt wear glasses!
Principle Podiatrist A Step Ahead Foot + Ankle care Penrith, St Marys and soon to come to a suburb near you!
Contact us at 9673 2987 with questions we want to truly understand what’s happening at present with your foot and leg pain if you are ready we will set up your initial appointment.
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