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Phone: 630-834-3668
Prairie Path Foot & Ankle Clinic

Options for treating your troublesome toenails

Diagnosing your nail:

Initial visits typically consist of performing a biopsy of the nail to definitively diagnose the presence of fungus.  This is non-invasive and typically non-painful – it takes only a minute to complete and a few weeks to get results from the pathology lab.

Treatment:

Once the results are available, if the nail sample demonstrates fungal infection, we can initiate treatment.

  • Topical therapy: We recommend one of two topical nail solutions which are applied to the nails twice daily.  The antifungal solutions we offer at our office are Formula-3 and Clear Nails Pro.  Weekly use of emery board to the top of the affected nails is recommended for optimum penetration to the nail and nail bed.  Formula-3 has the active ingredient tolnaftate, whereas the Clear Nails Pro has ciclopirox, terbinafine and fluconazole for broad spectrum coverage.  In some cases, Kera Nail Gel is recommended to aid in thinning the nail.  It is a gel formulation of Urea which is an agent used to aid in thinning the nail.
  • Oral Therapy:
    • TheraNail TF: This is a formulation for nail health that includes biotin, iron and zinc which promote healthy nail growth and can actually help nails to grow at a slightly higher rate in some cases.
    • Lamisil: This is a prescription oral antifungal treatment that is taken once daily.  The body metabolizes Lamisil through the liver and this requires monitoring of liver enzymes to ensure your liver is healthy.  Monitoring liver enzymes is done with a blood test.
  • Cosmetic Options:
    • Dr.’s Remedy is a line of polishes that come in great colors and are healthy for the nails.  This polish contains natural antifungal agents such as tea tree oil and wheat proteins.  Dr.’s Remedy also offers a wonderful polish remover that contains no harmful acetone!

Treating the environment that has predisposed your toenails to fungal infection is vital in preventing re-infection or spread of the fungus to adjacent nails or the skin on the feet.  We offer two primary options that meet this need.

  • Clean Sweep: This is a silver based spray that is used in shoes to decrease the microbial load within the shoes.  Silver is a natural antimicrobial and the spray can be used in all shoes in the household and actually improves the smell of shoes due to decreasing the bacterial load present within them.
  • Steri Shoes: This product uses ultraviolet light to sterilize your shoes.  This comes as a pair to treat 1 pair of shoes at a time.  The device is spring loaded and this activates the light to turn on.  The device automatically shuts off at the end of a 45 minute cycle.  It is recommended that all shoes are treated initially and thereafter the pair of shoes worn during the day are treated that night.

If the nail sample does not demonstrate a fungus, there are still options to improve the appearance of your nail.

  • TheraNail TF: This is a formulation for nail health that includes biotin, iron and zinc which promote healthy nail growth and can actually help nails to grow at a slightly higher rate in some cases.
  • Keryflex is a cosmetic option to cover and conceal damaged nails with the application of a resin.  This takes about 20 minutes to apply and it is recommended to be replaced every 4-6 weeks for best results.
  • Kera Nail Gel: A 47% urea gel applied to nails once a day helps to soften thick nails and in some cases help grow in a more manageable thickness.