I know you’ve all seen it before: thickened, yellow, toenails; A discoloration of the nail that never seems to go away; a problem that tends to be more common in elderly patients and those with systemic diseases like diabetes. Yes folks, it’s that dirty word – nail fungus. Nail fungus, otherwise known as onychomycosis, is actually a fungal infection causing nails to take on that ugly discoloration, thicken or split over time. Initially, when individuals seek treatment for fungal nails it’s because they don’t like the way the nails themselves look, but eventually overtime the nails can get thicker which can cause pressure inside one’s shoes leading to eventual irritation. The main “fungi suspects” as the cause of onychomycosis are dermatophytes (fungi that infect hair, skin, and nails).

The most successful treatment for nail fungus is LASER treatment. Almost 90% of patients see improvements with laser. It’s free from health risks and pain free. Laser treatment includes one quick treatment/week for 4 weeks.

Other treatments include oral and topical medications. The oral antifungal medications are taken over the course of a three‐month period. Although these medications are typically safe, it’s important that patients taking these oral medications not have liver disease. Prior to prescribing these medications, physicians ensure that patients receive a blood test in order to make sure the liver is functioning properly. Topical treatments are applied directly to the nail, but this method can take much longer as it takes 6 months to a year for the nails to grow out to a healthy color and appearance. However, there are no necessary blood tests required prior to starting topical treatment.

Although the treatments may vary, fungal nails themselves are just generally something people want to get rid of altogether. If you are currently experiencing this problem, please contact our office.


William E. Donahue, DPM, FACFAS


Jennifer Zienkowski-Zubel, DPM