The medical term for fungal infection of the nails is onychomycosis. This is primarily caused by dermatophytes, but also candida and various yeast infections. In 90 per cent of cases the dermatophyte Tricophytum Rubrum is responsible for the infection of the nails. It is now understood the active infection is on the skin beneath the nail (the nail bed) and not on the nail itself. It is the infection on the nail bed that causes the familiar discolouration, which is reflected through the nail plate.
Fungal nail infections can be very stubborn to get rid of, the problem being that the nail presents a barrier which topical treatments cannot penetrate to get to the underlying infection. If you have tried one of the many anti fungal topical agents available from the chemist and had no success, then you are not alone. Oral prescription medication, such as Terbinafine, is best avoided as it can have side effects and has a heavy toxic load on the liver. Even though it attacks the infection from inside of the body, it still has a high reoccurrence rate.
There are a few much safer ways of treating fungal nail infections. I use a technique called ‘the Lacuna Method,‘ which allows access to the nail bed by drilling tiny holes in the nail plate. This process is known as ‘fenestration’. Although the idea of having holes drilled in your nails will not be very appealing, it is entirely painless as the nail has no nerve supply. Once the holes are made it is then possible to place an antifungal agent through the nail to get at the infection.
It is then necessary to make new holes in the nail at regular intervals as the nail grows out, whilst applying the anti fungal treatment on a daily basis. The treatment is still not a quick fix, as the nail does take time to grow out and clear, however it is a tried and tested method that will achieve the ultimate of objective of clearing the infection.
£50 – £200
(Depending on the number of nails treated)