June 17, 2009

Treatment for Fungal Finger Infection

Posted in Category : Common Ailments

Fungal infections of the nails on the hands and feet are common and can cause a thickening and discoloration of the nails. In addition to looking unpleasant, at times the infected nails may also become painful. Fungal nail infections are more common in people over 55, in people who play sports and swim regularly, and those who have had some sort of nail injury. People who suffer from other medical conditions such as diabetes, poor immunity, bad circulation, and psoriasis are prone to such fungal nail infections as well.


There are many cases where people do not opt for any treatment, as the infected nail may not be causing any pain but only look discolored. However, there is a high chance that if left untreated fungal infections can spread to the other nails and even to the surrounding skin. The earlier you treat the problem, the better the chance of a complete cure. Treatment for a fungal nail infection is generally successful and includes:

  • Anti-fungal Medication: Oral pills that treat fungal infections are considered the most effective treatment available. However, most anti-fungal medications contain terbinafine or fluconazole that may have dangerous side effects if not monitored closely. For this reason, oral anti-fungal pills are only prescribed for moderate to severe infections or chronic cases.
  • Topical Treatments: Anti-fungal creams, lotions and lacquers are a safer treatment alternative though they may not be as effective as oral pills. These have to be applied to the nail and the surrounding areas of the skin to prevent the infection from spreading.
  • Antibiotics: A course of antibiotics is only prescribed if a secondary bacterial infection has developed in addition to the fungal infection.
  • Nail Removal: The removal of an infected nail is only recommended in severe cases. People who suffer from recurring infections may also be candidates for nail removal. There are two types of nail removal – non-surgical and surgical. In non-surgical nail removal the nail is dissolved using a urea ointment. In surgical removal, the infected nail may be removed totally or partially depending on the extent of the infection.

While treatment for fungal infections will help cure the condition in most cases, there is no guarantee that the infection will not return. The infection may recur on the previously infected nail or as an entirely new infection. This is why post treatment; steps should be taken to ensure that the nail infection does not develop again. To prevent recurring toe and finger nail fungus infections, you should:

  • Wash and dry your hands and feet thoroughly before bed. Dry skin and nails are less likely to develop fungal infections.
  • After a shower or bath, apply powder on the skin between your fingers and toes to keep the area clean and dry.
  • You can also use a low-strength anti-fungal ointment or cream on your skin and nails to prevent an infection from returning. However, do not use anti-fungal creams for extended periods of time without checking with your doctor first.
  • If your feet tend to sweat a lot, wear cotton socks that allow the skin to breath and moisture to escape. Change the socks twice or thrice a day if needed.
  • Do not wear shoes that are tight as injury to the toenails is the number one cause of fungal infections.
  • If you use a public shower, always wear flip-flops or shower slippers to prevent picking up an infection.
  • Do not share nail-grooming products such as nail cutters and files with anyone.
  • If you have manicures or pedicures at a salon, ensure that all their instruments and equipment are sterilized before use.
  • If you suffer from diabetes, take the necessary medication to control the condition.
  • Stop smoking immediately.


  1. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001330.htm