Nail fungus is quite a common condition and there are many risk factors for nail fungus. If there is a nail fungus, the nail can be whitish, yellowish or greenish, sometimes painful, thick or thin, and the nail can be easily broken or cracked.

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Will Fingernail Fungus Go Away On Its Own?

No, fingernail fungus will not go away or cure on its own. Fingernail fungus is relatively less and easy to treat compared to toenail fungus. But even fingernail fungus needs treatment for longer periods to cure it completely. If fingernail fungus is left unattended or not treated then it can spread to other parts of the body, cause skin infections and even spread to other people. So, all fungal nail infections need treatment as it does not get cured on its own. If you have diabetes mellitus or any immunocompromised status it is important you treat the fungal nail infection properly, otherwise, it can cause some serious problems.(3)

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What is the Treatment for Fingernail Fungus?

The goal of the treatment is to cure the fungal nail infection completely to help the nail grow back normally.

Topical Treatment. Topical treatment is given if you have a mild fingernail fungal infection. The topical treatment for fingernail fungus needs to be applied to the nail sometimes every day or once a week. The drugs that are used as topical treatment are amorolfine, ciclopirox, efinaconazole, and tavaborole. This treatment will treat the current infection and prevent further fungal infection in the nail until it grows. Topical treatment for fingernail fungus can be in the form of nail polish or cream. Typically, fingernails take 4 to 6 months to grow back. The only problem with topical treatment is patients tend to forget to apply the treatments as prescribed. It is important you apply the treatment as instructed and it usually takes about 6 months to 1 year for complete cure of fingernail infection. The success rate of topical treatment for fingernail fungus alone is about 15-30%, you might need to combine oral therapy for better and quicker results. You can regularly clip off the abnormal nails as this benefit in the treatment. Side effects are usually mild, some of the side effects that can occur are redness, swelling or burning sensation when applied.(1)

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Oral Medication: Oral medication is prescribed for more severe fingernail fungus infections. The drugs that are used as oral antifungals are fluconazole, griseofulvin, itraconazole, and terbinafine. Out of these griseofulvin and sometimes terbinafine is prescribed for children. Oral medication is very effective than topical medication to get rid of fingernail fungus. The period of treatment depends on the fungal infection and oral drugs prescribed. Usually, it takes about 2-9 months for complete cure of fingernail infection. The side effects of oral drugs are more, severe allergic reactions, liver problems and drug interactions are some of the common side effects. Therefore, your doctor will order investigations and have a close up regularly until you are on the medication.(1)

Combined Therapy. Oral medication and topical medication can be combined to get a more positive outcome quickly.

Nail Removal. If none of the above treatment work and if the fingernail fungus infection is deep then the nail needs to be removed completely in order to get rid of the fungal infection completely; after removal of the nail topical treatment can be applied directly to the affected parts of the fingernail. The nail can be removed either with a chemical applied to the nail or surgically.(2)

Summary

Fingernail fungal infections do not go away on its own, treatment is needed. If treatment is not done then the infection can spread to other areas, cause skin infections and can even spread to other people. Fingernail fungus treatment options are a topical treatment, oral medications, or nail removal. Combined treatment of topical and oral medication is very effective. Fingernails growth is faster than toenails therefore, fingernail infection can be cured in a short period and the recurrence rate of fingernail infection is less compared to toenails.

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Pramod Kerkar

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD,FFARCSI

Pain Assist Inc.

Last Modified On: June 15, 2019

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

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