I give the following instructions to my patients after laser therapy. However, the information is helpful for anyone with nail clearing after whatever method of anti-fungal treatment they decide to use.
After your laser toenail fungus treatment it is very important to follow these instructions. We want to make sure that you do your part in making the laser treatment the most effective it can be. The laser destroys the fungus under your nails, but you have to do your part to keep it from getting back in. These simple actions and habits will greatly improve your chances for remaining fungus free for life.
- Wash your toes and feet daily, ensuring that you dry them completely … especially between the toes.
- Apply an anti-fungal cream to the skin between your toes, around your nails, and on the bottom and sides of your feet (but not on the nails). This will reduce the amount of fungus that lives on your skin surrounding the toenails. By reducing the amount of fungus around the nail, you will reduce the likelihood of your nail getting re-infected. Use as indicated or twice daily for two weeks, then once a day, to reduce the chances of another fungal infection in the nails. The anti-fungal cream should have one of the following active ingredients: Clotrimazole 1%, Tolnaftate 1%, Miconazole 2%, or Butenafine 1%.
- Bleach your socks or buy new socks. Why would you want to put your treated toenails in a potentially infected sock?
- Keep the insides of your shoes dry and fungus free. Fungus loves warmth and moisture. You can use an anti-fungal spray or powder, such as Lotrimin or Lamisil to reduce the chance of fungus growing in your shoes. There is even a device called the “Steri-Shoe” that kills odor causing bacteria and fungus by shining an ultraviolet sterilizing light into your shoes. This is a highly effective way to ensure your shoes do not re-infect your toes.
- Avoid using infected nail clippers and files. Clean them by boiling or by using diluted bleach. Make sure any nail tools you use at home or in the nail salon are properly cleaned, as well.
- Keep your toenails short. Long nails have a tendency to break, which provides easy access for fungus to re-infect the nail.
- Wear sandals or flip-flops in public places that are wet, such as hotel bathrooms, locker rooms, and swimming pools.
These simple tips will reduce the likelihood of re-infection. You worked hard to get nice, clear nails. Following these tips will help to keep them that way.