Nails are hardened skin cells made of a protein called keratin, which can be found in the hair and skin. Toenail fungus is a common condition in the United States, with approximately 12 percent of all Americans suffering from it, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. A number of conventional treatments can be used to help to treat toenail fungus.
A doctor may suggest a topical anti-fungal medication to treat toenail fungus. The doctor may also advise the addition of an over-the-counter lotion containing urea in order to enhance the absorption of fungal properties. Also, the doctor may have to file the surface of the nails, a procedure called debridement, to reduce the amount of the affected nail, also allowing the medication to work effectively.
For mild to moderate toenail fungus infections, it may be best to consider using an anti-fungal nail polish prescribed by a doctor called ciclopriox, also known as penlac. This medication is painted onto infected nails and surrounding skin at least once a day. After using ciclopriox for about seven days, it needs to be removed using alcohol with pads or a cotton ball. The Mayo Clinic says that using ciclopriox continuously for about one year has been showen to treat nail fungal infections.
A doctor may suggest surgery if a nail infection is severe or painful, according to the Mayo Clinic. During the surgery, the nail may be removed and a new nail will grow in its place, but it will come in slowly and can take as long as a year to grow back fully.