Medical Q&As

Nail infection - treatment not working?

My index finger on my left hand has an infection that is slowly spreading to the top of my finger. The nail looks bad because it looks as if it has hills and hollows with the top of the nail ready to break off. The skin is red and broken all the way down the finger. I've used an anti-fungal preparation on it but it is not working. Please help?

This sounds like a fungal infection that has resulted in damage to the nail bed. There are several anti fungal preparations available but they have to be taken for several months before the infection is eradicated. The portion of nail that is currently damaged will not revert back to a normal appearance. The goal of treatment is to eradicate the infection from the growth plate, which is located under the skin at the base of the nail. Once the infection has been eradicated from the growth plate the lunula (crescent shaped area at the base of the nail) will begin to look healthy again. As the nail continues to grow the proportion of healthy versus damaged nail will alter as the damaged portion diminishes through regular cutting of the nails. It is essential throughout this process that the medication be taken as prescribed without any lapses in treatment otherwise the infection can recur in the nail bed with resultant prolongation of treatment time. There is no quick fix solution with such infections. Successful management requires considerable perseverance. If you persevere I am sure that you will succeed.