Treating Toenails Fungus in Kids

Toenail fungus is unsightly, though rarely harmful. Toenail fungus in children however, can have a powerful effect on your child’s self-esteem. They may feel “ugly” and “deformed.” Your child may feel “dirty” and his/her feet may be “stinky” all the time. Your child may even fear what is toenail fungus in childrenhappening to her/his feet. This can be stressful for your child, and may cause feelings of inadequacy, as well as problems with body image.

If you believe your child or children may have toenail fungus, make an appointment today for an examination, diagnosis, and treatment of toenail fungus in children.

How Can You Tell if Your Child Has Toenails Fungus?

Here are a few things to look for, if you believe your child may have toenail fungus…

  • Discoloration of the toenails, yellow, brown, or black.
  • Change in texture of toenail, causing the nail to thicken or become brittle and crumble along the edge.
  • A more unpleasant odor than the usual “stinky” feet of most kids.

Only Lab Tests Can Confirm Fungal Infection

The changes listed above can be a sign of fungal infection of the toenails but other conditions can cause the same appearance. Only a lab test of the nail can confirm whether your child has a fungal infection of their toenail.

What To Do If You Think Your Child Might Have a Toenail Fungal Infection

Here are a few things you should do for your child if you believe he or she may have toenail fungus…

  • Have a talk with your child. Explain what toenail fungus is, and calm the fear he or she may be feeling.
  • Tell your child she/he is not at fault. The fungus that causes toenail fungus in children can grow in many places, usually a dark, moist environment – just like a sneaker or tennis shoe. There are home remedies you may want to try, but be aware that there is little to no evidence that over-the-counter remedies for nail fungus work.
  • Consult with your child’s podiatrist for accurate diagnosis and effective treatment.

What Treatments Work Best to Treat Toenail Fungus in Kids?

Children’s toenails are different than adult toenails in that they grow much faster. This can make a difference in how they respond to specific therapies. In addition, children react differently to medications.

Topical Medications for Toenail Fungus in Children

While topical treatments rarely work in adults, the much faster growing nails of children do sometimes respond to topical treatment. We often prescribe the topical medication ciclopirox as it is both fairly effective and very inexpensive.

Does Jublia work for children? 

Occasionally we will prescribe the topical medication Jublia for kids. It actually has been shown to be a bit more effective than ciclopirox in several studies, but it is extremely expensive and it doesn’t work substantially better than the much less expensive ciclopirox.

Oral Medications for Toenail Fungus in Children

The oral medication terbinafine has been tested in children and found to be effective and well tolerated for treatment of toenail fungus. In fact, terbinafine is more effective in children than in adults with a cure rate of 93%.1  

Laser Treatment for Toenail Fungus in Children

Unfortunately there have been no studies on the use of laser treatment for nail fungus in children. Thus, there is currently insufficient data comparing laser therapy with standard therapeutic options to recommend their use in children.

If, however, you would rather your child not take the oral medications than we could try laser treatment, there is just no data to provide you with good predictions on outcomes. 

Our GenesisPlus Laser System is, we believe, the most effective laser treatment for toenail fungus on the market today. The treatment is painless, and will only take about 15 minutes. You child will have nothing to fear, and he or she will be able to resume normal activities immediately.

See Us for an Opinion on the Best Options to Treat Nail Fungus in Kids

At the Foot & Ankle Center of Washington in Seattle we are on the cutting edge of treatments for toenail fungus in children.

We have a number of articles about laser treatment for toenail fungus available to help you make up your mind.

Contact us today for an appointment in our Seattle clinic if you feel you need help in deciding the best approach for your child.

References on Treatment of Toenail Fungus in Children

  1. Jones TC.  Overview of the use of terbinafine (Lamisil) in children.  Br J Dermatol. 1995
  2. Gupta AK. The efficacy and safety of terbinafine in children.  Dermatol Clin. 2003
Dr. Larry Huppin
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