The pills were likely px as a precaution since it appeared your body wasn't responding too well to the cream.
It is the topical solution (cream) that will really give/ show you quicker results in this case on your toe. The doc may just px a stronger antibiotic (both topical and internal) if you dont response after the first treatment.
Keep in mind the pills will also help eventually but they work with the natural cycle of your bodies own antibodies, and this "cycle" takes time.
It is not the same as taking a pill for a headache and then your headache just "goes away."