If you aren’t someone who wears shoes or sandals while taking a shower at your local gym or while walking around the community pool, you may end up dealing with an unpleasant problem known as a toenail fungus. Toenail fungus is caused by onychomycosis, a fungus that is also known to cause athlete’s foot and jock itch.
This condition causes the toenail to turn yellow and thick. The nail may even begin to crumble or become brittle. Sometimes the infected toenail will separate from the nail bed and cause pain. While this condition isn’t serious for most healthy individuals, the problem can be unsightly and sometimes difficult to treat.
Treating Fungal Toenails
Milder cases may not need treatment, but if the nail has become thick or uncomfortable there are certain steps you should take to get rid of the fungal infection.
Usually the first course of action is to try an over-the-counter topical antifungal medication that you can apply directly to the toe.
Prescription Anti-Fungal Medication
If over-the-counter treatments don’t take care of your fungal infection, it’s time to come in to see us. We can prescribe medication to help relieve your symptoms and treat the fungus. The most common medication prescribed is oral antifungal medications, which are usually taken for about 6 to 12 weeks. Even if the fungus is effectively treated, you won’t see results until the nail has fully grown out clear, which may take a couple months.
Laser Treatment for Fungus Nails
You no longer need to be self-conscious to wear open-toe shoes and sandals, or to just go barefoot, because of toenail fungus or discoloration.
Foot and Ankle Laser Centers is the area’s leader in restoring nails back to health, and a clearer, healthier appearance.
Class IV laser therapy is one of the most safe and effective ways to treat onychomycosis, commonly known as toenail fungus.
Laser therapy penetrates the nail bed and kills the fungus living underneath the nail, without pain and without any side effects.
When the colony of fungus under the nail is “attacked” by the laser, the elements that make it grow and thrive are destroyed. This allows your nail bed to begin growing a new, healthy nail.
Combination therapy is the key to treating nail fungus. The laser center uses either a combination of laser treatment and topical medicine, or laser treatment and oral medication. This statistically increases the success rate of resolving nail fungus. The secret to successful treatment is adding laser therapy to the treatment plan.
Foot and Ankle Laser Centers offers their unique T-L-C treatment protocol when treating nail fungus: Thorough evaluation, Laser treatment and Comprehensive prevention.
What is Onychomycosis?
Onychomycosis is a fungal nail infection that can lead to discomfort, discoloration and thickening of the nails. With more than 200 different types of fungus prevalent in the environment, this condition affects millions of people each year and is very difficult to treat.
Fungus is easily spread. Onychomycosis can be readily contracted by going barefoot in shared bathroom space, public locker rooms, showers, and pools. Chronic athlete’s foot, which is a fungal infection of the skin, can also lead to fungal infection of the nails.
Symptoms of onychomycosis include:
- yellow or other discoloration of your toenails
- thickened or brittle toenails
- an unpleasant odor coming from the nail area
It is common to not only feel the discomfort onychomycosis causes but to endure embarrassment due to the unsightly appearance of the infected nails.
Onychomycosis affects nearly 10% of the US population, and while many people find the condition to be simply an eye sore, fungus nail infections can also lead to a larger problems including:
- infection of other toenails
- infecting friends and family
- increased pain
- ingrown toenails
Individuals with diabetes are also more susceptible to onychomycosis given their compromised immune systems.
Laser therapy offers an effective, safe option for treating onychomycosis without the side effects of oral medications which can affect the liver.