Laser Treatment for Fungal Toenails
Toenail fungus (onychomycosis, tinea unguium) is a fungal infection of the nail and underlying nail bed. Fungus can be easily contracted from the environment such as public showers or swimming pools, moist feet, or humid environments. Risk factors may include aging, compromised immune system, diabetes or circulation disorders which may slow the growth of the nail and compromise the overall nail health.
Fungal infection of the toenail will cause the nail to appear thickened with yellow discoloration and debris under the nail. It can also cause the nail to grow in multiple layers or lift from the underlying nail bed. If untreated, fungal toenails can cause pain, especially in shoes, and can co-infect the surrounding skin causing athlete’s foot (tinea pedis). It is most effective to treat these conditions in tandem to prevent recurrence.
Diagnosis of fungal toenails should be made by a foot and ankle specialist as there are many different causes for thickened appearance of a nail. Your podiatrist will determine the extent of fungal involvement and may take a nail sample for testing to confirm the diagnosis of nail fungus. Treatment options for fungal toenails include topical medications, oral antifungal medications or laser therapy.
Laser treatment is a highly effective treatment modality that can be performed in the office. It does not require anesthesia as the treatment is painless, though you may experience a warming sensation to the nail. The laser effectively targets the fungal components only, leaving the surrounding healthy nail and skin unharmed. Depending on the extent of the fungal infection, typically two to three treatments are recommended for maximum clearance.
Following the treatment, you may immediately return to regular shoe gear and your normal activities. It is important to remove any nail polish from the nails prior to treatment, although you may apply polish after the treatment. It is recommended to utilize specialized polishes with anti-fungal properties to prevent recurrence of the fungal infection.
Schedule an appointment for your consultation today! During your visit, the physician will perform a nail evaluation and discuss the treatment options and appropriate fees.