What Is Toenail Fungus?
As a podiatrist, I have heard toenail fungus described in many different ways, and none of them are nice. Gross, icky, thick, brittle, deformed, disfigured, discolored nails are one of the most common foot issues that we see. In most cases, this is caused by a fungal infection of the toenails. Studies have estimated that up to 20-25% of the general population is affected by this ailment, and possibly up to 35% of diabetics.
Fortunately, in most cases this infection doesn’t cause any other health issues, and remains confined to the toes. For those that have this infection, the main complaint is cosmetic. In some cases, however, the infected nails can lead to chronic pain due to nail thickening, or even chronic ingrown nails.
Do Home Remedies Work?
Over the years, there have been many treatments attempted for this with most of them having rather dismal results. There are more over-the-counter topical treatments for this then I care to count. There’s even more “home remedies.” Unfortunately, these types of treatments rarely help. We don’t see much improvement in appearance, and they don’t cure the infection.
Over-the-counter medication for the treatment of athlete’s foot has also been shown to have little effect. Treating this infection with oral anti-fungal medication has been shown to have better results than with topical treatments. But, overall, the cure rates with this medication have been disappointing.
The Treatment That Works
A more recent advancement in treatment is laser therapy. We have been treating nail fungus with the PinPointe laser system for many years and have been very pleased with the results! This treatment involves direct laser therapy to the nails. It directs heat underneath the nail (where the fungus lives) to a temperature that kills the fungus, but does not burn or harm your toe.
For most people, this procedure takes 3-4 treatments, which are spaced out every three months or so. However, it can take up to a year to fully grow out the infected nail and replace it with healthy nail.
We also use a prescription-grade topical treatment that is showing via studies to likely be the most effective topical treatment available. When combined with the laser, we see excellent results. It quickly reduces the yellow discoloration, thickness and brittleness of the nail, so it looks better while the nail is growing out. Patients love it!
The final step is using an anti-fungal nail polish that helps prevent the nail fungus from returning. We want our patients to have clear nails that last.
Don’t Wear Socks To The Beach
So, if you are currently wearing socks to the beach because you are embarrassed by your toenails, this treatment is for you. It’s time to ditch the socks and let your little piggies out to play again.
We know toenail fungus is embarrassing and frustrating, but the only way to get rid of it is to seek the appropriate treatment.
Please don’t wait any longer to schedule an appointment.
To learn more about how we treat nail fungus, click here.
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*Free office consult: Complete new patient appointment and exam not included.