03/30/21 by acefeet 0 Comments
Laser Treatment for Toenail Fungus
If you’re embarrassed by discolored, flaking toenails, you’re not alone. It’s estimated that a toenail fungus affects about 20% of all Americans.
But unfortunately, the treatments that have been around a while — oral medications and topical creams — often don’t really do the trick. They are either minimally helpful or don’t work at all. Luckily, laser nail therapy is now an option. THe Pinpointe laser has been FDA approved and is used with success by podiatrists as a safe, quick, effective form of treatment. Read on to learn more about toenail fungus and laser treatment.
What Is Toenail Fungus?
Toenail fungus is an infection of the nail plate and nail bed. These areas are infected with microscopic organisms called dermatophytes, sometimes yeast or even less common, mold.
These tiny organisms are in our environment, just like bacteria and viruses. If they settle on the skin of your feet, they can find a happy home in the warm, moist, dark areas at the edge and just beneath your toenail.
A fungal infection can affect your fingernails too. This is less common though, since your hands aren’t confined to a warm, moist environment like your feet are.
What Are the Effects of Toenail Fungus?
A fungal infection often goes unnoticed early on. The infection spreads toward the base of your toe at first. Later on the nail will seem to grow thicker. Early detection and treatment are helpful for a quick resolution of the infection.
Here are some of the symptoms to look out for:
- Your nail becomes discolored — often it turns yellow, brown, or white
- Your nail becomes thicker than usual
- Your nail shape becomes warped or twisted
- A white dot appears on your nail and becomes larger
- Your nail becomes brittle and breaks easily or crumbles
- Your nail gets flaky on the top or underneath
- Your nail loosens or separates from the nail bed
- You feel pain in your toe or foot
- Your nail has a weird smell
What to do if you’re not sure if you have a fungal infection?
You should have an evaluation by your podiatrist. Often an exam of the skin on your feet and toes is sufficient to diagnose a fungal infection. At Ace Feet, we are able to look at the nail under a dermoscope or do an in office microscopic exam of an under the nail scraping in questionable cases. Both of these tests are painless and take minutes.
How Does Laser Therapy Work?
Laser devices work by two processes called photothermolysis and photobiomodulation.
Photothermolysis occurs as the laser emits pulses of light energy that target fungal cells and produce heat. In response to the heat, the infected tissue is gasified and decomposed, destroying the fungus and the surrounding skin and nail. The heat from the lasers also has a sterilizing effect, which helps prevent new fungal growth.
Photobiomodulation occurs when the laser applies light energy in the range of the infrared electromagnetic spectrum (870, 930, 1,064 nm) to the nail bed. This stimulates the metabolism of cells, improves microcirculation, and inhibits the fungal multiplication. Laser treatment is associated with high rates of negative cultures—which means that a laboratory microscopic test for a fungal infection typically doesn’t show evidence of infection after treatment.
Why Is Laser Therapy Better Than Other Therapies?
- Safety. Unlike antifungal pills, there are no side effects, no drug interactions, no liver toxicity, and doesn’t require dietary restrictions.
- Effective. The Pinpointe laser was introduced into the medical community in 2008 and has been cleared by FDA to treat onychomycosis, or toenail fungus. Studies show clinical response rate of 85%.
- No downtime. A patient can have the laser treatment and go about usual activities afterward. No need for a trip to the pharmacy, no restrictions with food or alcohol, no restrictions with foot wear, aside from wearing clean shoes (we provide you with a shoe cleaner)
What To Expect At Your Toenail Consult
A toenail consult begins with a discussion of your feet and toenails. We will review how and when the problem started, which treatment you have tried thus far (if any). We will review your medical history, which style shoes you wear regularly (Dress shoes will need to be cleaned differently and more frequently than a breathable sneaker, for example).
Your feet will be examined and evaluated for fungus, ingrown toenails, nail matrix damage, or other issues.
We will review all treatment options and decide which will be best for you. We can start treatment on the same day if you’d like.
Laser Treatment for Fungus at Ace Feet
Treatment includes toenail trimming and filing.
Laser is then applied as per protocol, to kill the fungus and leave you with clean toenails.
A fungal nail is a damaged, dead nail. The laser will not revive this dead nail but instead will create a clean canvas for your new healthy nail to grow in. During this time you nail beds are vulnerable to reinfection. Having athlete’s foot, wearing shoes all day, sweating in your work shoes or athletic shoes, going to pools or gym lockers, etc all put you at risk for reinfection. To mitigate this, we provide you with an excellent shoe cleaner, and products to keep you feet fungal free as your new nail grows in. We want your toenails to be clean and clear!
You can book an appointment for a toenail consult online, click the “book appointment” button at the top of the page, or contact us if you have any questions.