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Toenail Fungus Laser Treatment

toenail fungus laser treatment

For people suffering with toenail fungus, or onychomycosis, beach season can seem like a nightmare. The thought of wearing sandals can make sufferers cringe.

However, there is hope.

Toenail fungal infections cause yellowing or discoloring of the nail, with thickening and brittleness. It is generally a cosmetic problem, but can be painful in addition to being unattractive. Sufferers can spend many years and dollars in an attempt to eradicate the infection, to no avail. It becomes more common in people as they age, but it is affects people of all ages.

Approximately 12 percent of Americans have toenail fungus. Some people are more prone to the infection, including people with suppressed immune systems due to advanced age, diabetes, AIDS, leukemia, or organ transplants. With diabetics, even minor injuries to the feet can lead to serious complications due to impaired nerve supply and blood circulation.

Nail fungus tends to affect men more often than women, but other risk factors include athletes, lifeguards, and others who spend time with damp feet. In fact, shoes are the main reason toenail fungus is so

much more prevalent than fingernail fungus. The fungus especially loves warm, dark, and damp environments, which is why injury to the skin or nails of the feet creates an opening for the bacteria to gain entry.

Conditions such as psoriasis or athlete’s foot are common causes of skin damage, as are pedicures. It is important to always wear clean, dry socks and shoes, and avoid walking barefoot in damp public places such as showers, pools, or gyms.

Podiatrists have started including laser treatments for toenail fungal infections in their patients. According to one podiatrist based in the San Francisco Bay Area, Dr Alexander Reyzelman, “Toenail fungus laser treatment represents a safer, more effective alternative for most patients to the oral medications and surgical options that are currently available.”

At Total Foot Wellness, his offices utilize the PinPointe Foot Laser, which was the first laser to gain FDA approval a few years ago. Though the treatment of toenail fungus infections varies from patient to patient, Dr Reyzelman cites higher success rates when compared with oral medications such as Lamisil, without the side effects. Lamisil has been associated with cases of liver problems diarrhea, headache, rashes, and changes in taste.

Laser treatments work to clear fungal infections by heating and killing the bacteria, which reside just below the nail surface. The precise and accurate lasers target only the fungus, sparing the healthy surrounding tissue. Regardless of the method of eradication, be it by laser or oral medication, it will take 6 months to a year for the infected portion of the nail to grow out.

One important factor to consider when it comes to toenail fungal infections is that they are likely to recur, unless patients follow a strict hygiene program. Toenail fungus is an infectious disease, and if patients don’t change their habits, the infection will often return for the same reasons they acquired it in the first place.

Preventive measures, such as keeping feet clean and dry, using fungal sprays for feet and shoes, changing socks frequently, and avoiding going barefoot in places likely to harbor the fungus are some of the best ways to prevent both initial and recurring toenail fungal infections.