Laser Treatment for Toenail Fungus: There’s New Proof it Really Works

Laser Treatment for Toenail FungusWhen you glance down at your feet, do you see a series of yellow and white blotches on your bare toenails? Have the edges of those nails seemingly thickened over the last few weeks? Do they have rough edges and emit a funky odor, especially when you try to clip your nails? If so, it could be onychomycosis that’s the cause of it all.

It’s an unpleasant condition that has a tendency to creep up on people when they least expect it. That’s because it’s caused by a fungus that’s too small to be seen by the naked eye. So by the time it’s noticeable, damage has already been done to the nail bed and exposed nail.

Many people who find themselves in such unpleasant straits try a series of home remedies at the outset. They may cut their nails down to a painful size and slather on a wide variety of creams. Although those actions may provide some relief, they can be messy, costly and ineffective in the long run.

Good thing there are other ways to return one’s toenails back to normal. One of the most effective, affordable options is scheduling laser treatments designed to target toenail fungus. It’s FDA approved and has been used by podiatrists for years.

In April 2014, the Journal of the German Society of Dermatology published the results of a study that demonstrated the value of laser treatment for stubborn toenail fungus problems. The publication, Lasers in Surgery and Medicine, also published an article on the subject in February 2014.

They noted the value as well but also recommended that additional studies should be completed. Many are hoping that those additional studies will help narrow down treatment options and establish a list of best practices for physicians seeking to use lasers to treat fungal infections. To learn more about the treatments and how they may resolve your toenail fungus dilemma, please contact us.

Toenail Disorders May Be More Serious Than Many People Realize

Treatment for Toenail FungusWhen Americans think of toenail disorders, cancer is typically the last thing that comes to their minds. However, it is not uncommon for cancer to show up on the feet and underneath of a person’s toenails. Unfortunately, many people often mistake the signs of toenail bed cancer as blood blisters from impact injuries or other toenail disorders.

Toenail disorders that tend to mimic the outward signs of subungual melanomas include, but are not confined to the following:

  • Longitudinal Linear Lesions
  • Splinter Hemorrhages
  • Melanonychia Striata
  • Fungal Infections

They typically involve a black or brown discoloration that forms underneath of the toenail. Cancer presents itself the same way with a few key, and often subtle, differences. It too will show up underneath the toenail as a discolored spot or line. The spot or line will usually have an irregular border, asymmetrical shape and variations in shading or coloration.

As time goes on, the spot or line may change shape, spread throughout the nail bed and possibly to the surrounding soft tissue. If it spreads too much, surgical amputation will most likely be ordered, as well as chemotherapy and skin grafting. Therefore, Kirkwood podiatrists typically order biopsies to determine whether or not a patient has cancer, or one of the other toenail disorders mentioned earlier.

The biopsy generally involves removing the toenail so a proper tissue sample may be obtained. If the discolored area is rather large, the podiatrist or attending physician may need to repair the hole made by the tissue sampling process with sutures and order post-opt wound care. The length of healing time involved will vary based on how well the patient follows the podiatrist’s wound care recommendations, the wound’s initial size, and the patient’s overall health.

After the biopsy procedure is complete, the tissue sample is usually tested in-house or at a local lab. If cancerous cells are detected, additional treatment, as mentioned above, may be needed. To speak with a podiatrist about this and other serious toenail disorders, please call our office today.

Local Podiatrist Visit May Help Solve Stubborn Toenail Fungus Problems

Treatment for Toenail FungusWith warm weather overtaking many parts of the country, its certain that many people will either be sweating in their shoes or running around barefoot. Unfortunately, those are two things that can lead to episodes of fungal toenails. Your Farmington podiatrist can attest, if there is one thing that causes people to hide their feet from view, its nail fungus.

Fungal toenail infections tend to be classified into four distinct categories. They are proximal subungual onychomycosis, candida onychomycosis, distal subungual onychomycosis and white superficial onychomycosis. Of the four types, the last two tend to occur the most often. The list of differences between those two fungal toenail types starts with their areas of origin.

One infection begins in the nail bed (i.e. distal) and the other attacks the toenail’s surface (i.e. white superficial). If left untreated, both may cause people to experience secondary infections and embarrassment. That is why it’s so crucial for people to seek toenail fungus treatments from a podiatrist at the first signs of fungal toenail.

So which signs should people look for when they examine their feet? It really all depends on which fungus is involved. In some instances, the toenails or surrounding skin will thicken and become discolored. In other situations, the toenails may break apart or fall off. A visit to our Farmington podiatrist’s office will help determine which fungus is responsible for your problem and how it should be treated.

Today’s toenail fungus treatments run the gamut too. In some cases, various prescription medications may be needed. Depending on the circumstances, a person may need to take those medications for two to three months before the problem is solved. On other occasions, the podiatry team may recommend the use of other toenail fungus treatments like topical creams, medicated cleansers, antifungal nail polish, photodynamic therapy, nail removal, or laser treatment.

Laser Treatment for Toenail Fungus Can Banish Beach Time Embarrassment

Laser Treatment for Toenail FungusSwitching from winter snow boots to open toe shoes and sandals in the late spring is a happy occasion for many Americans. However, there are those that dread the seasonal change of footwear because of toenail fungus related embarrassment. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, it is one of the most common nail disorders in the nation.

The infections are typically caused by dermatophytes, molds and yeasts that thrive in moist, balmy and lightless environments. When they come into contact with a person’s toenail beds, they can cause multiple aesthetic and health issues. Among them are distorted, discolored, thick and brittle nails. In more serious cases, odor, discharge and painful skin inflammation may occur.

Over the years, assorted toenail fungus treatment methods have arisen. Unfortunately, not all of them have proven to be worthwhile. Laser treatment for toenail fungus, however, is one that has proven to be very effective. It typically takes place right in your St. Louis podiatrist office. The podiatrist uses an FDA approved/cleared laser during the procedure. There are quite a few different lasers on the market today including the PinPointe™ FootLaser™ and GenesisPlus™. The first is manufactured by NuvoLase, Inc. and the later is a product of Cutera.

Regardless of the brand or type, the laser beam is aimed directly at the patient’s clean, polish free toenails. The beam, in turn, kills the existing fungus without harming anything else in the surrounding area. As such, there is generally no pain and no downtime. Depending on the severity of the fungus, multiple 30-minute long laser treatments for toenail fungus removal may be needed. Afterward, the person’s toenails will start to improve in appearance over time. The amount of time before results are visibly seen vary based on each individual’s situation.

Once the fungal infection has been resolved, patients are often encouraged to prevent further outbreaks by taking a variety of precautionary measures. Those precautionary measures include, but are not restricted to, the use of topical anti-fungal creams, moisture wicking socks, anti-fungal powders, shower shoes and well fitting footwear. To learn more or ask questions about laser treatment for toenail fungus, please contact our office and schedule a consultation with the foot doctor.

Toenail Disorders: 3 Good Reasons to Schedule a Podiatry Visit

Treatment for Toenail FungusAs any professional Missouri podiatrist can attest, there are many different types of toenail disorders that can befall a person over the course of his or her lifetime. Fungal infections, which we’ve touched upon previously, are one of them. Here’s a look at three more that warrant a visit to the podiatrist:

Periungual Warts

Periungual Warts are the first toenail disorder that we wanted to address. Typically forming around the toenail or underneath it, they tend to be very contagious and arise due to the presence of the human papillomavirus. Once a periungual wart diagnosis is made, the podiatrist may recommend one of several treatment options. Those options include laser treatments, salicylic treatments, topical creams and cryotherapy. It should also be mentioned that because the warts have a tendency to spread quickly and reoccur, it is not uncommon for treatment regimes to be repeated.

Koilonychia

Koilonychia is another toenail disorder that may occur in a person’s lifetime. It is easily recognizable because as the disorder advances, the person’s toenails curl into a spoon-like shape. The toenails may also split in the middle, thin out and become dry. This disorder is common among people who suffer from Celiac Disease, chronic anemia and other nutritional related problems. Furthermore, it can be hereditary or brought about by additional health problems too (i.e. heart disease and cancer). Clearly, the reason why a person develops koilonychia must be considered when a podiatrist chooses a treatment method. Options that have been used in the past include the adoption of a special diet, nutritional supplement regimen, anti-fungal creams and moisturizing emollients.

Onycholysis

Finally, we wanted to mention onycholysis. It is a painless nail disorder with many origins, some of which can be quite unsettling. When a person has the disorder, all or part of his or her toenails may fall off. The toenail may also develop a white, gray, brown, yellow or green color. Some of the many things that may cause the disorder to occur are hypothyroidism, fungal or bacterial infections, Raynaud’s disease, severe sunburns and psoriasis.

When a person presents with a case of onycholysis, the podiatrist must address the symptoms as well as the underlying cause. Otherwise, the condition is likely to continue or reappear. In most instances, the partially unattached toenail will need to be removed. Afterward, the podiatrist may apply anti-fungal creams, drying agents or other topical treatments to clear up any infection.

To learn more about these toenail disorders and others, please reach out to our Missouri podiatry clinics. We can professionally assess your situation, make a diagnosis and offer appropriate treatment solutions.

Types of Toenail Fungus Treatment

Treatment for Toenail FungusToenail fungus is a common problem that can turn into a painful situation. Once the fungus is contracted it develops and grows underneath the toenail. This can cause the toenail to become discolored, thick and have an unnatural appearance. The good news is that there are a variety of toenail fungus treatments available.

Symptoms

Initially toenail fungus can appear as a white or yellow spot located underneath the tip of the nail. Over time the toenail becomes thick and distorted as the infection grows and spreads. Eventually the infected toenail can separate from the toe. It can cause pain on the tips of the toes and even provide a horrible odor.

Contracting Toenail Fungus

Toenail fungus, or Onychomycosis, is found most often in dark, heated and moist environments. This means people can get the fungus from showers, gym locker rooms, swimming pools and more. People who have diabetes, previous cases of athlete’s foot, or auto-immune deficiencies have a greater chance of being infected. Toenail fungus will usually enter the body through a cut in the skin or an opening in the toenail.

Non-Surgical Treatments

There are anti-fungal creams people can obtain over the counter. Their effectiveness has always been uncertain. A Missouri foot doctor could provide oral anti-fungal medications. They come with a minor risk of side effects that range from skin rashes to liver damage. They are more effective than creams, but usually must be taken for several weeks. Another way to handle toenail fungus is with nail lacquer. It is painted directly onto the nail each day for a week. Then the layers are wiped off with alcohol and the process is repeated. This can be done for twelve months but has a very low success rate.

The newest form of non-surgical treatment is laser treatment for toenail fungus. This involves targeting a laser beam on the affected nails. The laser beam generates heat to vaporize the fungus without causing damage to the nail or underlying nail bed. The results aren’t instantaneous, the new healthy nail grows back normally only after the fungus is destroyed. Unlike some medications the laser treatment for nail fungus does not have any of the undesirable side effects.

Surgical Treatments

In severe situations the infected toenail may need to be completely removed. In a non-surgical procedure, urea ointment is applied to the nail to make it soft and causing it to dissolve. In a surgical procedure, the toenail and a small amount of tissue is removed. Surgical procedures are seldom necessary.

If you have toenail fungus and want to have it examined by our Missouri podiatrists, contact our office today.


Mid-West Podiatry has Missouri podiatry offices that specialize in the treatment of toenail fungus.

Toenail Fungus and How To Treat It

Treatment for Toenail FungusAs part of our feet, our toenails can really take a beating. Our feet are also the area we tend to neglect. Many of us tend to wear improper footwear and usually injure our toes often. It is very important to take care of our feet and toes. Fungus is easily developed through improper care and exposure to public elements. If you develop a toenail fungus it is important to treat it right away.

Toenail fungus is easily picked up in public places where water tends to collect such as public pools, gyms and locker rooms. These moist environments are the perfect breeding ground for fungus. Easily avoid picking up toenail fungus by wearing the proper footwear when you are in these areas.

Another reason a person may get toenail fungus is due to some kind of injury to the toenail. Damaged nails are prone to bacteria and infection. Fungus can get underneath damaged nails and into the exposed area. You may notice a purple coloration forming, this is due to bruising and the rooting of potential fungus. This area under your toenail can provide the perfect warm and moist environment for growth of fungus, especially when you wear socks and shoes. If your toenails have been injured, the effected area may also swell and become very painful.

Another possible cause for toenail fungus is the use of tight shoes and ingrown toenails. Wearing the wrong shoes can cause your toenails to grow inward thus causing poor circulation and swelling. By cutting off the circulation to your toes the toenail can start to die leaving it vulnerable to toenail fungus. Ingrown nails also cause swelling as well as pain around the toenails. If left untreated, or if you don’t properly treat them, it can lead to infection.

When it comes to toenail fungus treatment it is very important to always wear the proper shoes that are the right size and provide proper comfort. When seeking treatment it is important to contact your Missouri podiatrist first. Antibiotics are a possible treatment for toenail fungus but usually left for more severe case as the use of antibiotics is taxing on the liver and kidneys. Most commonly a topical treatment is preferred such as tea oil. In some cases the partial removal or complete removal of the affected toenail is done to prevent further fungal infection. The best course of action is to keep your toes clean and dry. Keep toenails trimmed and avoid pulling and ripping the area around the nails.

Considering Laser Treatment for Toenail Fungus

Laser Treatment for Toenail FungusA toenail fungus infection can quickly develop once an organism known as a Dermatophyte begins to feed on the keratin and protein stores contained within your nail. This fungus can rapidly drain these vital substances from your toenail, causing the painful and unsightly symptoms associated with this serious medical disorder. Unfortunately, toenail fungus (Onychomycosis) is very challenging to successfully treat, as repeat infections are common. Continually struggling with fungal infections can very often lead to discoloration, disfiguration, and eventual destruction of the entire nail.

If you currently suffer from this disease, you’re probably all too familiar with the medications commonly prescribed to treat it. Although these drugs can provide very effective results and relief from this debilitating condition, there are certainly serious side effects strongly associated with these treatment regimens. Many Missouri podiatrists will often prescribe an oral medication, such as Lamisil or Sporanox to combat toenail fungal infections. Unfortunately, these drugs may cause minor side effects, possible liver damage, and can even be life threatening.

Alternative treatments for these fungal infections are available to those suffering with the condition. Many people aren’t aware that a laser can be effectively used to alleviate the symptoms of this disorder, and the number of podiatrists offering laser treatment for toenail fungus is increasing. This option is certainly one to explore and consider if you don’t want to risk the side effects of medication.

Scientific research studies have revealed that the laser inhibits overall fungal growth and provides the patient’s body with an opportunity to heal itself. Using a laser to combat toenail fungal infection has been reported to be effective in over 80% of patients who have tried it. A typical treatment session lasts anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes in duration, and a patient may be required to go through 2 to 4 laser sessions (spread out over time), depending on how severe the infection is.

If you have made the educated decision to get Missouri laser treatment for toenail fungus infection, please note that we do not currently offer this procedure at our office. However, do not hesitate to contact our Missouri foot clinics if you have any questions or would like to explore other toenail fungus treatment options that we have seen great success with over the years.