Toenail Fungus is a stubborn problem that affects millions of people so what is a person to do to rid themselves of this unsightly condition? The first thing we need to do is understand a little about toenail fungus.
Nail fungal infections are typically caused by a fungus that gets below the nail. It usually begins as a white or yellow spot under the tip of your nail and as the fungal infection goes deeper your nail may discolor, thicken and crumble at the edge.
How would you know if your patients have toenail fungus?
Brittle, crumbly or ragged
Distorted in shape
Dull, with no shine
A dark color, caused by debris building up under your nail
How would your patients get this type of fungus?
Toenail fungus lives in warm, moist environments, including swimming pools and showers. It can invade your patients skin through tiny cuts and the small separation between the nail and nail bed. If the nails are often exposed to warm and moist conditions they have a higher chance of getting toenail fungus.
There are many different types of treatments available on the market today with varying risks and success rates. Studies have found that combination treatments show the highest improvement.
What types of treatments are available for your toenail fungus?
|Oral Anti-fungal||50%||Liver Damage/Blood Tests|
|Medicated Nail Polish||35%||Need to use for 1 year|
|Medicated Nail Cream||35%||Low success rate|
|Vicks VapoRub||56%||Minimal improvement seen|
|Anti-Fungal Creams||25%||Minimal improvement seen|
Over the last few years laser has come on the market as a viable treatment, receiving FDA approval, and giving a higher success rate with minimized risks to you. The specialized wavelength laser works by surpassing the nail and focusing the energy in the nail bed where the fungus lives. The laser light gradually heats nail killing the fungus.
What patients can expect during laser toenail fungus treatment?
At the start of the 30 minute procedure the nails will first be filed down to increase efficacy. As the treatment begins the laser will gradually heat the nail. As the area becomes uncomfortable, the technician will move to other infected nails. Once completed there is no residual discomfort, the patient can go back to their normal routine and reapply their favorite nail polish. Expect clients to need 3 – 5 treatments spaced about 6 weeks apart.
Even if the laser relieves the signs and symptoms, repeat infections are common so make sure they keep their feet clean and dry.