Laser Treatment may be the Answer to Your Fungal Nails
When it’s cold outside, unsightly nail problems may not be a top priority, but if you have toenail fungus, winter could be the best time to act. This is because all the available treatment options take many months to show visible results. On average, toenails grow at a rate of about one to two millimeters per month so it may take a year or more for a new toenail to grow.
Fungal Nails are Unsightly
Fungal spores love warm, moist environments so tend to multiply and infect nails or skin when feet are not aired regularly. Nails affected by fungus are not pretty and although they can be hidden under nail polish, treatment is necessary to eradicate the fungus. To look at, infected nails are usually discolored. They may be yellow or brown, or may have white patches. Over time, the nails can thicken and become crumbly. If the infected nails become very thick, the extra pressure on the nail bed can cause pain.
Initial Treatment Options
Conservatively, many things can be tried: Vick’s Vapor Rub, Tea Tree Oil, or Potassium Permanganate crystals in water. Over-the-counter, anti-fungal nail paints or creams can be expensive, have to be applied daily for many months, and have limited success rates. Prescription anti-fungal medications are available and must be taken for three months; however, success is not guaranteed and there can be unwelcome side effects.
For a more advanced option, schedule an appointment with a podiatrist like Sheldon H. Nadal, D.P.M., based in Toronto. First, he will determine whether or not your nails are infected with fungus and are not just damaged. Next, he will decide if your fungal nails may benefit from laser treatment. Lasers use light energy of a specific wavelength to produce heat and destroy tissues. The treatment is safe, discomfort is minimal, and there is no down-time. Studies show a 75-80 per cent success rate with mild to moderate cases.
Wear mostly-cotton socks and leather shoes, wash and dry your feet thoroughly, and wear flip-flops around public pools or showers. Also, treat any foot injuries promptly to prevent infection.