If you have fungal nails, you may not want too much light shed on your feet. You probably avoid wearing sandals or open-toed shoes because you are embarrassed by your thick, discolored, crumbly nails. If you’re ready to do something about them, it may be time to ask Mark Gasparini, D.P.M., if laser nail treatment is right for you.
Toenail Fungus Is Among Us
A group of fungi called dermatophytes is the culprit behind fungal toenails. It is pretty hard to avoid these micro-organisms. They exist all over, but especially in places that are warm and wet, like saunas, showers, pools—and your shoes. If your footwear doesn’t breathe and your socks hold moisture against your skin, you provide prime real estate for these little guys!
Other things also increase your risk of infection, including athlete’s foot, heavy perspiration, skin or nail injuries, walking barefoot in public areas, and aging (more years of exposure and poorer blood circulation to fight off invaders). Once the fungus has found a way into and under your nail, it feeds on the protein and leaves debris that can discolor your nails and cause a foul odor. Your nail may become thick or brittle, and the infection may spread to other nails as well.
The Fungus Is Dead: Long Live the Fungi!
These micro-organisms are hearty little fellows. It is difficult to eradicate them, and even if you get them under control, the infection could come back if you aren’t careful. You need perseverance and diligence to apply topical antifungal medications for the long term. Oral medications also take a while to work, plus they come with some undesirable side effects that require periodic testing of liver function.
We often recommend laser nail treatment as an alternative to topical and oral medications. There are several benefits. It is quicker, for one thing. We can treat your nails right in our office in under an hour. A concentrated beam of light is focused on the infected area and attacks the fungus without harming the other tissue around the nail. There are no known side effects and no anesthetic is needed during treatment. Soon, your new, healthy nail will begin to grow out and the infected part will gradually be pushed out and trimmed off.
Once the nail is better, there are some tips you can consider to prevent a recurrence of toenail fungus. Keep your feet very clean and dry, change your socks every day, switch out shoes so each pair can dry out for 24 hours before being worn again, and use antifungal powder or spray in your shoes to kill any lurking fungus.
Should I Try Laser Nail Treatment?
The evidence for its effectiveness is still largely anecdotal, without the proper research to back it up. This means that even though the procedure is FDA approved, most insurance will not cover it until there are independently funded randomized controlled trials that prove it works.
If you are wary of the risks of oral medications, however, or feel you don’t have the patience for a long course of topical treatments, you may wish to choose laser treatment instead. If you are ready to try this quick, painless therapy, give Mark Gasparini, D.P.M., in Massapequa, NY, a call at (516) 804-9038. We will help you decide if it’s right for you.