Clinical Laser Treatment of Toenail Onychomycosis: a Guide From Our Experts
Updated: Apr 15, 2022
What is toenail onychomycosis?
Onychomycosis, more commonly referred to as a fungal toenail infection, is a common infection that affects nearly 1 in every 10 people. While it can affect the fingernails, it's not nearly as common.
The symptoms of onychomycosis can range from mild to severe and can include discoloration, thickening, brittleness, cracking, and even crumbling of the nail. The infection can start at the edge of the nail, spread to the entire nail, and even transfer to other nails. It can also cause discomfort and pain, particularly when walking.
What causes fingernail fungus?
Fingernail fungus and fungal toenail infections are caused by a variety of different fungi that thrive in moist and warm environments.
Dermatophytes, a type of mold, are the most common cause of more toenail infections. This particular fungal microorganism cannot be seen with the naked eye and can only be detected with a laboratory culture. They're particularly attracted to fingernails and toenails, as they feed off of keratin, the primary protein found in nails.
Where are you likely to contract Onychomycosis?
Dermatophytes thrive in warm, moist environments, so public swimming pools, locker rooms, and showers are all common sources of infection. Fingernail fungus can also be contracted by using unclean instruments in a nail salon or sharing personal items such as towels, razors, shoes, and socks with someone who has the infection.
What is the recommended fungal toenail treatment?
The recommended fungal toenail treatment will vary depending on the severity of the infection. In most cases, a topical antifungal medication is prescribed. These medications are available over-the-counter or by prescription and can be applied directly to the nail.
Unfortunately, these medications can often be ineffective in treating more severe infections and fail to prevent the infection from spreading or returning. In these cases, laser fungal toenail treatment is often recommended.
What is laser fungal toenail treatment?
Laser fungal toenail treatment is a new, advanced treatment that uses laser energy to kill the fungus causing the infection.
Compared to over-the-counter medications, the AAFP concluded that laser treatment is more effective in improving symptoms and curing patients of onychomycosis. Additionally, a Medical Science study published in 2018 reported a success rate of 83.7% among patients with infections affecting at least two-thirds of the nail.
How does laser fungal toenail treatment work?
Laser fungal toenail treatment works by using laser energy to target the fungus causing the infection. The laser energy destroys the fungus while leaving the surrounding tissue unharmed.
The procedure itself is painless, lasting about 20-30 minutes without the need for anesthesia. There is also no downtime following the treatment, and patients can resume their normal activities immediately.
It's important to note that results are not immediate despite the reduction of the fungus with every treatment. It can take several months for the new, healthy nail to grow out completely.
Get your laser fungal toenail treatment in Philadelphia, PA, today!
If you're suffering from a fungal toenail infection, laser fungal toenail treatment may be the right solution for you. Dr. Kimberly Nguyen, the Philly City Foot Doc, offers laser fungal toenail treatment in her Philadelphia office.
Schedule a consultation today and get started on the path to healthy, infection-free nails.