Nail fungus can cause embarrassment, but there are effective treatments, Laser therapy destroys fungus living under your nails and restores a healthy appearance to your nails.
Fungal nail infection can cause your nails to look unsightly. While fungus can affect any nail, it most often affects the toenails. Because nail fungus changes the color and texture of your nails it can cause you to feel embarrassed and make you want to avoid wearing open-toe shoes or sandals.
At Inspire Health Clinics, foot and ankle specialist Dr. Matthew Graff, DPM, wants patients to know that nail fungus is very common and nothing to feel embarrassed about. If you’re dealing with nail fungus, laser therapy is an effective treatment to help restore the appearance of your nails.
Signs of nail fungus
Nail fungus often develops slowly and may go unnoticed in the beginning. As it progresses, it changes the appearance of the nail. Common signs of nail fungus include:
- Nail discoloration (usually yellow)
- Nail thickening
- Nail separation from nail bed
- Dark nails
- White spots on nail
- Brittle nails
If you notice signs of nail fungus, it’s best to seek treatment as soon as possible. As the infection spreads deeper into the nail it becomes more resistant to treatment.
Causes of nail fungus
A group of fungi called dermatophytes, which infect the nail bed are the most common cause of nail fungus; yeast is also a common culprit. Walking barefoot in damp communal areas like showers, swimming pools, and locker rooms significantly increases the risk of infection. If you have athlete’s foot (a fungal skin infection), the infection may spread to your nails.
Fungi thrive in dark, damp environments. Wearing sweaty socks and/or shoes for too long provides the perfect environment for fungi to thrive. To lower your risk, always wear well-fitting, well-ventilated shoes and socks and change them if they become damp from sweat.
Having a condition that affects your circulation, such as diabetes or peripheral artery disease raises the risk of toenail infections.
How laser therapy works to treat nail fungus
Fungi are resistant to many things, but don’t stand much of a chance against laser therapy. The lasers used to treat fungus destroy the organisms that live beneath the nail without harming your surrounding skin. Unlike topical treatments, light energy can penetrate the toenail and reach the fungus at the source.
Dr. Graff may file your nails before treatment to prepare them for laser therapy. Before your session, you should remove any nail polish or decals from your nails. Treatment is painless, although you may feel warmth or tingling on the nail bed during treatment.
What results can you expect?
Most patients get healthy new nail development after the procedure. The laser treatment can stop the fungus from spreading and alleviate any pain or discomfort.
Most patients only require one treatment, but that depends on the extent of the infection. In some cases it may take six months to a year to fully heal. While infection recurrence is infrequent, some fungal infections may return and require further treatment.
Get rid of nail fungus
Nail fungus treatment takes about 30 minutes and you can resume your normal activities immediately. Dr. Graff will schedule follow-up appointments with you after the procedure to ensure that the nails are healing properly and to evaluate if more treatments are required.
When you meet with Dr. Graff for a consultation, you’ll learn more about laser nail fungus treatment and have the opportunity to ask questions.
Don’t ignore nail fungus. Treatment can restore your nails and boost your confidence. To learn more, give us a call to schedule a visit with Dr. Graff. New and existing patients can also request an appointment using our online booking form.