Nail fungus – sometimes referred to as fungal nail infections, or onychomycosis – is a condition that occurs when a microscopic fungus enters either a fingernail of toenail. Fungal nail infections occur more often in toenails than in fingernails and can affect anyone. For those with diabetes or weakened immune systems, fungal infections can present serious risks.
What causes nail fungus?
There are several causes of nail infections, including dermatophyte fungi (tinea unguium), yeasts such as candida albicans, and non-dermaphyte molds. Fungi develop rapidly due to many factors: humiditiy, heat, trauma, diabetes mellitus, and underling tinea pedis (or athlete’s foot). Usually, nail fungus occurs when fungus enter the nail through small trauma (cut of break) in the nail, Nail fungus can be spread from person to person, and it can be difficult to determine exactly where or how a fungal infections is acquired. Toenail infections can be more difficult to treat than fingernails because toenails grow much more slowly. In addition, the wamr and damp environment of a shoe or boot can encourage fungal growth. If the infection is visible, nails are thick and discolored; sometimes patients site pain in the toes or fingertips.
How Does the Laser Treatment Work?
When undergoing laser toenail fungus treatment, a medical professional will directly apply a focused light source onto the toe that is infected. The treatment will target the fungal infection in the toenail and the area below the toenail (call the toenail matrix). The laser treatment destroys the fungal infection; there is not too much pain involved since the nail is comprised of dead cells. Only living fungus is targeted by the laser.
In addition to the laser treatment itself, other lifestyle changes are necessary in order to prevent the growth from reforming. We prescribe these during your visit – it usually includes throwing out old shoes or applying a special spray to them, as well as a topical medication for the foot.
What kind of laser is it?
1064nm Nd:YAG (neodymium-doped yttrium aluminum garnet)
The cost and number of visits required is different for every individual based on the severity of the infection. You can come in and consult with our doctor on Friday afternoons, by appointment.