|Fungus Got Your Toes? Zap It! |
Do you have thick, yellowish, brittle, and easily cracked or broken toenails without having injured them? They are likely discolored due to a fungal infection called onychomycosis, which is the most common disease of the nails.
The nail weakens as fungi continue to grow through the nail tissue. Since fungus grows faster than the nail, damage increases and the nail becomes more and more unsightly, with the infection spreading to the root or base of the nail.
Yeast and molds are also suspected to cause toenail fungus. These types of fungi exist in warm and moist environments, like shower areas, locker rooms, swimming pools, and even your shoes (as toes are usually encased in shoes). People with circulatory problems, weak immune systems, or diabetes are at greater risk of developing fungal infections as well.
Nail fungus has been difficult to treat with success. The only options in the past have been topical or oral medications, which provide limited benefit. In addition, oral medication may cause liver damage. Now there is a safe, effective laser treatment for nail fungus.
The laser destroys the fungus that causes onychomycosis with very little effect on the surrounding tissues. Treatment normally takes fewer than 20 minutes and there is no pain, although sometimes you may experience a warm or tingling sensation. There are no age or health restrictions for laser treatments.
Laser toenail treatment is considered aesthetic (cosmetic). Therefore, most health insurance plans do not cover treatment, and it can be costly.
Consult with your podiatric physician to determine if this course of treatment is right for you.
This patient information newsletter is courtesy of apma.org