By Dr. Dorian Jimenez, DPM
The flowers are blooming and the trees are budding so you know it’s time to kick off those winter fleece lined boots and dig in the closet for the “toe shoes!”
You know the ones I’m talking about… the flip flops, the sandals, the thongs, the slippers… whatever you want to call them, get them out and put them on your feet. And when you do, look down at your toes. Do you like what you see? Has anything new popped up over the past couple of months when you were just wrapping those things up in heavy socks and big shoes? For most of you the answer will be no, and you can spring forward with no worries. But for some of you, those yellow, unsightly toenails may mean that you have a fungal infection.
For some you, this means a trip to the nail salon for a thick coat of your favorite colored polish to cover your toenails up. This makes it all better right? Wrong. Treating your nails like this will only worsen the problem and help make the fungus stronger. So what do you do to rid your nails of a pestering fungus infection?
The latest treatment in fungal nail infection therapy isn’t a pill that may be hard on your liver, or a liquid that can’t even begin to penetrate the nail to do the job – it’s a laser. It sounds a bit far-fetched, and any logical person should be a bit skeptical when someone tells you, “There’s a laser treatment for that.” But it’s true and there are some very promising results that have been and are continuing to be reported with successful treatment of fungus nail infections with a laser.
Laser nail treatment is a one-time treatment that lasts anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour, depending on the number of nails involved. The nails are first thinned down so that the fungus can be targeted more directly. The podiatrist makes multiple passes with the laser across the toenails and surrounding skin. Sounds painful, right? Not really. The treatment is relatively painless with only a few complaints about a warm feeling or a small tinge.
Post-treatment, the toes are treated at home with antifungal sprays, creams or liquids, and a little bit more loving care to the toenails than they are usually given. Remember — you can have a recurrence if your feet come in contact with the fungus again. Easy ways to prevent this include wearing clean socks, wearing different shoes throughout the week, drying feet and toes thoroughly after washing, and following proper nail hygiene.
Toenail fungus may have finally met its match with the new laser nail therapy. So if you looked down at your toes and they looked a bit ill, find your local podiatrist and ask them about laser nail therapy. You’ll be glad you did and your toes will be more confident in those flip-flops!