Treating Toenail Fungus

Getting Ready for Sandals Season

Laser Treatment for Toenail FungusToenail fungus is a very common and embarrassing problem that effects up to 13 percent of Americans. Unfortunately most of these people have resigned themselves to living with this unsightly condition. In the past, treating this condition was both futile and frustrating. Recently new research has shown that the use of a laser to the toenail can improve the fungal changes present.

Fungi can live on the dead tissues of the hair, nails and outer skin layers. Some people are more prone to these types of skin infections and can eventually find that their nails become infected. If feet tend to be moist and perspire on a regular basis, this type of environment is perfect for fungal infections. In addition, people who are more prone to nail infections tend to get pedicures with unclean instruments, get minor nail injuries, are immune-deficient or participate in those sports that keep feet moist.

One of the initial changes to the nails that cause people to seek treatment is a change in nail color. Fungus can cause the nail to initially turn yellowish, brittle and thickened. Eventually the nail can lift up from the nail bed and debris can build up under the nail.

In the past many topical medications were used on the nails but proved to be very ineffective. Newer topical medicines have been more effective, but many times an additional therapy is needed to truly cure toenail fungus. There are several oral medications that are presently used to treat nail fungus and are somewhat effective. While these medications are safe, the do have side effects, as with most medications. One of the most serious side effects includes liver problems. Monitoring liver function is indicated while taking these medications.

The newest treatment in treating nail fungus is laser. The laser has demonstrated to be a very effective tool in both killing the fungus and restoring the nail to its normal appearance.

Laser treatment for nail fungus is safe and effective with little or no pain, just a mild warming sensation in the toes. For mild cases, the laser passes through the nail and does no damage to the surrounding skin. The laser treatment helps eliminate the fungal spores in the nail. For those nails that have severe changes, removal of the nail is sometimes necessary, and the laser application to the nail bed kills the fungus and helps the nail grow back attached to the nail bed.

For many people nail fungus is a life-long problem and forces them to wear closed-toed shoes at all times. Laser therapy for toenail fungus has enabled people the confidence to wear sandals and go barefoot at the beach once again!


Dr. Howard Roesen is a native of Newport News and has been practicing with Affiliated Podiatrists since 1992. He has three podiatry offices located in Newport News, Hampton and Carrollton. He can be reached at 757-599-5710.

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