When you have fungal toenails, you know it. They are the unsightly, discolored, brittle, ragged nails that make so many people embarrassed to wear sandals or go barefoot at the pool. Unfortunately, you can’t just hope the fungus dies out on its own. The condition only gets worse unless you treat it—which is where laser treatment for fungal nails comes into play.
The Run-Down on Fungal Nail Infections
Fungal toenails are caused by a microscopic fungus getting under your hard keratin tissue and festering there. The dark, damp, warm area under your nails is perfect for the pathogen to grow and spread. As it does, it damages you nails, making them discolored, brittle, thick, and crumbly. As the problem gets worse, it increases your risk for developing pain, secondary infections, and ingrown toenails. A severe infection might even permanently damage the keratin.
Normal fungus treatment for your nails uses topical anti-fungal medications, oral medicines, or a combination of the two. Topical medications kill the fungus on the surface of your nails and skin, while the oral travels through your bloodstream to reach the infection under the nail. While these are effective methods in some cases, they have drawbacks. Topical medicines can’t reach the fungus at its source under your nails. Oral medications don’t work for everyone and can have unpleasant side effects. Both of these methods take many months—even a year—to heal your nails.
Introducing Fungal Toenail Laser Treatment
There is an alternative therapy to eliminate nail fungus. Laser light therapy is a relatively recent, FDA-approved treatment method that’s shown a lot of success in eliminating fungal infections and clearing up nails. The procedure works significantly faster than traditional medications, too, and has no known side effects. Best of all, it attacks the infection at its source, making it highly effective at destroying the pathogen that damages your nails.
How It All Works
Fungal toenail laser treatment uses high-intensity, super-focused beams of light to reach the infection underneath hard keratin without having to surgically remove the nail or send medication through your blood. The light beam passes cleanly through your nail tissue without harming it, traveling at a very specific wavelength. This wavelength allows the laser to vaporize the fungus without damaging either your nail or the nail bed. Once the infection is eradicated, your nails can immediately begin re-growing healthy, clear tissue.
What to Expect from Your Laser Therapy
At Family Foot Care & Surgery, L.L.C., we perform an initial laser treatment with two follow-up procedures to be sure the pathogen is completely destroyed. Severe cases might need additional laser therapy to clear out the festering infection. The actual procedure, however, is quick and painless. Applying the laser to your nails takes about fifteen minutes altogether, and most people only notice a slight warming sensation in their toes. Best of all, there’s no recovery time needed. You can immediately return to work, exercise, or any other daily activity after your appointment.
It does take several months for your nails to grow back completely clear and healthy-looking again. This is normal—your toes have to entirely replace the keratin damaged by fungus. With the infection eliminated, though, this process can begin sooner than it otherwise would. Once your nails are clear, you’ll need to take steps to prevent a reinfection as well. Your body can’t develop immunity to fungus, so your feet could get infected again if you aren’t careful.
Dr. Sanjay Patel has been at the forefront of laser therapy for fungal nails since the beginning of its use as a treatment, so you know your toes are safe with us. Let the Family Foot Care & Surgery, L.L.C. team help restore your nails to their healthy, beautiful selves. You can make an appointment with us through our website. Or, you can call us directly: (203) 288-4055 for our location in Hamden, CT, or (203) 876-7736 for our office in Milford, CT.