Fungal infections of the toenails are estimated to affect about 14% of the population of North America. Toenail fungus is unsightly, often embarrassing, sometimes painful, and very persistent.
Laser therapy, which kills the microbes under the nails, is a welcome treatment option as oral and topical anti-fungals tend to be toxic to the liver or have limited effectiveness. Laser treatments are not painful, have no side effects, and take relatively little in-office time. Plus laser can be used in conjunction with other therapies to increase the overall success of the treatment.
At Redi Medi Laser Skin Clinics we believe in offering a comprehensive treatment plan that not only kills the fungus with the laser, but also addresses the issue of reinfection. Feet must be kept clean, dry and fungus free. Socks and shoes must be disinfected. And more! The following simple actions and habits greatly improve the chances of remaining fungus free:
Two concurrent treatments have a better outcome than either alone. After laser treatments apply a topical antifungal to the nails as a backup measure.
Treat the feet. Athlete’s foot is also very common and can act as a ‘seed’ to toenail fungus. Treating the skin of the feet for fungus after laser treatments will help ensure that the nails are not reinfected. Wash and dry feet thoroughly daily.
Keep it neat. Trim and file the toenails regularly. Keep them short, thin, and soft using clippers, nail file, or professional debridement.
Environment is key. Eliminate the dark, warm, moist environment commonly found inside your shoes and socks. Wear moisture-wicking socks made of CoolMax or wool. Wear loose-fitting shoes made of a breathable material or open-toed shoes. Allow shoes to air out and dry between wearings. Expose toes to sunlight and fresh air as often as possible.
Kill fungal spores in your shoes using a UV light sanitizing device or anti-fungal sprays. Kill fungus in your socks by washing using bleach or vinegar and drying on high heat.
Clean up your surroundings. Regularly clean, disinfect and dry sheets, towels, and bathtub/shower tile.
Take precautions in public wet places – wear flip flops!
What else is infected? Replace nail polish, nail clippers, pedicure tools, old socks and shoes.
Are there structural problems creating an environment where fungus thrives? Toes that are constantly smashed together (typical in most styles of shoes), overlapping on top of each other, curled under, or have toenails that are damaged or broken are more likely to harbor microbial growth.
Certain lasers are able to penetrate the toenail and kill the fungus that lives underneath. Laser does this more effectively than topical anti-fungals which often have a difficult time getting absorbed through the thick nail barrier. Beginning treatment with laser and then following the suggested aftercare guidelines to minimize the risk of reinfection is a great plan. Becoming and remaining fungus free is the goal. We want to help you get there.