The truth is that we have millions of microorganisms living on and inside us. The vast majority cause us no harm, and many even give us some help (shoot-out to gut bacteria!).
Toenail fungus is not one of those organisms, however. A variety of fungal invaders can take up residence within the nail, and the results can be a thick, brittle, discolored mess.
May people hide their toenails away, embarrassed to be seen with them. They might think that nothing can be done to rout the infection for good. There is hope, however! Associates in Podiatry provides treatment for fungal toenail infections, including our advanced Lunula Laser therapy.
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What Causes Fungal Toenails?
You might also hear a fungal nail infection referred to as “onychomycosis.” We’ll just stick to “fungal nails” here, though.
A variety of fungal organisms can cause an infection, including yeasts and molds. The most common type of fungus we see, however, are known as dermatophytes.
Fungal organisms can find a breach in a nail—such as a crack or small injury—to gain access and begin to thrive. Fungus can also invade the skin directly next to the nail. The same fungus that causes athlete’s foot can also cause a fungal toenail infection.
Fungal toenails can take on a few different appearances, although all tend to be unwelcome. Common symptoms of an infection include:
- Thickening of the nail.
- Discoloration, usually in the range of white to yellow-brown in hue.
- Brittle and crumbly texture.
- Raggedness or other distortion in shape.
- Slightly unfavorable odor in some cases.
The earliest stages of a fungal nail infection are the best time to begin treatment, but it can be difficult to notice that something is wrong. This is because the start of an infection can usually take the form of a small, yellow or white spot. It’s easy to mistake one of these for a simple blemish or nick on the nail, but keep an eye on it. If it doesn’t start to clear up over the next days, or grows larger, give us a call!
Treating Toenail Fungus
Almost all forms of fungal toenail treatment will take time to complete. Not only must you get to the fungus to eradicate it, but the old, ravaged nail needs to be forced out by new, clear nails as they grow.
At Associates in Podiatry, we offer an excellent form of treatment that has shown results in many patients: the Lunula Laser. Laser treatment can get down into the nail to attack the fungus directly, meaning less filing of the nail. There is no burning and no pain; perhaps just a warming sensation as reported by some patients.
Laser treatment might be used in conjunction with topical anti-fungal ointments or oral medications. Potential side effects may need to be considered with medications, but there are no known side effects to laser treatment.