Laser Toenail Fungus Q & A
What Causes Toenail Fungus?
Fungal infections in your toenail, called onychomycosis, occur when your foot encounters a yeast or mold. Everyone comes into contact with these organisms because they thrive in dark, moist places, like the inside of your shoes. However, a fungal infection only develops if you have a cut or cracked nail that allows the microorganisms to get into the tissues.
Your risk of developing a fungal infection increases if you:
- Don’t wear socks
- Wear unventilated shoes
- Have feet that sweat excessively
- Had a previous toenail injury
- Go barefoot in gyms and around pools
- Have a history of athlete’s foot
Athlete’s foot is a fungal skin infection that’s highly contagious and can spread to cause an infection in your toenail. The fungus can be passed through gym showers and locker rooms, or other damp areas where the fungus thrives.
Your age also increases the risk of toenail fungus. As you get older, your nails become brittle and crack, which leaves an opening for fungi.
What Symptoms Develop Due to a Toenail Fungus?
White or yellow spots at the tip of your toenail are usually the first signs of a fungal infection. As the infection spreads, your toenails start to thicken and turn yellow. Thickened nails can become quite painful when you’re wearing shoes.
When it goes untreated, the infection affects the shape of your nail and makes the nail edges crumble. The infection can also spread to your skin and cause athlete’s foot.
How Do Lasers Treat a Toenail Fungus?
For many years, the only treatment for toenail fungus was topical antifungal medication. But topical medications don’t work well because they can’t fully penetrate the nail. Other treatment options include oral antifungal medications or surgically removing the nail. Or you can get safe, effective treatment with laser technology.
Sacramento Foot and Ankle Center uses the PinPointe™ laser. This specialized laser sends out tiny pulses of light that pass through your toenail to the fungus. The laser destroys the fungus and infected nail cells without damaging the healthy nail or surrounding skin.
Your laser treatment is comfortable — it doesn’t require anesthesia — and as soon as it’s finished, you can get back to your normal daily activities. You may need several treatments, but one treatment completely clears out the infection for 60-65% of patients.
If you’re ready to clear away your toenail fungus, call Sacramento Foot and Ankle Center or schedule an appointment online.