49 Winter St., Weymouth MA 02188
49 Winter St., Weymouth MA 02188
If you’re embarrassed by discolored, flaking toenails, you’re not alone. It’s estimated that a toenail fungus affects about 20% of all Americans.
But unfortunately, the treatments that have been around a while — oral medications and topical creams — often don’t really do the trick. They are either minimally helpful or don’t work at all. Luckily, laser nail therapy is now an option. THe Pinpointe laser has been FDA approved and is used with success by podiatrists as a safe, quick, effective form of treatment. Read on to learn more about toenail fungus and laser treatment.
Toenail fungus is an infection of the nail plate and nail bed. These areas are infected with microscopic organisms called dermatophytes, sometimes yeast or even less common, mold.
These tiny organisms are in our environment, just like bacteria and viruses. If they settle on the skin of your feet, they can find a happy home in the warm, moist, dark areas at the edge and just beneath your toenail.
A fungal infection can affect your fingernails too. This is less common though, since your hands aren’t confined to a warm, moist environment like your feet are.
A fungal infection often goes unnoticed early on. The infection spreads toward the base of your toe at first. Later on the nail will seem to grow thicker. Early detection and treatment are helpful for a quick resolution of the infection.
Here are some of the symptoms to look out for:
You should have an evaluation by your podiatrist. Often an exam of the skin on your feet and toes is sufficient to diagnose a fungal infection. At Ace Feet, we are able to look at the nail under a dermoscope or do an in office microscopic exam of an under the nail scraping in questionable cases. Both of these tests are painless and take minutes.
Laser devices work by two processes called photothermolysis and photobiomodulation.
Photothermolysis occurs as the laser emits pulses of light energy that target fungal cells and produce heat. In response to the heat, the infected tissue is gasified and decomposed, destroying the fungus and the surrounding skin and nail. The heat from the lasers also has a sterilizing effect, which helps prevent new fungal growth.
Photobiomodulation occurs when the laser applies light energy in the range of the infrared electromagnetic spectrum (870, 930, 1,064 nm) to the nail bed. This stimulates the metabolism of cells, improves microcirculation, and inhibits the fungal multiplication. Laser treatment is associated with high rates of negative cultures—which means that a laboratory microscopic test for a fungal infection typically doesn’t show evidence of infection after treatment.
A toenail consult begins with a discussion of your feet and toenails. We will review how and when the problem started, which treatment you have tried thus far (if any). We will review your medical history, which style shoes you wear regularly (Dress shoes will need to be cleaned differently and more frequently than a breathable sneaker, for example).
Your feet will be examined and evaluated for fungus, ingrown toenails, nail matrix damage, or other issues.
We will review all treatment options and decide which will be best for you. We can start treatment on the same day if you’d like.
Treatment includes toenail trimming and filing.
Laser is then applied as per protocol, to kill the fungus and leave you with clean toenails.
A fungal nail is a damaged, dead nail. The laser will not revive this dead nail but instead will create a clean canvas for your new healthy nail to grow in. During this time you nail beds are vulnerable to reinfection. Having athlete’s foot, wearing shoes all day, sweating in your work shoes or athletic shoes, going to pools or gym lockers, etc all put you at risk for reinfection. To mitigate this, we provide you with an excellent shoe cleaner, and products to keep you feet fungal free as your new nail grows in. We want your toenails to be clean and clear!
You can book an appointment for a toenail consult online, click the “book appointment” button at the top of the page, or contact us if you have any questions.