The desire to get out, travel, and just enjoy yourself may be stronger this year than it’s ever been before! A bad fungal toenail infection, however, can put a real damper on anything that involves exposing your feet to the world.

We have previously discussed how to reduce your risk of picking up a fungal infection in the first place, but the only thing that can help fungal nails you already have is good treatment. And if you have plans for clearer nails in the future, you should absolutely not delay starting that treatment as soon as possible!

Fungal Nail Treatment Needs Time for Full Results

The truth is that, if your toenails are currently thick, discolored, brittle, and misshapen, then the fungus has already had quite some time to settle in and wreak havoc.

While fungal nail treatment can kill the fungus residing in your nails, it cannot instantly repair all the damage the fungus has caused. What it does do, however, is allow new, clear nails to grow out to replace that which has been ravaged.

This is good! But toenails also take a long time to grow. Typically, you can expect less than 2 mm of growth per month – slower than the rate of fingernail growth. This all adds up to a need for patience in the process, but there is no better time to start treatment than now.

In fact, if you believe you have the early signs of a fungal toenail infection (e.g. whitish spots or streaks on your nail that haven’t gone away, or have even changed over time), don’t wait for things to get worse before you seek out a diagnosis. If we identify and start treating the infection at this point, the overall process can be much faster and prevent much worse-looking nails.

How We Treat Toenail Fungus

One of our primary tools in getting rid of fungal toenails is our PinPointe FootLaser.

The PinPointe is an FDA-approved medical laser that is designed to target and attack fungal nail infections, with a main strength being the ability of its light energy to pass through the nail tissue and hit the fungus right where it resides.

A big part of what makes toenail fungus so challenging to treat is how it resides within and under the nail itself, providing it some natural protection. This can make it difficult for topical treatments such as ointments and creams to really get into the nail and eradicate the fungus head-on.

Laser treatment, on the other hand, is able to largely bypass the defenses of the nail, but without causing any damage to surrounding tissue. Please don’t think we are going to burn a hole through your toenail! The laser is not strong enough to actually burn or cause pain, but is still strong enough to affect the fungus. Most patients report feeling only a warming sensation during a treatment.

A course of laser treatment typically consists of several sessions scheduled out over a few weeks to a few months, with the overall timetable depending on the severity of the fungal infection. Each session is short – typically around 20-30 minutes – and you can continue on with your day as normal without having to worry about preparations or aftercare.

Fungal Nail Treatments Beyond Laser

In some cases, depending on a patient’s best interests and needs, the use of laser therapy might not be recommended. In other (usually particularly severe) cases, treatments may be recommended in addition to laser.

As mentioned above, topical creams and ointments may be a potential recommendation. Another may be the use of oral antifungal medications.

These medications, taken by mouth, travel through the bloodstream to areas of fungal infection, essentially attacking fungus from the inside out. Oral medications can sometimes come with side effects, however – some of which may be harmful to patients with other conditions. Before ever recommending oral antifungals, we must ensure a patient is not at risk, and potentially conduct additional monitoring during treatment to confirm no harmful side effects are occurring.

Laser treatment has no risk of side effects, which is why it is much easier to recommend as a main or first course of action.

Keep Your Skin and Nails Clear

Whether fungal toenails have plagued you for years or you believe an infection is only within its early stages, there is no reason not to pursue proper treatment now. The longer you hold off, the more chance the fungus has to spread and become more deeply ingrained in your nails.

Remember, there is no instant solution to getting rid of the damage of fungal nails. You might be able to cover it up, but only natural growth of the nails after a full eradication of the fungus will provide a permanent solution.

So if you have a big event next week you want to show off your natural nails in, we’re afraid we can’t help you there – but we can help you achieve clear nails for all the future trips, parties, and other great memories you wish to make.

Schedule an appointment at our Chandler office by calling (480) 963-9000. You can also fill out our online contact form if you prefer to reach us electronically.

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