Nailing fungus with laser technology
Fungal nail infection can be unsightly and embarrassing. Not only can it cause the nail to thicken and turn a yucky yellow-brown colour, it can also lead to a nasty smell for some people. The other downside (Yes, there’s more!) is that fungal nail infection is notoriously hard to treat…until now!
If you have a fungal nail infection, you’re certainly not alone. It’s incredibly common and as a result people are willing to do anything to fight it. From drinking apple cider vinegar and applying Vicks VapoRub to slathering the toenail in tea tree oil, there’s a stack of weird and wonderful myths about treating fungal nail. Of course, none of them work.
Podiatrist Dr. Brenden Brown from Sydney-based clinic A Step Ahead Foot + Ankle Care explains, “Even over-the-counter treatments have a low success rate because of the side effects or the fact that the treatment takes months, even years—leading to poor adherence.”
The other important factor to consider when choosing a treatment for fungal nail infection is that fungus lives under the nail. If treatment doesn’t penetrate the nail (as is the case with ointments, lacquers and drops) it’s unlikely to kill the fungus.
This is where laser treatment comes in. Thanks to the wonder of science, laser has shown to be highly successful in treating fungal nail infection. Oversees studies have shown success rates as high as 80%*.
The lowdown on laser
Laser treatment works in the following way:
- Laser light passes through the nail plate into the nail bed
- The light is absorbed into the fungi
- The heat from the light kills both the fungi and the spores
A Step Ahead has been using laser for more than four years with amazing results. Although, not all laser treatments are equal.
Podiatrist Dr. Ryan Romero says, “Some clinics only treat the infected nail but we treat every single nail. We do this because the evidence shows that although you might not see the fungus in other nails, it’s 100% likely the fungal spores are there. Treating just one toenail almost guarantees failure. We treat all 10 toes and that’s why we’re seeing such fantastic results.”
Benefits of laser treatment for fungal nail
- Highly effective with high success rates reported
- Kills nail fungus in as little as two or three sessions
- No anaesthetic required
- No medication required
- Faster and more effective than topical ointments
- Minimal discomfort (just a warm sensation on application)
- No known side effects
“We see many people who have tried laser therapy elsewhere but haven’t got the results they wanted,” says Dr. Brenden. “There are many reasons for this but it shouldn’t put them off laser treatment all together.”
The right treatment and advice for fungal nail
A fungal nail infection is a lot like a tummy bug; it can be passed on to family members quite easily, so it’s important to do everything it takes not to share it and to prevent re-infection.
A vital part of treating fungal nail infection is finding the cause. Fungal spores live everywhere; in the carpet, in your shoes, in your socks— so it’s important that all of these areas are treated, not just the toenail and surrounding area.
A Step Ahead ensures all its patients are armed with the right take-home advice to banish rogue fungi spores and keep fungal nail infection at bay for good.
If you’re losing the fight against toenail fungus, let us nail it with laser!
A Step Ahead Foot + Ankle Care is based in Western Sydney. We have multiple practitioners with loads of experience treating fungal nail infection!
If you’d like more information please contact our helpful front desk team. They are brilliant at working through what help you need, guiding you to the appointment that is right for you or your family, running through cost and then reserving your appointment time. Call us today on +61 2 9673 2987 we look forward to helping.
Got a question about fungal nail or any other foot or ankle concern? Visit us on instagram #AskDrFoot or check us out on Facebook.
Beating fungal nail infection this beach season
How to treat and prevent fungal nail
* No medical treatment can guarantee 100% success. Registered medical and health professions in Australia are by law not allowed to guarantee success. This comes as a result of all human bodies reacting differently to treatments. Patients should thoroughly consider all treatment options available to them.
How to treat and prevent fungal nail infections
Fungal nail infection (also called onychomycosis) is responsible for approximately 50% of all nail disease and in western countries it appears to be on the rise* due to our ageing populations and lifestyle changes.
If you suspect you have a fungal nail infection there are many treatments available—although success rates vary greatly.
Treating fungal nail
“Typically fungal nail infection won’t go away without treatment; this can include over-the-counter topical antifungal creams and ointments, prescribed oral antifungal pills, laser treatment, or, in severe cases, surgical nail removal,” says Dr Brenden, principle podiatrist and owner at A Step Ahead Foot + Ankle Care.
“The biggest problem with topical antifungal agents is that they’re often ineffective, while oral terbinafine—despite being considered a ‘first-line’ treatment—requires strict adherence for 12 weeks.”
In recent years laser technology has emerged as an effective method of treating fungal nail infections. Performed by your local podiatrist, laser allows light to pass through the nail into the nail bed, effectively treating the infection at its source.
The heat from the laser kills both fungi and spores. Providing every nail is treated (which is what we recommend), the likelihood of success is high.
Preventing fungal nail from striking
“Fungal nail infection is much like a tummy bug; it can be passed on to others you come into contact with, particularly family members. As such, it really does pay to know how to protect against fungal infection,” says Dr Brenden (A.k.a Dr Foot)
The following steps can help keep your feet and nails fungus free:
- Avoid public showers. If you must use a community shower—wear thongs
- Boil your socks. Fungi thrive in warm, moist environment (Hello sports socks!) but they can’t survive extremely high temperatures. Boil your socks regularly, for at least 10 minutes, to kill off any hidden fungi spores.
- Keep feet clean and dry. In between sweaty toes is the ideal habitat for infuriating fungi. Stop fungal infection for striking by keeping feet clean and dry. If you’re prone to sweaty feet, try an antifungal foot powder, spray the soles of your feet with antiperspirant and don’t forget to change your socks daily.
- Don’t share nail clippers. Sharing is caring but not when it comes to fungal nail infection. Be vigilant at the nail salon; ensure the nail tools they use have been sterilised.
We treat several people a day for fungal nail infections. If we can help you please let us know! You can contact us through our helpful front desk team. They speak to multiple patients a day with this condition. They can run you through our process and costings and reserve an appointment time that suits you best. Our number is +61 2 9673 2987 we would LOVE to help.
Medical clinics + other podiatry clinics
If you are one of the many Podiatry / Medical clinics that follow my posts please read the details in my clinic websites, I am currently developing a course for practitioners interested in learning more effective and efficient ways of treating nail fungus. If you follow our posts we will announce this as it occurs or simply send us a message and our office will save your details. We look forward to helping you as well! Our number is 02 9673 2987. Hope to chat soon.
Want to know more about fungal nail infection?
Check out fungalnaildoctor.com.au
See what Dr Brenden has to say on the topic of fungal nails and laser therapy via his Facebook Live session
Clue up on our top 5 tips for fungus-free feet
Discover how Tanya beat fungal nail infection
* Thomas J, et al. Toenail onychomycosis: an important global disease burden. J Clin Pharm Ther 2010;35(5):497-519.