Nail fungus, also known as onychomycosis, is a common fungal infection that affects the nails, particularly the toenails. It occurs when fungi, such as dermatophytes or yeasts, invade and multiply within the nails, leading to various symptoms and aesthetic changes. Nail fungus can be bothersome, causing discomfort, nail thickening, discoloration, and potential nail damage. It can also have a significant impact on self-esteem and confidence, especially when visible on the toenails. Understanding the causes, symptoms, and available treatment options for nail fungus is essential for effective management and promoting healthy nails.
Causes and Risk Factors
Nail fungus occurs when various types of fungi invade the nail. This can happen through small cuts in your skin around your nail or through the opening between your nail and nail bed.
- Aging: With age comes reduced blood flow, more years of exposure to fungi and slower growing nails.
- Sweating heavily: If you often have sweaty feet and hands or you wear socks and shoes without proper ventilation, this creates an environment for fungi to thrive.
- Having a history of athlete’s foot: Athlete’s foot between the toes spreads easily to the toenails.
Treatment Options for Nail Fungus
- Topical Antifungal Medications: Over-the-counter or prescription-strength antifungal creams, ointments, or nail lacquers can be applied directly to the affected nails. These medications work by inhibiting the growth of the fungus and gradually eliminating the infection. It is important to follow the application instructions and continue treatment for the recommended duration.
- Oral Antifungal Medications: In more severe or persistent cases of nail fungus, oral antifungal medications may be prescribed. These medications help to eliminate the infection from within the body. Oral antifungal treatment typically requires a course of several weeks or months and should be closely monitored by a healthcare professional due to potential side effects and interactions with other medications.
- Laser Therapy: Laser treatment involves using focused laser beams to penetrate the affected nail and target the underlying fungal infection. The laser energy helps destroy the fungus without causing damage to the surrounding healthy tissue. Multiple laser sessions may be required, and results can vary depending on the severity of the infection.
- Surgical Intervention: In cases where nail fungus is severe, causing pain, discomfort, or nail deformity, surgical options may be considered. This can involve partial or complete removal of the affected nail (nail avulsion) to allow for the application of antifungal medications directly to the nail bed. In some cases, permanent nail removal (nail matrixectomy) may be recommended.
- Combination Therapy: In certain situations, a combination of treatment approaches may be used for better outcomes. This can involve using both topical and oral antifungal medications, or combining oral antifungal therapy with laser treatment.
Laser Treatment by Oklahoma Foot & Ankle Associates
Laser treatment for nail fungus is an innovative and effective approach to combating stubborn fungal infections that affect the nails. This non-invasive procedure utilizes concentrated laser energy to target and destroy the fungus, promoting the growth of healthy nails.
During the treatment, the laser emits pulses of light that penetrate the nail and underlying tissue, without causing damage to the surrounding skin. The laser energy specifically targets the fungus, effectively eradicating it while leaving the healthy tissue unharmed. The procedure is generally painless, although some individuals may experience a mild warming or tingling sensation.
Laser treatment for nail fungus offers several advantages over traditional methods. It is quick, typically taking just a few minutes per affected nail, and requires no anesthesia. Additionally, there is no downtime, allowing patients to resume their daily activities immediately after the procedure.
In the hands of a skilled professional like Drs. Gordon Bean, Armando Carro, Steve Walker, and Scott Morris, at Oklahoma Foot & Ankle Associates with locations in Moore, Edmond, and Midwest City, they are here to help you step into better health. Contact them today at (405) 340-9251 (Edmond Office) / (405) 794-6691 (Moore/Midwest City Office) or visit their website to schedule an appointment.
Trust the team of Oklahoma Foot & Ankle Associates to provide the exceptional care and results you deserve. Don't let nail fungus hold you back—embrace the freedom of beautiful, fungus-free nails with laser treatment by Oklahoma Foot & Ankle Associates.