There’s not much to love about nail fungus, but advances in treatment make it possible to finally resolve the infection causing the issue. Dr. Williams of Lincoln Park Podiatry, with locations in the Lincoln Park and Lakeview communities of Chicago, achieve great results with the advanced PinPointe™ FootLaser™. Call today to make an appointment or use their patient-friendly online scheduling service.
Fungal nail infections occur when organisms (fungi) enter your toenails through small cracks and other vulnerable areas of the nail or nail bed. The fungi take up residence in and under the nail and create the brittleness and discoloration associated with fungal nails as they multiply.
Dermatophyte is the most common type of fungus infecting nails, but yeast and molds can also cause infections. Once you’ve developed a toenail fungal infection, it can spread from one nail to another.
Fungi are common in our environment, and anyone can develop fungal nails as a result, but certain factors can increase your risk of infection. These include:
In the past, treatments for fungal nails offered poor results because the topical medicines used to kill the fungus couldn’t penetrate the toenail and reach the nail bed where much of the fungi live. Newer treatments combine effective antifungal medicines with carrier oils that enhance penetration of the medication through the nail.
The most successful advance in fungal nail treatment is laser therapy delivered by the PinPointe™ Laser™ system. Dr. Williams heartily endorses this FDA-approved system because they find it much more successful than topical therapies and more effective and safer than oral medications. Each treatment takes about 10-15 minutes, is painless, and causes no harmful side effects.
The laser light passes through the toenail and kills the fungus without causing damage to the nail or the surrounding skin. You may feel mild warmth or a slight prickling sensation during the treatment, but most patients report no discomfort at all.
You won’t notice results instantly because it takes time for your new toenails to grow in and replace your discolored nails. For most patients, 3 treatments are typically enough to see significant results.
In addition to toenail fungus, there are various conditions that interfere with the shape and adhesion of the nail to the nail bed: such as split toenails, the nail lifting from the nail bed altogether, or the nail growing in peeling layers. In the context of toenail cosmesis, lifting of the nail can lead to unsightly “white spots” on the nail, usually at the tip of the nail that extends towards the base of the nail. Since this is not a fungal process this cannot be cleared with antifungals or laser therapy. However, if the nail remains unattached it greatly increases the chances of developing a fungal infection as well. In the past, the only treatment may have been to remove the nail altogether. Not anymore, Dr. Williams is one of few doctors in the Chicagoland area that can help permanently reattach the nail to the nail plate with non-surgical nail treatment/ nail bracing. The procedure is done in the office, it is painless, requires few follow-ups, and is very cost-effective.