Fungal nail infections are a frustrating problem that leaves approximately one in ten Australians feeling disheartened every time they look down at their feet. While it’s easy to ignore the problem during the winter months while keeping our feet constantly wrapped up in shoes and socks, this beaming summer weather means that those fungal nails are now difficult to ignore.
While some resort to continuously painting their nails to hide the problem, this doesn’t address the issue – it simply buys the fungus time to continue to spread throughout the nail. When the polish comes off, the appearance of the nail may have worsened and the infection may be more difficult to treat, with a severe infection being more challenging to successfully treat compared to nails that only have superficial white fungal spots or streaks that show up at the very start of the nail infection.
Nail Fungus: The “#1 Enemy” Of The Podiatrist
With pharmacy creams and lacquers leaving many Australians disappointed with cure rates of as low as 6% to 9% and oral medications, while showing higher cure rates of between 13% and 38%, being deemed unsuitable for some due to the risk of side effects, podiatrists worldwide had struggled to find a simple and effective fungal nail treatment to recommend to their patients – until laser treatment became available.
Now, laser is the #1 treatment for nail fungus because of its superior effectiveness compared to the alternative treatments, with cure rates of between 63% and 86%, and even higher patient satisfaction rates. Here’s how you can use laser treatment to get clear and healthy-looking nails this summer.
How Does Laser Get Rid Of Fungal Nail Infections?
Laser treatment works by acting directly on the fungus that is living on, in and around the toenails. Unlike creams and lacquers that can’t penetrate beneath the surface of the nail, so never reach the ‘hidden’ fungal cells that then multiply and keep growing, laser treatment targets the entire nail plate and all the fungal cells. Once the fungus is destroyed, the nail can finally grow out healthy and clear without the fungus spreading and infecting the newly grown nail. The precise way that the laser works differs depending on whether a hot or a cold laser is used:
Hot laser works by heating the nail plate which damages the living fungal cells. This treatment is performed by your podiatrist who carefully moves the laser over the entirety of the nail. The nail is heated to a precise level – hot enough to damage the fungal cells, but not hot enough to cause any pain or burns. Before the treatment, the nails go through a preparation process where any excess nail thickness, length and fungal debris are removed using a burr to optimise the effectiveness of the treatment.
Cold laser uses two ‘cool’ laser beams together to damage the fungal cells and stimulate the body to clear the fungus. The laser is able to stay heat-free because the specific wavelengths used stay low – 635nm and 405nm – compared to the 1064nm hot laser. Combining these two effects has proven very successful, with nail clearance rates for cold laser being just as high as for hot laser. Unlike the hot laser, cold laser is automatically performed by the laser-generating device and supervised by your podiatrist. The nail is also prepared in the same way as the hot laser before starting the treatment.
Keeping Your Fungal Nail Infection Gone For Good
A major problem with fungal nail infections is how quickly they can spread, and how easily the nail can become reinfected if the right steps aren’t taken. Fungus thrives in dark, moist and warm environments, meaning that your socks, shoes, bedsheets and bathroom floors may be prime areas for reinfection, or to spread to other family members.
As part of your laser treatment with My FootDr, we teach you how to properly disinfect the surfaces and areas that fungal spores may be lingering. This is one of our keys to preventing reinfection and keeping the fungus gone for good.
Treat The Fungus Before It Spreads – Or Gets Worse
Summer is the perfect time to start treating your toenail fungus. Just like how dark and moist environments help fungus grow – like when we wear closed shoes and socks through the winter – summer sandals and bare feet are the perfect time to start treating your nail infection while your toes can air out. The sooner you treat the fungus, the faster you can stop it in its tracks before it gets worse – with your nails growing more discoloured, brittle, flaky or thick.
If you’re worried about the appearance of your nails as they grow out after treatment, we’re pleased to be able to restore the appearance of your nails in one appointment using Keryflex. This creates a natural and healthy looking appearance that doesn’t cause any damage to your own nail beneath, staying strong but flexible and breathable. The new nail also has antifungal properties and can be painted – it’s completely insoluble to acetone, nail polishes and detergents. Cosmetic nail restoration is also performed by our trained and qualified podiatrists.
Ready For Healthy, Clear Nails?
If you’re ready to take back control of your nail health, your local My FootDr team is here to help. We’ll start with an assessment of your nails to confirm that it is a fungal nail infection you’re battling with and not a different condition that has similar symptoms. From there, we’ll fill you in on everything you need to know about the laser, ensuring that it’s the best treatment for you. Then it’s time to start your journey to clear, healthy nails you can show off!
Book your appointment with our experienced podiatry team by calling us on 1800 FOOT DR or book your appointment online.