It is one of the most common problems that walks into the office, even when it is not a patient's primary complaint. A patient will come into the office with heel pain and toenails that are fungal. It is kind of interesting because we will spend the whole visit talking about the heel pain and then at the very end of the visit the patient will say, "oh by the way, I have this thing on my toenail, what should I do for it?" This is not an easy quick response and I honestly can tell you that the nail problem is so much more complicated to treat than the plantar fasciitis or heel pain! The picture below on the left is the kind of toenail I am referring to. Explaining how to fix this takes a whole lot more time than how to get rid of heel pain!
The problem with having a thick, yellow or deformed nail is that they may not all be the same thing. Getting in and being evaluated by the podiatrist is a must. The nail may not be fungal it may be what we call a dystrophic with no fungal component. Which this means you could waste so much money trying to get rid of a fungus that you do not even have!
Treating the fungus can be difficult because the nails receive little blood circulation, and the nails take a long time to grow out. Previously treatment has included oral medication or lacquers which can be painted onto the nails. Risk factors for toenail fungus include participation in fitness activities, trauma, occlusive footwear, living in a warm climate, having diabetes, and a having family history of the condition.
Treating toenail fungus is not easy. There are a couple different ways you can try to treat your nail fungus. We will categorize them from most simple to most complex. It is best to see your podiatrist to see what is the best course of care for your fungus. Going to your podiatrist will also help you determine if what is happening to your toenails is actually nail fungus.
Everyday we see patients who have tried the over the counter topicals and even home remedies like Vicks VapoRub and Tea Tree Oil. Depending on the type of fungus you have some of these treatments can actually improve the appearance of a yellow or mildly infected toenail. For our patients that can not take medicine by mouth or can not afford the more advanced treatments, these are honestly not terrible options.
The FDA has approved a couple prescription topical antibiotics that we do prescribe in the office. Topicals in general, prescription or over the counter, do not have wildly successful rates. But we explain to patients that in certain types of fungus and patients these can work. We have seen some success with topicals in the right patient.
There are prescription medications that you can take by mouth to help clear a fungal infection in the toenail, but no 100% guarantee can be given. In our office we do prescribe oral antifungals, but make sure to explain risks and benefits. Some oral medications require bloodwork prior to taking and monitoring during its use.
In our experience, many patients do very well with oral antifungals and can get resolution of their fungus.
But with all the different treatment options we tried to impress to patients that it can take a very long time before the nail grows completely out.
How does the laser work? The PinPointe Laser kills the fungus that lives in and under the toenail. The laser light passes through the toenail without causing damage to the nail or the surrounding skin. At the time of the procedure, the toenail will not become instantly clear, it takes time to grow out!
We offer our laser for $100 per session, which is one session that takes about 15 minutes to perform. Patient do ask why the cost of our laser is not as expensive as other doctor's offices who use the same laser? Simply put the laser can be as simple as one treatment and then done. You wait a year or more to see the end product. But we believe that it is more challenging then just treating the nail fungus and patients often put themselves back in risky situations when it comes to toenail fungus.
Though we perform a comprehensive education on the nail fungus and prevention, many patient require multiple laser sessions before being fungus free. When you come into the Center for Ankle and Foot Care you can expect that the doctor will explain and give you written instructions on how to prevent nail fungus. It is common depending on the extent of your fungus to be given a prescription for a topical antifungal and in severe cases oral anti fungal in addition to the laser. We do everything to make the laser as effective as possible for you to keep the cost down and the result great! It is not uncommon to have anywhere from 2 to 8 treatments of the laser so we want patients to not break the bank with an expensive session fee that is just too high.
If you are suffering from nail fungus, don't wait until you have heel pain to start treating it, lol. Call the office today or make an appointment online today! Below are some examples of before and after treatments with the PinPointe Laser.