Onychomycosis, the medical name for a fungal infection, is most commonly used for toenail fungus. This type of nail disease can cause the toe nail to thicken, get discolored and grow very brittle. Most commonly, toe nail infections are caused by the dermatophyte fungi called the Trichophyton rubrum, although they can be caused by molds and yeasts, as well.
Toenail fungus can be caused by a variety of factors, including unsanitary equipment used in nail salons, where multiple people are given manicures or pedicures with the same tools. Preventative care for avoiding toe fungus can include wearing flip flops in community areas with a lot of moisture, such as swimming pools and public locker rooms. Patrons can research the nail salons they want to go to before they take the risk of getting a fungal infection.
People that are concerned with preventing a fungal infection can also avoid sharing emery boards, nail clippers and nail files with others. People can also avoid wearing shoes and socks that are instrumental in holding moisture. When working in a moist or humid environment, a change of socks can be of great benefit. Also, if a person sustains an injury around a nail, cleaning that injury as soon as possible can help avoid onychomycosis.
Sometimes, getting a nail fungus is a matter of age. Studies have shown that adults over 40 are at higher risk of infection. Also, people with AIDS, diabetes, cancer or weak blood circulation can be susceptible to these types of infections.
Toenail fungus infections can be unsightly and cause discomfort, but it is a condition that is treatable. There are several different types of treatment, including topical and oral treatments. However, the most popular treatment for toenail fungus is laser treatment that has a success rate of about 80%.
In laser treatment, the infected area is treated with a light that kills the fungi. Since it is a laser, the light can penetrate the nail without doing any damage to the nail, or to the surrounding tissue. The laser acts as a fungicide without requiring the use of any topical or oral creams or pills.
During the laser treatment, a doctor may do debridement on the infected nail. Debridement is the process of filing the surface of the nail, to aid in the laser’s penetration. During the laser treatment process, patients have reported feeling a warm sensation and mild pinpricks. These sensations are just a sign that the laser treatment is working.
During a visit, the doctor will use the laser to treat an infected nail twice, and as a precaution, any uninfected nails will be treated once. It is common for nail infections to be treated in as little as one visit. However, if more than one treatment is necessary, the laser treatment is safe enough to be used on multiple occasions. There are no known side effects to laser treatments.
They are so safe that women are able to go home and paint their nails afterwards. Laser treatments are faster and more effective than other fungal infections for nails.
If you live in or near Western North Carolina, check out this Podiatrist in Asheville NC. He is very experienced in treating toenail fungus with a laser.