Do You Have Fungal Nails?
March 02, 2018
Submitted by Heartland Foot & Ankle Associates
Do you look down at your bare feet and see unsightly, ragged, thick, discolored, brittle nails? Or, maybe you just notice a white or yellow spot or streak that seems to spread? Unfortunately, this condition is caused by a fungal infection that will not go away without professional treatment. Further, it only worsens over time when left unaddressed. While you can hide your feet now while the weather is cold, sandal season is only a few months away.
Toenail fungus, also called onychomycosis, is a fairly common problem that can affect anyone exposed to a dermatophyte fungus. This particular kind of fungus is often found in warm, damp public places such as locker rooms, showering areas, and indoor pool decks.
The fungal spores are microscopic and invade the body through tiny openings in your skin from cuts or the separation between a nail and its nailbed. Once there, the offensive fungus feeds on tissue and starts to spread. This is especially true when feet are covered in socks, shoes, or boots on a frequent basis. Covered feet provide the warm, damp environment where fungus can thrive!
There are various kinds of conservative care for fungal toenails, with some being more effective than others. Since the fungus at least partially resides underneath the nails, topical medication isn’t always the most effective. Oral medication is delivered via the bloodstream and can kill off fungal spores living under toenails, but it may cause side effects and doesn’t always work for everyone.
Laser therapy is an outstanding option. It reaches fungal spores on the nailbed without damaging healthy tissue and doesn’t have any known side effects. Fungal toenail laser treatment uses focused, high-intensity beams of light to reach the infection site residing underneath the hard keratin — without having to surgically remove the nail or send medication through your bloodstream. The laser travels at a very specific wavelength to pass cleanly through your nail. The specific wavelength we use is chosen because it allows the laser to vaporize the offensive fungus without damaging your toenail or its respective nailbed.
This FDA-approved procedure is painless and completely safe. It takes roughly fifteen minutes, and most people experience only a slight warming sensation in their toes. The fungus is eradicated immediately and your body will start to produce healthy, clear, nail tissue. However, you should keep in mind that it takes time for new, fungal-free nail tissue to grow. This means sooner is definitely better than later if you want to have healthy, clear nails for sandal season.
If you’ve been putting off treating toenail fungus — or hoping it will go away by itself — remember that fungal infections are stubborn. If you want clear nails when they finally peek out from those thick socks, you better act fast! Spotting symptoms early allows you to get treatment at the onset, before the fungal infection spreads and becomes more difficult to eliminate.
For more information regarding any foot problem, please contact Dr. Lockwood at Heartland Foot and Ankle Associates, at 309-661-9975 or www.heartlandfootandankle.com. Their office is located at 10 Heartland Dr. in Bloomington.
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