If you’ve noticed a change in your toenail’s texture, color, or a foul odor coming from the nail, you may have a fungal nail infection. A fungal nail infection also known as onychomycosis is a common foot ailment. At Pueblo Ankle & Foot Care, we are proud to offer a variety of treatment options for those with toenail fungus, including Aspen laser therapy.
What causes toenail fungus?
Toenail fungal infections develop when tiny, microscopic organisms known as fungi penetrate and infect the nail bed or plate of your toenails. While fungi are everywhere and sometimes can live on your skin without trouble, an overabundance of fungus can lead to infection. Often fungal infections occur when you spend a lot of time barefoot in humid, moist environments where fungi thrive such as spas, locker rooms, public showers, and gyms. Wearing tight footwear with thick socks may crowd toes into a moist space and increase your risk. Frequent trauma to nails as well as any history of medical conditions that may weaken your immune system may also raise your risk of infection.
Often developing slowly over time, it can take some time before the patient notices any severe symptoms. Fungal infections of the nail can vary on the type of fungi and where the infection begins, but symptoms are the same for most cases.
Common symptoms include:
- Debris build up underneath the nail
- Discoloration of part of the nail, typically yellow, brown, white, and/or green
- Distortion of the nail (lifting, curling, or loosening from the nail bed)
- Pain may not be present at first but will develop over time as the infection progresses untreated
- The nail may become brittle, crumble, or split
- Thickening or thinning of the nail
It is important to note that the infection can spread to other nails and even onto the skin.
Once a fungal infection has been determined, treatment can begin. However, it is important to note that treatments vary depending on the nature and severity of the infection.
We offer laser treatment using the state-of-the-art Aspen laser therapy system for patients diagnosed with fungal nail infections. Laser therapy is a fast, painless, and effective treatment method with no recovery period of side effects.
This lower wavelength laser increases oxygen levels in the skin, nail, and surrounding soft tissues, destroying the fungal cells and eliminating the infection. Instead of using heat to kill fungal cells, oxygen levels are raised to kill the fungus without causing patient discomfort. The laser also uses photo-inactivation to destroy the fungal cells by passing over the nail and affected area multiple times.
The number of treatment sessions necessary will be determined during your consultation. The average treatment plan consists of 3-6 sessions but will depend on the severity of the infection and the patient’s health.
As your nail grows out, the damage will slowly disappear. It is important to note it can take 6 to 12 months for the nail to grow out completely. We will monitor your nail’s growth to ensure treatment is successful.
For more information on fungal nail infections or to schedule an appointment, contact our office today.