Fungal Nails and Laser Treatment
Fungal infections can affect both the skin and nails, particularly in a warm, dark and moist environment, and on the skin we commonly know it as “Athlete’s foot”.
Its medical name is Tinea Pedis, and it can cause red and itchy skin anywhere from between the toes to the bottom of the foot. Sometimes we will have athlete’s foot without having any symptoms. If athlete’s foot is left untreated, it can start to affect the nail leading to a discoloured, thickened and crumbly nail.
Fungal infections themselves are not serious but can be unsightly and cause secondary problems. When the nail gets infected it can become thickened and uncomfortable leading to excessive pressure on the nail. It will often become difficult to cut.
Who is at risk of getting a fungal infection?
- Increasing age
- Those with circulatory issues
- Diabetes and immunosuppressive conditions
- Sweaty feet
- Increased prevalence in males
- Sharing of towels, socks and shoes
How can a podiatrist help?
We are able to assess and diagnose if you have a fungal infection, affecting your skin and/or nails. We will have a discussion with you where we will assess your individual needs and what treatment options may suit you best. Not all treatments are suitable for everyone, it depends on the severity of the condition and other medical conditions. There are several options which the podiatrists will explain in more detail, these include:
- Topical antifungals for both the nails and the skin
- Laser treatment
- Systemic Medication
What is laser treatment?
Fungal nail infections have been found to affect up to 8% of the population. Laser treatment is used for fungal infections and works through pulses of light energy to heat the tissues to a high temperature with the ultimate effect being to destroy the pathogens.
It is a safe and effective treatment with research showing up to 63% success rate.
This treatment is best found to work alongside a topical treatment.
Do I need a course of treatment?
Yes, this is often not a one off treatment. It requires a course of treatment. This depends on the amount of damage to the nail. It will completed every 3-6 weeks alongside topical treatment and relies on your nail growth. It can be a slow process but very often a good improvement is seen in most nails. At your first appointment if you are happy the podiatrist will take written consent for photography. This allows us to track your progress at each appointment.
Can I get reinfected?
Yes, you can. Our podiatrists will be able to advise you on many different ways that you can prevent re-infection. This will all be discussed in detail at your appointment.