Toenail fungus is a condition where a fungal infection is present in or under a patient’s toenails. The fungus causes the toenails to become thick and yellowed. The fungus can also cause the toenail to grow abnormally, which can result in discomfort or ingrowing nails. Athletes are more vulnerable to fungal toenails because they use communal showers at training facilities and because their feet are continually kept in tight, sweaty shoes. People with a compromised immune system are also more vulnerable to fungal infections in the toenails.
Toenail fungus develops when the toenails have been in moist or wet environments and did not receive proper care to clean and dry the toes afterwards. For instance, areas such as communal showers and public swimming pools can often be a breeding ground for fungus. The fungus gains entry at the tip of the nail, where it separates from the skin, and develops there. Most often, the infection is caused by the bacteria trichophyton.
Traditionally, fungal toenails are treated with a combination of oral medications and topical creams and gels the condition is a bit more serious oral medications are used because they have proven to be very effective. The most commonly prescribed medication, which has been effective is Lamisil otherwise known as terbinafine. However, National Foot & Ankle Center offers innovative laser treatments to destroy the fungus and restore the toenails to health. Photodynamic therapy or laser therapy has also shown to be an effective treatment and uses the application of a special light-activated agent or uses a laser to target the affected tissue without damaging the healthy skin. Laser treatment provides quicker resolution of the fungal infection, typically in between 1 and 4 treatments, depending on the severity of the fungal infection. National Foot & Ankle Center provides customized treatment plans for each patient to address his or her specific needs.