If you've have toenail fungus for a while, you likely know how difficult it is to treat. Topical medications can be ineffective and oral medications are slow to work and the condition often returns after the round of anti-fungal medication is completed. The foot doctors at Tampa Bay Podiatry in Clearwater and Tampa, FL - Dr. Fred Kussel, Dr. Naomi Marsh and Dr. Kristina Kuba - are very familiar with the frustration surrounding toenail fungus as well, which is why they are pleased to offer laser treatments as an efficient way of eliminating toenail fungus. Here's how it works:
Why is toenail fungus difficult to treat?
Because the fungus colonizes in the area of the nail where new growth takes place, treatment is long-term and dependent on clearing the entire infection from the nail. If the fungus remains, the infection will return. However, your Tampa Bay podiatrist cautions that typical treatments come with their own problems: one of the most effective oral medications, which works by killing the fungus instead of slowing its growth, is associated with unpleasant side effects like stomach upset, rashes and (less commonly) liver damage. Since it has to be taken for several months, the frequent monitoring that is required throughout the process is inconvenient for most patients. Topical medications, which you "paint" on the affected nails, are usually reserved for mild cases of fungus. Since the fungus can actively live on instruments like nail files and clippers, strict hygiene has to be practiced to avoid passing it to others or reinfecting yourself. All of these factors make toenail fungus a frustrating condition that has a high rate of recurrence.
How does laser treatment for toenail fungus work?
The lasers used at Tampa Bay Podiatry work by heating the fungus to a degree where it can no longer survive, which allows new, healthy nails to grow unimpeded. Unlike surgery, laser treatments from your Clearwater and Tampa podiatrist target specific areas - the ones affected by fungus - while leaving the healthy spots surrounding them intact.
If you'd like to learn more about treating your stubborn toenail fungus with laser, we encourage you to contact Tampa Bay Podiatry in Clearwater and Tampa, FL to set up an appointment with one of our skilled podiatrists.