Have you noticed that your toe nails are not looking quite right? Are they perhaps a little yellow or thick or have they developed lines on the nail? You may be one of the millions who have developed onychomycosis or as it is commonly known, toe nail fungus.
Toe nail fungus is not fun. It is not very appealing. But if you have it, you have it. Unless, of course, you have thick toe nails instead. Thick toe nails are often confused with toes that have toe nail fungus. (For more information, see our post on Toe Nail Fungus VS Thick Toe Nails.
How could I have gotten toe nail fungus?
There are several ways that you could have contracted the infection. One way is going to public showers or locker rooms without shower shoes. The fungus loves the warm moist environment provided in locker rooms. Nail salons are another possible source of infection. If the utensils are not sterilized then the infection can be passed from one customer to another. Fungus loves a dark, moist place to live and grow. The inside of your shoes can be the perfect spot. This is especially true if you don’t wear socks that will wick away the moisture around your feet. This means that if you contract the infection in one toe, you can spread it to your other toes just by wearing your shoes.
Can’t I just ignore it and it will go away?
Trying to ignore toe nail fungus doesn’t work. In about half the people with toe nail fungus, their toe nails get very painful. When you get to the point where you are in pain, your treatment options are limited.
About 75 percent of the people with toe nail fungus are embarrassed to the point of hiding their feet. There is even a report about a bride who hid her feet on her honeymoon so that her new husband would not see her toes. Don’t let this happen to you.
How do I get rid of it?
There are three different courses of treatment for onychomycosis. (Latin for icky toe nails).
One treatment is to use a topical solution. Unfortunately, this does not work very well. In some instances, it can work but it takes a long time to see any results and the re-infection rate is high. The reason that it does not work well is that the nail bed is thick and hard to treat topically. Also, it is hard for patients to have the patience to keep up with the prolonged treatment. (Think applying the solution nightly for about a year before you may see any results.)
Another treatment method is the one that you may have seen advertised on TV. You know those commercials with the talking fungus creature. With this method, you first start with a blood test to make sure your liver is functioning well. Once we know that your liver is doing well, we can prescribe Lamisil or a drug like it. You take a pill once a day for three months. When you finish the pills, we will have you get another blood test to check your liver again. Oh, this method is not available for those under 18 or over 65. As with any medication, you can have adverse reactions to the pills. The pills are also very expensive. You may want to check out the cost before we think about this option.
The third option is the one that we are most excited about as a treatment for onychomycosis. We have established our own office protocol using the Pin Pointe Laser for treatment. Statistics show that over 70 percent of people treated just one time with the painless laser treatment experience improvement. Our protocol includes two treatments with the laser and that is just part of our method. We also include the use of the SteriShoe. (www.sterishoe.com) The SteriShoe disinfects your shoes. We will use it in the office on your shoes and then give it to you to take home so that you can use it on all your shoes. There are many other components to the treatment. We want you to have healthy toe nails and therefore we do everything possible to ensure success.
It is our goal to help you eliminate toe nail infection and any foot problem you may develop. We are thrilled about the effectiveness of our methods and would love to tell you all about it.
Don’t hide those toes any longer. Come in for a visit and we can discuss your options. If you want to take advantage of using your 2016 deductible, you need to call right away to get an appointment. You can then start the New Year off having made the first step toward improved foot health.