Are you embarrassed by your toenails?

By Dr. Shawn Echard

So, what makes my treatment unique?... I recommend a combination of the following with the use of the Hyperblue fungal toenail laser:

  • Oral anti-fungal medication

  • Topical anti-fungal medication

  • Topical anti-fungal cream for the skin

  • Anti-fungal spray for the shoes

The success rate of using some combination of these treatments can be as high as 95%. However, doing simply a topicals or orals as listed above simply don't produce the success that the laser does. Many patients feel home remedies like Vicks salve, tea tree oil, or clorox soaks work. They don't and can be very dangerous in certain patients especially those with diabetes. Being patient with the process is extremely important. It can take 12 to 24 months to realize a good result. Daily attention to the skin on the bottom of your feet, your shoes and your nails is necessary.

So, what causes fungal nails?

The fungus germ (dermatophyte) likes being in and under your nail therefore evicting this tenant isn't easy. Having our feet enclosed consistently makes the job that much more difficult. Genetics plays a major role. Even if you are extremely healthy your immune system might not be programmed to easily fight fungus. Those who have had chemotherapy are very susceptible to nail fungus. If your job or activity subjects your feet to certain environments such as public showers in health clubs, hotel rooms and certain nail salons can increase your risk of acquiring this germ. Wearing something on your feet in public places is your best defense. If you enjoy going to nail salons it's best to bring your own instruments ad please pick a reputable facility.

Another common cause of toenail fungus is an injury.

The nail seems to become more susceptible to germs when it has been injured. Something else that's extremely important to consider....Not all sick and discolored toenails are from fungus. Many of these types of nails are from the build up of a protein. We will typically take a sample of the nail and sometimes skin and send them to have it tested before we institute in treatment. We don't want to prescribe an antifungal regimen for a nail that doesn't have fungus. My office does not do the "let's see if this works" approach. Your time and out of pocket expense is important. Getting rid of toenail fungus is difficult enough but preventing a recurrence can be just as hard.

Our recommended protocol once the fungus is gone consists of:

  • Using an antifungal cream on the bottom of your feet at least three times a week.

  • Spraying your shoes especially after exercising with an antifungal spray.

  • Using an antifungal solution at the tip of your nail where it meets the skin on a daily basis.

If you have been hiding your feet because of unsightly nails, there is hope. Patience and persistence are necessary but perfectly clear nails are definitely possible. Imagine the confidence of being able to be barefoot or in sandals again this summer.

If so, you must start treatment soon!