Toe nail fungus, or onychomycosis, is an infection underneath the surface of the nail caused by fungi. When the tiny organisms take hold, the nail often becomes brittle, yellow in colour, and overall thickening of the nail begins. Debris may collect beneath the nail plate, white marks frequently appear on the nail plate, and the infection is capable of spreading to other toenails or fingernails. The resulting thicker nails are difficult to trim and can make walking painful when wearing shoes. Because it is difficult to avoid contact with microscopic organisms like fungi, the toenails are especially vulnerable around damp areas where you are likely to be walking barefoot, such as swimming pools, locker rooms, and showers, for example. Injury to the nail bed may make it more susceptible to all types of infection, including a toe nail fungus infection. Those who suffer from chronic diseases, such as diabetes, circulatory problems, or immune-deficiency conditions, are especially prone to fungal nails. Other contributing factors may be a history of athlete’s foot and excessive perspiration.
Toenail fungus is often ignored because the infection can be present for years without causing any pain. The disease is characterized by a progressive change in a toenail’s quality and colour, which is often embarrassing. You may suffer from nail fungus if you have one or more of the following symptoms:
- Thickened nail
- Brittle, crumbly or ragged nail
- Distorted in shape or separated
- Dull, with no luster or shine
- A dark colour, caused by debris building up under nail
Treatments may vary, depending on the nature and severity of the infection. Until recently, sufferers of onychomycosis had few options for successfully treating this embarrassing condition. At Dermaworks, we offer PinPointe Laser treatments to successfully kill the fungi under the nail bed. PinPointe laser is Health Canada approved for the treatment of toe nail fungus, is safe to use and will not damage the nail, or the skin surrounding it. The procedure its self is not painful, though some clients do report feeling a warm sensation during treatment. Immediately following the procedure your nail may feel warm for a few minutes. Over the coming weeks and months, your nail should begin to grow out clear of any fungus and you will begin to see new healthy nail. Onychomycosis may slow the growth of your nail, so result times will vary. How many treatments you will need will depend on the severity of the fungus, though a minimum of two treatments are needed.
The infection improves following one treatment but you will need to continue with home care techniques to reduce recurrence of the infection. There is a chance of re-infection because the fungus is present everywhere in the environment. For more information on this procedure, contact us today to book your consultation.