As an adolescent, I loved participating in sports and as the summers would approach, I would start counting days before I could dip into the pool. But, at the same time, I would dread both taking part in the sports or walking barefoot around the pool. My problem? I was embarrassed by my toes if you could imagine!
But, maybe it was a premonition, 10 years on I got toe fungus infection. All over. It was pesky, it kept spreading, and it made my toes look ugly. I tried more or less everything. I was never too compliant with the treatment and was really afraid of taking any oral anti-fungal medications because I learned they have harmful side effects.
I was about to give up and accept that I was to wrestle with the fungal toe infection for the rest of my life. Open sandals ended in the back of my closet. I was even looking to find any kind of special socks you could wear around the pool so that I could hide my shame. But then I hear about another treatment option – zapping the fungus away with a surgical laser.
What is fungal nail infection?
Before telling you more about this treatment, I should let you know a bit more about a toe fungus. A fungal nail infection occurs when a fungus attacks a fingernail, a toenail or a nail bed, which is the skin under the nail itself. Multiple fungi are able to penetrate your nails through small cuts in the skin around the nail or through the opening between your nail and nail bed.
While the fingernails can be affected, these nail infections are more common in toenails. The reason for that is that toenails grow much slower than fingernails, which gives the fungi time to develop and spread. At the same time, any treatment of toenails takes more time that it takes to treat fingernails.
Unfortunately, there are quite a few kinds of fungi that can cause fungal infections, and they include yeasts molds and anything else that causes jock itch, athlete’s foot, and ringworm. The warmer the weather conditions are, chances of attracting a fungal infection grow. Getting older doesn’t help either, as the chances of getting infected are greater.
The possibilities of catching a fungal infection rise if you walk barefoot in public showers or around swimming pools. You can also catch it from sharing personal items, such as towels or nail clippers.
Laser treatment – how well did it work?
Then, like a shot of light in the dark, I learned about laser treatment. It uses Lumenis Acupulse, and FDA approved surgical laser. It literally shoots a beam of intense light on the nail several times to heat the nail bed. The goal is to heat the nail bed enough so that the intensity of the heat would eradicate the fungus. Initially, I was afraid this procedure might hurt, but it turned out it didn’t. What you do feel is the nail bed heating up, but it is a heat you can tolerate. Of course, if by accident the laser nips your tissue around the nail, it can hurt, but that pain disappears in a microsecond.
One of the pleasant surprises is that the treatment is very brief. It takes about 10 minutes to treat both feet. The other is that after two treatments I had so far, the results are already visible and I’m loving it!
There is a downside though that you should have in mind – you have to be patient. After the first treatment, it is necessary to allow the infected nail to grow out and let the healthy nails grow, and that does take time as toenails are the slowest nails to grow. It takes the entire nail 5-6 to six months to grow out completely. The treatments themselves are recommended every 6-7 weeks.
Seeing the results so far, I can’t wait for my third treatment, which is due in the next few weeks. I guess it is time to retrieve those Havana sandals lying in the back of my closet and get them ready!