During the treatment, a DeLoor Podiatry staff member directs a laser at any fungal infections lurking beneath the toenails.
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Laser Toenail Fungus-Removal Session
Lasers can be a great option for hard-to-treat nail fungus. Learn why they’re effective with Groupon’s guide to laser nail-fungus removal.
Deep cracks, ragged bumps, a yellowish hue—these are the signs of nail fungus, and they can’t be fixed by a mani-pedi. Although most of the 2–13% of North Americans dealing with nail fungus seek treatment for cosmetic reasons, over time, the affected area can become quite painful. Until 2010, the only treatments available were topical solutions, which had a poor success rate, and oral medications, which carried a slight risk of liver damage. Finally, the medical-laser boom began to take aim at podiatry, and today, several companies make machines that incinerate fungus with beams of laser light. The fungus absorbs the laser’s destructive energy at a much faster rate than the surrounding tissue, making the risk of treatment slight to nonexistent. The affected nail cannot be restored, but if the treatment has worked, the patient will begin to see results as the new, clear nail grows in.
Even when the treatment works completely, it’s impossible to guarantee the fungus will stay gone. The disease (which bears the appropriately ugly medical name of onychomycosis) makes its way deep under the nail where it can’t be easily scrubbed away, and reinfection may occur the next time a toe picks up a spore of fungus.
Why are toenails so much more prone to infection than fingernails? The explanation is fairly simple: feet spend their days stuck in the damp, rarely cleaned insides of shoes, where bacteria thrive. And going barefoot can pose its own dangers—the same conditions crop up in damp public places such as swimming pools, locker rooms, and the fountain that gets the best coins thrown into it.