Onychomycosis (or Nail Fungus) Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment Options
Many medical conditions have rather complicated names that can be challenging to spell or pronounce; and while such terminology is very important to various medical personnel for purposes of clarity in providing the appropriate treatment and care, most people who are affected by those conditions simply want to know ‘what it is’ and ‘what can be done’ to rectify the matter.
One example would be the term onychomycosis (ŏn’ĭ-kō-mī-kō’sĭs). On first impression, it could be difficult to associate this word with a specific condition, and to further confuse the matter, some medical journals and professionals may alternatively refer to it as tinea unguium. However, defining this in layman’s terms can simplify it substantially – these are words used to describe fungal infections of the fingernails or toenails i.e.: fungal nail.
There are a number of causes for onychomycosis or fungal nail; these might consist of:
- Inadequate personal hygiene
- An overabundant use of nail polish
- Walking barefoot through public areas
- Direct contact with another infected person
- Nail care tools that are not properly disinfected
Onychomycosis symptoms can present in several different ways, including one/more of:
- Brittle/broken nails
- Thickening of the nail
- Discolouration of the nail
- A foul and unpleasant odor
- Toe pain when wearing shoes
- Scaly skin immediately next to the nail
Onychomycosis or nail fungus treatment options can include over-the-counter or topical agents but they will likely be less effective than prescription anti-fungal medications such as Lamisil, Sporanox, and Jublia. These latter types of nail fungus treatments help new nails grow back free of infection to replace the affected portions; however, this can be a slow process, often taking six to 12 weeks, and it can be quite expensive, especially for those who do not have medical insurance/coverage.
Genesis Health Light: Phototherapy for the Treatment of Toenail Fungus
Although onychomycosis can affect nails on the hands or feet, it is more commonly seen in a toenail. This is primarily due to the fact that the feet and toes spend more time in environments that promote bacteria or fungus growth i.e.: warm and moist socks/shoes.
In turn, this can be very uncomfortable if not outright painful, especially if the treatment period with prescription medication can take six weeks or more. Fortunately, there is an alternative toenail fungus treatment now available, phototherapy, a process that can be administered by the certified podiatrists from the Comfort Stride Foot Care Clinic.
This treatment process uses an instrument called a Genesis Health Light laser that yields near-infrared light; this range of the light spectrum provides the properties needed to treat fungus infections and restore health to the toenails. An overview of this procedure is as follows:
- Remove the dead or contaminated nail/skin
- Apply an anti-fungal agent to the affected area
- Treat the area using the laser light (four minutes)
- After-care using over-the-counter anti-fungal agents
- Repeat the laser treatment steps again in three weeks
Some of the specific treatment benefits of the Genesis Health Light laser are:
- Clinical effectiveness
- Safety (non-invasive therapy)
To ascertain whether phototherapy with the Genesis Health Light laser is the appropriate treatment option for their particular case of toenail fungus or onychomycosis, it would be best to consult with a foot care professional, such as a podiatrist from the Comfort Stride Foot Care Clinic.
For further information on the treatment of fungal nail by the team at Comfort Stride, go to our Eliminating Fungal Nail page.
If you are suffering from toenail fungus or onychomycosis that is not being relieved by any over-the-counter medication, Call the certified foot care professionals from Comfort Stride Foot Care Clinic today at 647-989-7794 or Contact us to book a consultation at your first convenience.