Come sandal season, we all want pretty feet. But the hot, humid months of summer not only get us out and sweating, they create the perfect growing conditions for toenail foot fungus that’s unsightly and hard to beat.
“Symptoms of foot fungus are nails that may be thickened, discolored, brittle or streaked with yellow,” says foot surgeon, Dr. Beau Shay, ORA Orthopedics.
“If you wear sweaty tennis shoes, swim in pools, or work out at the gym, you may be at risk for toenail fungal infections,” he explains.
Most fungal nail infections are caused by a group of fungi, yeasts, or molds.
These fungi live in the dead skin layer around, under, and on the nail bed itself.
“Nail infections can permanently damage nails, which can also make it difficult for people to wear shoes comfortably, enjoy their favorite sports, or even take a walk,” says Dr. Shay.
The fungus also can be embarrassing and uncomfortable, prompting sufferers to leave their favorite sandals or flip-flops in the closet all summer long.
Now, a new laser technology called PinPointe FootLaser™ can kill the fungus, and in many cases, allow the nail to grow out normally.
“Many patients cannot tolerate traditional anti-fungal drugs or their potential side effects,” says Dr. Shay. “Even the topical creams don’t always reach the infection effectively.
“The new procedure is quick, effective, and easy for me to perform. The laser is small and shaped like a pen. I treat each nail as it delivers invisible laser energy directly to the fungus causing the infection. The fungus absorbs the energy, which heats its pigment and damages or kills the organisms. Most patients feel a slight sensation of warmth from the heat generated during the procedure, and no anesthesia is needed. The entire treatment takes about 30 minutes right here at ORA,” Dr. Shay explains.
“Treating nail infections is a challenge because the infection lies under and inside of the nail. While there are often recurrences, the laser treatment can greatly improve the appearance of a patient’s feet, and in many cases, the nail will grow out healthy if the infection is thoroughly treated,” he says.
For the best results, Dr. Shay recommends at least 3 visits.
Dr. Shay says that while managing foot fungus is an ongoing process, the laser surgery offers new hope for those who are too embarrassed or uncomfortable to wear open-toed shoes or sandals. The treatment offers sufferers the opportunity to enjoy their summer footloose and fancy free.
Watch Dr. Shay perform this procedure for Let’s Move Quad Cities on WQAD-TV.