Ask anyone suffering from a nail fungus infection and they’ll tell you that it takes a long time to get rid of the disorder. While it is not generally painful, having yellow, thickened, crumbling nails is embarrassing enough for you to want to hide your toes away in shoes and socks year round.
In most cases the fungus gets in under the overhanging tip of the nail (known as the distal edge of the nail) and spreads towards the cuticle. This form of nail fungus is known medically as Distal/Lateral Subungal Onychomycosis and is the most commonly seen manifestation of the disease. Once the fungus reaches the cuticle it becomes harder to reach, so it’s important for sufferers to start a treatment regime as soon as possible. Toenail fungus treatment in particular can take many months due to the thickness of the nails and the fact that toenails are slower growing than fingernails.
Most people treat the infection using topical treatments. Some of the most popular include Funginix, Zetaclear, Tineacide and Fungicure. While there have been reports of treatment success from using home remedies such as apple cider vinegar, tea tree oil for nail fungus, Vicks Vaporub and Listerine, most health professionals are quick to point out that these approaches are unproved. They may also be helping to reduce the nail discoloration (through bleaching for example) rather than getting rid of the actual fungus. Oral medications are also available but they come with a small risk of liver damage. Read more on nail fungus treatment.
So is it worth pinning hopes on laser toenail fungus treatment?
In theory laser treatment for toenail fungus is a seductive option. It is a painless procedure where a laser is passed over affected nails in a specific pattern so that it penetrates the nail layers to reach the fungus and destroy it.
On the downside using laser for nail fungus is an expensive treatment option – adding up to around $1,200 per nail -and is not covered by heath insurance. Repeated laser procedures are needed.
Although some studies have shown promising results, experts believe that more longer term clinical trials are needed. Laser treatment against nail fungus is certainly an area of research and development to watch.
But for now most sufferers will probably not want to take on the financial risk to pay for nail fungus laser treatment costs. It’s an evolving field so stay tuned for more developments.