Nail fungus/Onychomycosis is an infection of Dermatophytic fungi of the nail, often asymptomatic. It is usually associated with Athlete's foot.
Onychomycosis most often infects the big toe. The infection looks similar to psoriasis or any trauma of the nail. If in doubt, there is a test called Periodic Acid Schiff (PAS) to confirm diagnosis. Approximately 70% of all cases are Trichophyton rubrum that lives in warm, moist environment (showers, saunas, swimming pools, hot tubs etc.). Dermatophytic fungi feeds on keratin of the nail.
It is quite common for the following to be infected with Onychomycosis:
- Elderly people (3 times as likely as their immune systems are weaker)
- Males (2 times more likely to become infected)
- Patients with Diabetes
- People who suffer from Hyperhydrosis (excessive sweating)
- Some vascular disease
- Athlete's foot
- Poor hygiene
- Any nail trauma
Nail(s) becomes thick, brittle and ragged. The color becomes darker, more dull and distorted in shape.
Prescription Oral Medications
- Lamisil and Sporanox, usually taken for 3 months and there are many possible side effects, the biggest are liver and kidney problems.
- Private insurance will only cover a percentage of the generic medicine. The average price for the generic medicine is $270.
- Frequent medical tests may be performed including liver function tests and complete blood cell counts. Medication cannot be repeated and fungus could also become less sensitive to this or any other medicines.
- Results are 50% clearance as the nail continues to grow-out which can take 12 months.
At home alternatives
- Lacquer applications must be used daily for 1year with only 10% results. It is more affordable, but not effective.
- For the last three years, Laser Genesis research has shown the FDA and Health Canada that 3 treatments of Laser Genesis done every 3 months has shown excellent results.
- Health Canada approved Laser Genesis 1064nm in 2011 for the treatment of Onychomycosis.
- Treatment time is 30minutes max. All toes will be treated; Big toe at 400-600pulses and the other toes at 100 pulses each.
- Laser Genesis Treatment cost is $600 for 3 treatments. For difficult cases, an additional treatment may be required in 12 months for $225.
- Results are 70-90% clearing of nail. Best results of any available treatment so far.
- Results at the base of the nail may be visible at 3 months after the first treatment. It can take 12 months for the nail to grow out and get total clearance of nail.
How it works
- The Laser is absorbed by the fungi, causing damage to the fungi before damaging human tissue.
- Thermal accumulation damages fungal proteins. It stimulates immune response.
- Patients experience minimal discomfort and there is no down time, no blood tests, no hepatotoxicity or renal failure.
If you suffer from Neuropathy, affecting your feet, Laser Genesis cannot be done.
- The area if infection must be clean
- Nail polish to be removed prior to treatment
- Nails must be cut as short as possible. Very thick nails need to be filed down, on the surface as well to make them thinner for greater laser absorption
- Clean white, cotton sock to be worn to treatment and one pair extra to bring for after treatment
- If you have Neuropathy, you are not able to have this treatment
- To help prevent infection from coming back you must follow a home care regime:
- Fungal cream or spray has to be used 2 times per day for 3 months
- Fungal powder for shoes has to be used 2 times per week for 3 months.
- Nail polish can be applied 24h after treatment
- Shoe sterilizer, "Steri Shoes" is an ultra violet device that can be used for making sure that there are no fungal spores surviving in your shoes. To be used for 45 min.
- If you do not use/purchase a "Steri Shoe", we advise that you dispose of any/all shoes that have come into contact with infected area(s)
- For patients with Hyperhidrosis, excessive sweating, Botox therapeutic can be done to help reduce sweating, hands or soles of feet
- You are able to exercise after the treatment, with socks and shoes never exposed to infected area(s)