Fungal Nails: Topical vs. Laser Treatment

Jul 10, 2019

Summer is finally here, and yet for many people there is really no reason to celebrate. Why? Simply put, because of unsightly toenail fungus!

And if you have been dealing with this issue, then you already know that thick, crumbling, yellowed looking toenails can be more than just embarrassing—they can be painful too.

Maybe you have tried some of the most popular at-home remedies you could find on the internet. Maybe you have been waiting for the problem to resolve itself, and yet the fungus seems to keep thriving.
Are you surprised? You shouldn’t be.
In fact, once the bacteria that causes nasty fungal toenail infections finds its way under the nail, it can be difficult to get rid of the problem. The environment they find under nails is a perfect breeding ground – moist, dark, and warm – and the fungus will fight to stay in its new home.

So what are you to do?

Well, ignoring the problem and hiding your toes from the world is definitely not the answer! Especially since there are plenty of treatment methods that can help eradicate this pesky condition once and for all.

However, you won’t find these effective remedies from “Dr. Google” or posted on your social media. (You’ve already tried those and found little to no relief for your symptoms, remember?)

When toenail fungus is threatening to ruin your summer, it’s time to come visit our Bloomington office so we can provide you with treatment methods that actually work. Many of our patients have seen great results from topical medications or laser therapy (or even both!).

So which treatment is best for you? Let’s take a closer look at what these measures entail, and how they can help you find clearer-looking nails before summer ends.

Topical vs. Laser Treatment

Get Rid of Toenail Fungus with Topical Medications

Topical medications are one of the more traditional and frequently prescribed treatments for toenail fungus. Often a brush-on lacquer is applied directly to the nail over the course of several months, though these remedies may also come in the forms of gels or sprays.

These medications usually work well for mild to moderate cases of toenail fungus, in which the infection has not yet spread to the nail’s growth center (also known as the matrix). But they only target certain types of fungi and are less able to treat infections that have become more severe or that are caused by fungi that are naturally more resistant to the medication.

In fact, research has shown that less than 12 percent of patients treated with topical remedies experience partial or complete relief from their symptoms. The medication may find it hard to penetrate the nail and get to the source of the problem, especially if the nail has become thick due to infection.

And because of this, we often combine topical solutions with other forms of antifungal therapy – like laser treatment.

Zap Toenail Fungus Away with Laser Therapy

Laser therapy for toenail fungus is a relatively new treatment that uses very specific light energy to kill the fungus at its source. This treatment method has been approved by the FDA and studies have determined this measure to the best treatment option for fungal nails with a success rate of up to 90 percent in clinical trials.

So if over-the-counter topical creams and medications (like the ones we talked about in the section above) have not been successful in removing your toenail fungus, there is no need to feel discouraged – laser treatment is a safe option that offers proven results.

Let’s take a look at some of its benefits:

  • Treatment sessions are quick. One treatment lasts about 15 minutes and we perform it right here at our office.
  • There is no need for a recovery period. Once the treatment session has been completed, you can walk right out of our office and resume your normal activities.
  • There are no known side effects. Though patients have reported a warming sensation at the area being treated, there are no side effects or pain associated with laser treatment.
  • Quicker results. Full results take about 6 to 9 months, but you will start to see the new nail grow out in about 3 months.

What’s more, laser therapy is more reliable than topical treatments – it is proven to actually work.

You should keep in mind, however, that once you receive laser treatment, following prevention instructions is vital to ensure that your nails do not become infected again. (You can find some great tips on how to do just that in our website.)

Topical vs. Laser – Which Treatment Should You Choose?

Well, there are some things you need to take into consideration, like:

  • How severe is the infection?
  • Have you tried using at-home remedies with no results?
  • Do you want clearer looking toenails as quickly as possible?

If you have answered yes to one or more of these questions, chances are laser therapy will be your best bet. We may even combine both treatments (topical medications and laser therapy) to help you accelerate the process and prevent the infection from returning again.

The only way to find out, though, is by coming to our office so we can take a closer look at your specific situation. No matter how long you have been dealing with this pesky problem – whether you just now noticed a yellow streak on your nail or if you have been trying to get rid of an infection for months – your best course of action is to seek professional advice and treatment.

So give our Heartland Foot & Ankle Associates office a call at (309) 661-9975 today to schedule an appointment, or simply use our online contact form to have one of our staff members reach out to you.