Fungal Toenails: The Facts and Treatment Options

Onychomycosis (fungal toenails) Facts

  1. Onychomycosis affects approximately five to fifteen percent of the U.S. Population
  2. There is a high incidence of fungal toenails in the elderly, with almost 50 percent of patients over 70 years old being infected.
  3. Patients with diabetes are four to five times more likely to have onychomycosis than those without diabetes.
  4. Patients with diabetes who have fungal toe nails have a significantly higher incidence of foot ulceration and foot gangrene than those without onychomycosis.
  5. The average podiatric physician sees approximately 160 patients per month with this condition. 6. In 2006 Medicare spent over $330 million just on debridement of fungal toenails by podiatrists.

Dr. Lynn Drake MD Dermatologist’s view on Reasons why onychomycosis is not a cosmetic problem.

  1. Forty-eight percent of patients with onychomycosis had pain.
  2. Thirty-eight percent had difficulty wearing shoes.
  3. Seventy-four percent were embarrassed by their nails leading to secondary issues like fear of intimacy and fear of contagion.
  4. Forty percent related pressure from their nails.
  5. During a six month period of time, 1.8 medical visits per patient for treatment of this disease were required.

The aforementioned text is an excerpt of Dr. Warren Joseph’s textbook titled “Lower Extremity Infections”.

At Advanced Podiatry we utilize the following protocol to help eradicate toe nail fungus.

  1. Diowave Laser – Utilizes laser to biologically inactivate the fungus that is present on your nail. The technician applies laser therapy to the nails for approximately 1 minute per affected nail. During this time the laser frequency is such that it deactivates any activity of the fungus.
  2. We employ topical nail solution and topical cream for the skin of the foot as well. The reason why we use topical creams for the foot is because there is an 85% incidence of athlete’s foot in conjunction with the fungal toenails. If we do not treat this skin fungus then there is a high possibility of reinfection of the nail due to the skin fungus.
  3. We also utilize an anti-fungal spray to help decrease any fungus in your shoes. Within your shoes bacteria and fungus are waiting for a chance to re-infect your skin and nails therefore the spray helps to reduce this risk of reinfection.
  4. If the patient is healthy and willing we can also utilize oral anti-fungal medications such as terbinafine for treatment of both the skin and nails. Typically when we do utilize this therapy we minimize over exposure to the drug by limiting the amount you take to a total of 28 pills over the course of a year.
  5. During the visit the technician also decreases the thickness of the nail by using a burr to sand down the nails if needed. This mechanical debridement also helps the topical medication penetrate through the nail plate and down to the nail bed

With these 5 treatment methods we achieve a seventy to eighty five percent effectiveness when treating your fungal toenails.

Please call today to make your appointment.

Best Regards,

Dr. Jairo Cruz Jr