Since Dr. Christopher Toth has joined our treatment staff several months ago, he has treated many patients successfully from a wide geographic area of Maine and New Hampshire for toenail fungus with the Pinpointe Laser technology. We have distributed much information about this technique through our website, newsletters, and this blog.
Many of you have asked some very interesting questions about the technology. In today’s update, I compiled them together into an FAQ that I will probably include in the Pinpointe section of this website very soon:
What are the signs that I might have a fungal infection in my toenails?
- Thickened nails
- Brittle or crumbly nails
- Distorted or abnormally shaped nails
- Nails that have become dull in color compared to other nails
- Darkened nails
- Nails that are lifting up or have debris building up underneath them
- Foul smelling nails
Is toenail fungus my fault?
Like many conditions, toenail fungus is never your fault. There are ways to prevent it, but it’s not something you acquire by irresponsible actions or anything to that nature.
Onychomycosis, which is the medical term for toenail fungus, is a very common foot condition and affects about 10-12% of the population over their lifetime. The fungus that gets under the nail and causes this infection is very small and thrives in warm and moist environments.
As a result, this infection is easy to pick up at public pools, showers, and gyms. If someone in your household has this condition, you can pick it up in your home shower or bathroom. Finally, and I warn women about this constantly, nail salons that don’t use proper disinfection techniques can transmit this fungus from one customer to another.
Are there any conditions that would make me prone to toenail fungus?
Yes. Diabetics have a much higher risk of developing fungal nails up to 34% and a much higher risk also of complications. Older age can also be a factor with up to 50% of those over 70 expected to develop fungal nails.
Can I prevent toenail fungus?
Wearing footwear such as flip-flops while using public pools, showers and gyms will help. Avoid soaking your feet in whirlpool basins as the fungus can hide and grow in this moist and warm environment.
Carefully select any nail salon you may go to for manicure and pedicure and inquire as to how they sanitize their tools. If they can demonstrate that they have appropriate disinfection procedures, go ahead; if not, walk away.
Do any of the treatments I can buy over-the-counter in the drugstore work?
Over-the-counter nail treatments applied directly to the nails can be challenging in that they have to be used for a long period of time (at least 12 months) and have limited success even if used for that time.