35 million people are estimated to have toenail fungus, including about 40% of adults over 45 years old. But it can affect people of all ages, even children. So if you are suffering with toenail fungus, you are not alone.
What causes toenail funugs?
Onychomycosis is the medical term for fungal nails. It is caused by fungus and yeast. Usually it is produced by the same fungus that causes athletes’ foot infection. Most of the people Dr. Rindlisbacher treats for nail fungus have a type of athletes’ foot and don’t even know it.
Nail fungus can cause some problems like pain, toe ulcers, and even occasional severe infections. Most often the nails become thick, difficult to cut, and embarrassing! One of Dr. Rindlisbacher’s patients said she wears socks all day and only takes them off while climbing into bed because she does not want anyone to see her feet, including her husband. Some people refuse to go on a cruise or a vacation to the beach because of the embarrassment they feel.
Onychomycosis can be hard to cure. In the past, doctors have tried topical paints and creams with a very minimal success rate, usually less than 6%. Oral medicines such as Lamisil and Sporanox have been used with much more success, perhaps as high as 50% to 60%. Oral antifungal medicine should only be taken under direction of your physician, and blood tests should be ordered during the treatment. If you have had prior liver concerns, you may not be a candidate for oral treatment as it could cause liver problems or other side-effects.
What can we do for your toenail fungus?
Probably the latest and most exciting development in treating fungal nails is the recent use of laser therapy. A few lasers are now even FDA approved for treating onychomycosis. Dr. Mark Rindlisbacher was the first physician in Alaska to begin using lasers to treat fungus of the toenails and he has now been treating patients with them for about five years. ”Dr. Mark” began using the Pin Pointe laser which was the first approved by the FDA to treat fungal nails, but now he uses the Q Clear laser. He believes this laser system to be more successful in treating onychomycosis and he has even been able to lower the cost. Success rates are still not 100% with the laser, more like 70% -75%, with improvement rates being much higher.