Toenail fungus, known medically as onychomycosis, is a common infection that affects many people. It is caused by fungi that get under the toenails due to damp, warm environments. If left untreated, the fungal infection can become painful and unsightly, and may even lead to more serious infections.
The good news is that with modern treatments, most cases of fungal toenails can be controlled or eliminated altogether. At the Sussex Foot Centre, we specialise in foot health, with a wide range of podiatry and chiropody services to treat problems affecting the feet and lower limbs. Having invested in state-of-the-art equipment for the benefit of our patients, we are delighted to report that we’ve succeeded in achieving some fantastic results with our Lunula Laser treatment for fungal nails.
Who is most at risk from getting nail fungus?
Toenail fungus can affect anyone, but some people are more at risk than others. Here are some of the main risk factors:
- Older adults – Unfortunately, fungal nails become more common with age. This is due to reduced blood circulation, longer exposure to fungi, and slower nail growth as we get older.
- People with diabetes or circulation problems – Medical conditions that impair blood flow put you at higher risk of onychomycosis, since it hinders the body from fighting the infection off well.
- Sweaty feet or shoes – Feet that are frequently hot and sweaty create the perfect environment for fungi to grow. Tight-fitting or non-breathable shoes can make the problem worse.
- Swimmers or athletes – People who spend a lot of time in public pools, gyms, and locker rooms have a higher chance of exposure to the fungi that cause toenail infections.
- Weakened immune systems – Any immune-compromised person, including those on cancer medications, is at higher risk of nail fungus since the body finds it harder to fight off infections.
- Family history – Unfortunately, if you have close family members with a history of chronic toenail fungus, you have a higher chance of developing it yourself.
- Trauma to the nails – Injuries that damage the toenails, such as dropping a heavy object on the toes, create openings for fungi to enter and thrive. Fungus then takes hold as the nail heals.
- Smokers – Smoking reduces blood flow to the extremities, including the feet. This makes the nails more susceptible to fungal infections and less able to heal from them.
While anyone can get toenail fungus, the elderly, diabetics, athletes and others with impaired circulation or immunity or exposure to fungi are most at risk. Taking good preventative foot care and management of any underlying conditions can help reduce the chances of toenail infections becoming serious or chronic.
What are the options for treating nail fungus?
If you are suffering from a fungal nail infection, you will be familiar with the main symptoms which include discoloration, thickening and crumbling of the nail, and debris accumulating underneath. More severe infections may be painful and have an odour, while the nail may be distorted or become detached.
However, there really is no need to live with this unpleasant condition. Seeking medical advice at the first signs of infection can help prevent progression to more serious stages. Consult with the Sussex Foot Centre or your GP as the first step to understanding your treatment choices and developing a comprehensive care plan to achieve healthy, fungus-free nails.
With a wide selection of treatment options available, freedom from nail fungus is an attainable goal for most sufferers.
Here’s a summary of the main treatments available:
- Oral antifungal medications (terbinafine, itraconazole)
These are oral pills taken for 6-12 weeks to kill the fungus. They can be very effective but have been known to cause side effects such as nausea or diarrhoea in some people.
- Topical medications (clotrimazole, econazole, ketoconazole)
These antifungal creams, gels or nail polishes are applied directly to the infected nails. They work slowly and have a lower success rate and may be most appropriate for very mild cases of nail fungus.
- Removal of infected nails
In severe or persistent cases, the temporary removal of part or all of the infected nails may be recommended to allow direct application of topical antifungal drugs. The nails will then re-grow free from infection.
- Lunula Laser treatment
This non-thermal laser treatment kills fungus by directing high-intensity light beams at the infected nails. The revolutionary technology is highly effective, has no harmful side effects and is completely pain free. The Sussex Foot Centre is one of very few podiatrists in the South East offering this specialised treatment in a series of 5 weekly sessions. You can find out more details here and book your initial consultation.
Why Lunula Laser is best
For most fungal toenail infections, Lunula Laser therapy is considered the premier treatment method. Laser treatment offers many benefits over traditional approaches like oral antifungal drugs and topical medications alone. Lasers such as the Lunula Laser can selectively target the fungus within the nails, eliminating it with a high-power beam of light. This means it can cure even the most persistent infections that have spread to the nail matrix, without damaging the nail or surrounding tissue.
Laser therapy is a quick, non-invasive procedure done in a series of short sessions. It is 100% pain-free and very safe with no unpleasant side effects, unlike the potential nausea and diarrhoea that can occur with oral antifungals. Laser treatment is also more effective, providing relief from symptoms and infection more reliably than topical treatments alone. The high intensity light energy is able to penetrate deep into the nail to reach infections that topical medications struggle to cure.
For patients seeking an effective yet natural solution without risks or side effects, Lunula Laser stands out above other options. The treatment is safe for all ages and health conditions and helps support the body’s natural ability to heal itself.
Contact the Sussex Foot Centre
If you are looking for the most effective approach to tackling nail fungus, the Sussex Foot Centre should be your first port of call. With many years’ experience as a family-run chiropody and podiatry practice in Sussex and beyond, we are dedicated to providing an exceptional standard of care and patient experience. Get in touch to find out more about our market leading Lunula Laser treatment for fungal nail infections or any of our specialist footcare services.