For the weekend warrior and competitive athlete: training to excel & avoid injuries. Specializing in Sports Medicine At Arlington Foot and Ankle. 703-516-9408
Monday, May 12, 2014
The Skinny on Lasers and Toenail Fungus
People have been fascinated with lasers going way back to the iconic image of James Bond being nearly split in two in the movie Goldfinger. Goldfinger was the first blockbuster movie ever. It could be argued that this brought the idea of lasers as being cutting edge into the American psyche. Lasers have been used in medicine for everything from zapping off warts to whitening teeth, and now for treatment of those ugly, thick fungal toenails. Sports like running, skiing, and soccer increase your risk of getting toenail fungus. This is because you sweat inside a closed shoe or boot results in subjection of your toenails to repetitive microtrauma.
The laser helps eliminate the fungal spores that lie deep within the nail. The treatment should be only part of a regimen for a pesky problem. The FDA requires language to specify that the skin must be treated at the same time using the one laser that has been recently approved for nail use. The reason this is necessary is because the same spore that can infect the nail can infect the skin. Utilizing the laser as an adjunct treatment with either the oral or topical treatment is most effective. The laser helps eliminate the fungal spores that lie deep within the nail. Similar to laser teeth whitening, serial treatments are a part of the process.
It is also important disinfect the areas the fungal spores reside, so the nail does not get reinfected. There are now ultraviolet lights to do this. Lysol is not a great idea because you are subjecting your skin to strong chemicals, but there are other more safe disinfection sprays for shoes available. Health insurance does not cover the cost of this treatment. The treatments are administered once a month over three months and do not require anesthesia. You don't have to hide your feet.
I started this blog to share cutting-edge knowledge from my medical practice and my experience with athletes and as an athlete myself. I was a walkon at I.U. for track and after getting hurt my first season switched over to bike racing and raced in the "Little 500". I teach skiing professionally and also fit soccer in between bike riding and running. You know who you are: the weekend warrior and more serious athletes: the best insights, protocols, tips, and tricks for training and living injury free. I welcome your feedback.