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Unsightly Nails

Laser for Unsightly Nails

Conditions treated:

  • Toenail fungus
  • Fingernail fungus
  • Trauma to nails
  • Damage to nails after surgical procedures
  • Fungus on skin
  • Athlete’s foot infection

I’ve already tried EVERYTHING!

Have you already tried using just about every over-the-counter product available, but none of them are getting rid of your toenail fungus? Have you tried an oral antifungal with no improvement? Perhaps you’ve been told you aren’t even a candidate to take oral antifungals (now what?)!

If you’re tired of fighting fungus and wasting money, follow me as I introduce you to an even more effective and much safer option, laser therapy.

If you’re like me, I’m interested in more holistic options. Plus, I like my red wine. šŸ˜Š

All the oral antifungal medications available are well known to be potentially harmful to your liver. In fact, a lot of physicians will not even prescribe them due to the harsh nature of the liver, and the rest of the body.

If any of the above resonates with you, you’re in the right spot (plus we’ve been doing it for years!).

Why choose Lexington Podiatry’s LexPod Laser Club?

Because we’re the experts in all things toenail fungus/trauma or just unsightly nails. We’ve pioneered nail fungus custom treatment plans for over 15 years. To date, we’re still one of the only Podiatry clinics in the community to even offer laser therapy.

Is laser therapy the right decision for me?

  • Safe for children + elders
  • Pain-free heat kills the fungus
  • Little discomfort
  • No side effects
  • No downtime-walk in and out
  • 6 treatments (~10 minutes each x 6 months=60 minutes total!)
  • Faster results
  • No co-pays (unless you request to see a provider, and this visit can be billed to your insurance)
  • No painful blood test (liver enzyme test is required for prescription for oral antifungals)
  • No painful nail biopsy required (must be numbed before biopsy + required for prescription for oral antifungals)
  • No unexpected additional lab fees from a nail biopsy (required for prescription for oral antifungals)
  • No prescription drugs required

Laser therapy is a modern and safe treatment option to eliminate and prevent future fungus concerns. It’s also used to treat thick nails from trauma. Trauma can be either from a direct injury; or after a surgical procedure, such as an ingrown toenail (whether acute or chronic).

Here, we will explore all about laser therapy and determine if this is the right decision for you.

Is this covered by my insurance?

If you have FSA, Health Savings Accounts (FSA) or a Medical IRA the cost can be covered. However, your insurance may consider this cosmetic (much like Botox) and will not pay for you to get rid of toenail fungus. They only cover ineffective prescription topicals and oral medications, regardless of how potentially damaging to your liver. We do encourage you to work directly with your insurance company for approval prior to your appointment. Who knows? Maybe they’ll submit…eventually.

With rising appointment fees and out of pocket co-pays, the cost of the laser therapy treatments is actually less costly than other, more invasive treatments that are “covered” by insurance.

Is it FDA cleared?

Yes, it is FDA cleared for the temporary increase of clear nails in patients with onychomycosis (toenail fungus). However, after using laser therapy in our modern Podiatry clinic for the past 15 years, we have created successful protocols to treat non-fungal nails, such as trauma or damage to the nail after a prior surgical procedure.

Toenail Fungus

What is toenail fungus?

Toenail fungus describes a fungal infection to the nail that varies in nature. The appearance of fungus comes in all kinds of different shapes and sizes. It can be small white dots on the surface, thick, yellow/light brown/dark brown discolorations, white striations, and even crumbly nails. Without treatment, this fungal infection can spread to other toenails very quickly. If you’re interested in toenail treatment don’t delay, the quicker you start treatment, the faster you’ll have healthy looking nails.

I’ve had fungus in my nails many times, it just keeps coming back!

Many of us suffer with recurrent nail infections; or have had a pesky unsightly nail that just won’t go away. Fungus removal is difficult to treat because the fungus can get into the layers of a toenail. It can even grow underneath the nail causing you to constantly dig it out; often it can even become extremely painful; it can even lead to an ingrown toenail. It can become so thick it’s painful to even wear shoes. It can also potentially spread to other parts of your body.

What causes toenail fungus?

Blame it on those pesky dermatophytes, the tiny fungal bodies that are just waiting for a chance to find a home in your toenails. It doesn’t necessarily have to come from a gym locker room. They love warm and moist conditions - like pools, hot tubs and even unwashed socks – which makes them practically impossible to avoid! Those that sweat excessively, or wear boots and non-breathable shoe gear for their job are even more susceptible. Once they’re entrenched beneath the nail bed, nothing short of a comprehensive treatment attack will do 'em justice. Plus, folks with diabetes and weakened immune systems have an extra tough battle since their circulation problems give fungi too much room to roam free... but there's always hope if you stay ahead of this foot-dreaded enemy!

What if I don’t have nail fungus, can it treat my thick and unsightly nails?

Laser therapy is effective on all nail damage, not just fungus. It is not uncommon for those who have had some type of trauma to experience some type of discoloration or thickening of the nail. Often, they’ve visited a physician who has biopsied the nail just to reveal there is no fungus. Thus, they don’t have any treatment options other than ineffective topical creams they apply for many years. Good news is here, we can treat ALL nail conditions with laser therapy.

Does it really work?

Absolutely, with the right candidate. Dermatologists have long used laser therapy to treat nail fungus and unsightly nails from fungus and trauma. Laser therapy has been approved by the FDA since 2009! Long ago they understood the risks associated with oral medications; and the disappointing results from prescription creams, and the slew of over-the-counter solutions marketed to treat nail issues. These therapies are quickly becoming treatments of the past as they’ve been clinically proven over and over to be ineffective.

Extensive clinical research trials shows laser treatment success being as high as 93% with multiple treatments (~6 in our office).

Current oral antifungal prescription options are about 50% effective. While prescription topicals are only 16% effective.

Laser treatment works by heating up the nail layers specific to the fungus; and attempting to destroy the genetic material responsible for fungus growth and survival. Unlike topical therapies, light can actually penetrate through the toenail to reach the fungus making it WAY more effective.

Clinical Research Proving Laser Therapy Is Effective

Laser-based treatments are now accepted, and proven as an effective way to deal with nail fungus, backed by multiple clinical studies. FDA approval ensures safety in the form of laser foot treatment - a 2016 study found that patients displayed clear nails after 3 or 6 months. But that's not all; further research from 2019 published by the American Association of Family Physicians yielded even more remarkable results along with greater effectiveness than over-the-counter medications: 90% reduction in symptoms and 30% total cure rate within 180 days! The Lasers In Medical Science Journal also reported success rates among patient populations infected on two thirds or more of their nails at 83%. Nail fungus can be treated without concern thanks to modern technology!

How does it work?

When the laser is targeted to the area of infection, the heat that's produced inhibits the growth of the fungus and destroys it. In response to the heat, the infected tissue turns into a gas and breaks down, destroying the fungus as well as the surrounding skin and nails. The heat from the lasers also has a sterilizing effect, which helps prevent new fungal growth.

The fungal growth is inhibited and some of the fungal microorganisms are destroyed, but since the infection can partially survive the treatment, it's unlikely that you will be completely cured of toenail fungus with just one session of laser therapy.

When used safely, laser treatment does not emit enough energy to destroy all the tissue or all the infection. Therefore, repeat treatment is indicated. However, after a series of recommended laser treatments has been completed, you will notice a significant improvement in the appearance of your nails.

Laser treatments for toenail fungus are considered safe but may cause superficial irritation if you’re particularly prone to heat sensitivity.

Can I treat my toenails with over-the-counter products?

Having toenail fungus can be a frustrating experience - those pesky little fungal roots seem virtually impossible to eradicate! Over-the counter products may offer temporary relief for superficial infections only; however, they often lack the necessary strength needed for complete removal of these fungi.

Why should I choose laser therapy over an oral antifungal from my doctor?

Laser therapy is SAFE for you!

A lot of our patients aren’t even candidates for the oral medication: those with poor circulation, medications (cholesterol medications, etc), debilitating diseases, auto-immune issues and/or liver issues.

Bonus: Laser treatments are typically WAY more effective than other treatments for nail fungus (93% vs. 49%)!

“I just left my nail polish on too long, it’s not fungus”. Or is it?

Superficial fungal nail infections (called Superficial White Onychomycosis, “SWO”) are often mistaken by many patients who think it’s from “leaving their nail polish on too long”. Make no mistake, this is the start of a nail fungal infection. Sometimes surface fungal infections can be treated with REPAIR. Our doctor-created blend of 2 potent antifungals (Rx: clotrimazole + tea tree oil), Urea (idea for thick nails) + proprietary blend of hydrating oils to allow for supple cuticles while strengthening weak nails.

Overview or Benefits

  • Safe for children + elders
  • Pain-free heat kills the fungus
  • Little discomfort
  • No side effects
  • No downtime-walk in and out
  • 6 treatments (~10 minutes each x 6 months=60 minutes total!)
  • Faster results
  • No co-pays (unless you request to see a provider, and this visit will be billed to your insurance)
  • No painful blood test (liver enzyme test is required for prescription for oral antifungals)
  • No painful nail biopsy required (must be numbed before biopsy + required for prescription for oral antifungals)
  • No unexpected additional lab fees from a nail biopsy (required for prescription for oral antifungals)
  • No prescription drugs required (required for prescription for oral antifungals)

I think my nails are a lost cause!

Before you give up, let’s provide you with some insider pro tips!

If you’ve spent lots of money and are beyond frustrated with your nail fungus that just won’t go away, follow along with me. As the fungal infection progresses, more aggressive measures are taken. Often patients do not get resolution because the nail is simply “dead” or embedded into the nail bed itself. If the nail is completely detached, entirely white, or too thick for the laser to penetrate, the nail must first be gently removed by your provider. This is a provider visit and can be billed to your insurance if you prefer. Before we’ve scared you off…most patients are able to start therapy without nail removal.

Antifungals taken by mouth (oral) are well known to cause severe liver damage. Thus, a full workup by your doctor, medication review, blood circulation testing, lab work and a nail biopsy (requires numbing your toe, aftercare for 2 weeks, and you may also receive an outside bill from the lab). All of this is requiredbefore a prescription can be written to your pharmacy.

It’s been all over the news that antifungals are extremely harsh on the body, and it can cause full-body (systemic) side effects, specifically liver damage. Lastly, oral medication is LESS EFFECTIVE than laser therapy, and does not necessarily cure toenail fungus. The range of success for oral medication is anywhere from 40%-81%.

Prescription topical treatments alone are generally considered safe but are only 16% effective.

However, there is a range of how well these different treatments work. Using them consistently while avoiding side effects can be difficult. Combining treatments might be more effective than using a single treatment.

I’ve already tried laser therapy and it didn’t work!

Contrary to popular belief, fungus is not necessarily a hygiene issue. Most of our patients have undiagnosed Raynaud’s Disease or another circulation issue that has been untreated thus not responding to other laser treatments. Additionally, LexPod’s Laser Club is one of the only medical practices that have lasers SPECIFICALLY USED TO TREAT FUNGUS/TRAUMA. You’ve seen groupons available for laser therapy options that simply don’t work.

Our laser is unique in the fact that we are solely focused on treating nail fungus and trauma. A lot of other medical clinics or laser clinics are using lasers that are multi-purpose. They are used for: tattoo removal, vein removal and/or skin issues. We offer an FDA-cleared laser for nail fungus/trauma ONLY. We are not offering those other services because a different laser is required.

Expect During Your Visit

What to expect during your visit

You should remove all nail polish from your affected nails before your appointment. In fact, wear only nail polish during special occasions when treating nail conditions during the treatment period for optimal results. (More on this below…)

Your laser clinician will perform an extensive history and physical examination to make sure you have the best chance of getting rid of the fungus.

If necessary, you may have your toenails clipped and dead skin cleaned (debridement) on the day of your laser treatment. We encourage you to get to do this at home a few days before your visit and can help offer guidance on how best to accomplish this. We also offer a full doctor-created PEDICURE KIT in our office, This will have everything you need, from digging an ingrown toenail out, to trimming your nails with Podiatrist-recommended instruments, and more.

Next, the laser will be moved over any affected nails, and might also be used over non-affected nails if there is a concern fungus could be growing there.

Pulsing the laser or using selected wavelengths helps minimize heat on the skin, which reduces the risk of side effects. One session of laser therapy typically lasts ~10 minutes or less (based on the number of nails).

As the tissue breaks down, you may have minimal discomfort or a small blister may develop. Although this is extremely rare, rest assured the skin will heal in a few days. Your healthcare provider will tell you how to keep your toe clean and dry as it is healing.

The treatment is almost always painless, though you may feel warmth or tingling on the nail bed during the treatment. Typically, the warmth feels good to those with cold toes.

My nails don’t grow!

Nail growth is directly dependent upon blood flow. So, if you suffer from poor circulation, we encourage you to schedule a visit with our providers prior to your laser therapy visit (for your convenience, this can be done on the same day). At this visit, your doctor will recommend and prescribe topical medication to improve your circulation, as well as offer many helpful tips to promote blood flow. Keep in mind: if your toes are cold, your nails aren’t growing. We must address this to give you the best possible chance of getting rid of those unsightly nails.

I have white coat syndrome!

At our office, we offer a “Comfort Menu”. If you’re a little nervous about this painless procedure, that’s quite normal. We have a wide variety of stress-reducing items available to make you more relaxed. Ask for our warm, lavender-infused neck pillow, or perhaps a weighted blanket would put you at ease. Don’t forget to stop at our full beverage and snack area as soon as you arrive for a cup of hot chamomile tea. Within a few minutes you’ll be whisked away to your private relaxing suite with our experienced Laser Clinician.

What can I expect after treatment? Do I have to stay off my feet?

You could literally go run a marathon after your laser treatment. There is no downtime. You may get into water, workout, get a pedicure, attend a wedding or just complete your day full of errands.

Patients typically will notice healthy new nail growth without damage to the surrounding tissue. The laser treatment can prevent the fungus from spreading and reduce the pain or discomfort associated with infection.

Though it can take six months to a year for your nail to return to its former appearance (depending on the extent of the infection). While recurrence of infection is unlikely, some fungal infections may return and require additional treatment.

Those particularly prone to recurrent fungal infections, you’re not alone. In fact, we offer lifetime membership options to make sure your fungus stays away. Plus, we offer a full medical-grade foot care line, www.moderpodiatrist.com, created by Dr. Freels to give you the best chance possible to minimize re-infection.

How do I know if it’s really working?

With perfect circulation our nails grow very slowly, approximately 1 mm per month. You won’t notice the fungus being eliminated overnight. In fact, even effective treatments are not expected to clear an infected nail immediately—it may take up to 12 months until the nail grows out. However, you should see clearing around the cuticle indicating a new, healthy, fungal-free nail is growing out!

Signs of improvement in toenail fungus after laser therapy include:

  • The disappearance of yellow, white, or brown discoloration
  • The flaky debris under or on the nail is becoming less noticeable
  • Reattachment of the nail after trauma; or a long history of nail fungus
  • Normal shape and texture are evident
  • Elimination of thick nails, bumps, or altered nail shape

Will my toenail fungus return?

During your visits our Laser Clinician will discuss with you your lifestyle, work environment, contributing medical conditions, and any other triggering events that are causing you to get recurrent infections.

With your help, we cultivate a truly customized plan to make sure we minimize clinical and environmental elements that are triggering fungal infections. Read the heart-warming story about Dr. Freels and her mentor (and Grandfather), Dr. Kelly HERE and how this footcare line was created. All of her products are designed using natural ingredients enhanced with modern medicine. It is one of the only Podiatrist-created medical grade full product lines available.

Can I laser my fingernails?

YES! You can laser not only all fingernails and toenails, it is safe for skin as well!

Fungal infections on the skin, such as athletes’ feet or even on other parts of the body respond very well to laser therapy. Isolated fungal rashes, unresponsive to other topical and oral treatment options prove very responsive to laser therapy. The number of visits for skin fungal infections is dependent upon the size of the area, and responsiveness to the therapy. We encourage a provider’s evaluation prior to treating fungal infections on the skin.

Can I get a pedicure or paint my nails?

As an all-female group of providers, we get it…we like our toenails painted too! However, as you’re making this commitment to get rid of unsightly nails it is best to GO NAKED! Our prescription-strength topical, called REPAIR will be applied daily as part of your foot care routine. REPAIR is actively killing fungus, preventing build up and minimizing your risk of it spreading to other toenails. However, we like to look good too!

If you have a special event (wedding, beach vaca or a hot date) it’s safe to paint your nails. We offer Dr. Remedy’s Anti-fungal Nail Polish in our office; we have all the latest colors available to you. This nail polish has tea tree oil which is nature’s natural anti-fungal. Also, unlike the typical nail polishes you have in the salons and on the shelves, it’s breathable.

We often get fungus from leaving nail color on because it’s too thick and doesn’t allow the nail plate to breathe. This traps any fungal spores on the nail plate and allows additional growth of fungus under the color. EEK!

Often when our nail paint is removed, we attribute the yellowing or white dots to the nail polish itself. Sadly, this is the first stage of fungus, and often we just cover it again and it continues to get worse and denial tends to set it.

We recommend not keeping it on too long, it is important to remove all nail polish the day before your treatment. Following the treatment, polish can be applied immediately.

Who is NOT a candidate?

Patients with active cancer.

  • Those who are pregnant.
  • Those who have a dark pigmented lesion underneath the nail (this requires a doctor visit first for proper evaluation).

Who must see a provider before laser therapy can be started?

Those who have a dark pigmented lesion underneath the nail.

Those diagnosed with diabetes, peripheral neuropathy, peripheral vascular disease, or arterial disease.

The above underlying conditions require a pre-screen to take additional precautions to ensure the best possible outcome. (You may use your insurance for any doctor visit)

Is it safe while you are nursing?

YES!

Don't let unsightly nails ruin your confidence. Book a consultation with The LexPod Laser Club today and find out how we can help you restore your nails to their natural beauty. To schedule your appointment, call or message (859) 545-3425