Often, parents bring their children to our office with a condition that looks like toenail fungus. But some patients have visited their primary care physicians and taken a course of oral antifungal medication before arriving at our NYC podiatry office—only to find that the reason the antifungal didn’t work was that they did not suffer from fungus at all! Here’s how to tell if your child really has toenail fungus and what other conditions may be occurring.
Yellowed toenails don’t always signify toenail fungus. Though they feel strong, nails are actually quite porous, so if you’ve been continuously coating your toenails with polish, they’ll need a break from aggressive pigmentation chemicals and exposure to oxygen to be healthy again. If you begin to notice your nails not only breaking, but crumbling like chalk, then that could be a tell-tale sign that your problem is, in fact, fungus-related. Fungal toenails often present with streaks or spots on the surface of the nail. In addition to being yellow, the nails often thicken as well. If you’re not too squeamish, you can view photos of toenail fungus posted on WebMD to compare.1http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/ss/slideshow-toenail-fungus Toenail fungus is one of the more minor conditions we are equipped to treat here at The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine in New York City.
Many people associate toenail fungus with warmer weather and sandals, but winter is a busy time for fungal colonies, too. Fungus prefers to grow in warm, damp environments—which can be created when wet socks are trapped inside winter boots. Unfortunately, curing toenail fungus is not a simple matter of taking a prescription drug for a couple weeks. Once you have this insidious fungus, it can be very difficult to get rid of, so podiatrists often say, “Prevention is the best cure!” Here at The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine in NYC, we offer the latest high-tech treatment for toenail fungus.
If you’re fast-tracking your student loan payments, chances are you don’t have much extra money lying around. Unfortunately, fungal nail treatments are not covered by medical insurance — if you’re one of the recent grads lucky enough to have insurance at all. (Approximately 40 million students do not.) Many people are drowning in medical debt, with 62% of all bankruptcies related to some sort of medical expense. Laser toenail foot treatments offer the latest technology to improve your condition, but how can you afford the procedure?
Toenail fungus is not life-threatening, but this unsightly infection of the nail affects about 10 percent of the U.S. population, according to Boni E. Elewski, a researcher at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. “The disease can have certain negative consequences for patients, such as pain, and can potentially undermine work and social lives,” she wrote in an issue of the journal Clinical Microbial Review. While this may not sound like a huge number, it is when you consider that up to 90 percent of elderly Americans have what is called onychomycosis. Traditionally, the only treatment options were to remove the affected nails or treat with risky oral antifungal medication and wait for the nail to grow out. (Even though Americans shell out loads of cash on topical antifungal medications, these are considered ineffective.) Here’s what you need to know about PinPointe FootLaser for fungal nail treatment.
1. The PinPointe FootLaser has been in use since 2007.
The Pinpointe FootLaser was developed by scientists and medical professionals over a 20-year period, with funding provided by the National Institutes of Health. Clinical studies began in November 2007 and the device received F.D.A. clearance in October of 2010 to be used as an effective treatment for fungal nails. Since then, over 3,800 patients have been successfully treated.
2. It’s quick and painless.
People generally like that they can just come right in to their regular podiatrist’s office and have the procedure done quickly by appointment, rather than waiting at a hospital or unfamiliar clinic. Any subsequent treatment is done by your own podiatrist, so you can maintain the same standard of care you have been receiving.
The PinPointe FootLaser works by using a laser light to penetrate the nail and kill the fungus, without injuring the surrounding skin. Over a period of several weeks, you should notice the nail begin to clear. However, the nail will only be fully healed once the fungus nail completely grows out. Best of all, the treatment is done in just 30 minutes as a walk in/ walk out procedure — and it’s completely painless! Some people report “warmth” and a couple individuals have reported a “slight pinprick sensation,” but most people feel nothing at all.
3. Side effects are extremely rare.
Compared to oral medication for toenail fungus, the PinPointe FootLaser is a dream come true. The Mayo Clinic says that, while Lamisil and Sporanax are considered the “most effective” oral medications for treating toenail fungus, these drugs “may cause side effects ranging from skin rashes to liver damage.” For this reason, many people do not want to take an oral antifungal at all. Patient Joanne Grant told NBC Channel 10 Newsthat she “didn’t want to take medication.” She added, “I didn’t want to have my liver checked.” By comparison, the PinPointe FootLaser has no regularly reported side effects. The Village Podiatry Centers in Atlanta report that “rare side effects” may include: nail discoloration, mild pain (during treatment), redness around the nail (lasting 24-72 hours), and slight swelling (lasting 24-72 hours).
4. Your insurance company won’t pay for it, but there are options.
Insurance companies consider nail fungus to be a “cosmetic procedure,” so they do not cover the cost. We understand that it’s so much more than that. No one wants to have fungus living on their feet! Even though your insurance won’t pay for PinPointe FootLaser therapy, you can still use your HSA, Medical IRA, or Flexible Spending Account.
5. Foot fungus can grow back, even after laser treatment.
While clinical studies conducted by NuvoLase found that more than 71.4% of patients experience sustained improvement after a single treatment, it is always possible for the fungus to grow back if you are not careful. Fungus is everywhere in our environment, so if you walk around barefoot on an affected surface, you are putting yourself at risk of re-infection. Furthermore, it’s important to keep your feet cool and dry to discourage fungal proliferation. So, if you are going to make the investment to have healthy, attractive feet, then you will need to commit to preventative measures too.
“I am so grateful for having had Dr. Geldwert perform bunion surgery on both of my feet. I have complete confidence in him and continue to see him for other sports related injuries. I was cautious about having surgery for the first time, but his knowledge, patience, and skill made me completely comfortable in trusting him. And I couldn’t be any happier with the results!! When anything else feels wrong with my feet, I love that I now know to go immediately to him. He is my top choice for anyone searching for the best foot fixer/surgeon/sports doctor in NYC! Thank you, Dr. Geldwert!!!”
– J. M., Manhattan, NY
Manhattan Office 111 East 88th Street New York, NY 10128 (212) 996-1900 See map here
Westchester Office 10 Mitchell Place Suite 105 White Plains, NY 10601 (914) 328-3400 See map here
Manhattan Orthopedic and Sports Medicine 57 West 57th Street New York, NY 10019 (212) 996-1900 See map here
Dr. Josef J. Geldwert DPM, Dr. Katherine Lai DPM, Dr. Ryan Minara, DPM, and Dr. Mariola Rivera DPM serving Westchester County, White Plains, Ardsley, Bronxville, Harrison NY, Larchmont, Mamaroneck, New Rochelle, Rye, Scarsdale, Rye Brook, Chappaqua, and the surrounding area.
Top New York Podiatrist | Sports Medicine Doctor | Podiatrists in NYC and White Plains, NY