Nail fungus, also known as onychomycosis, is a common pedal condition in our communities. The overall incidence is unknown, however studies have shown about 2-13% of the US population is affected and steadily rising (3). Nail fungus can make the nail plate brittle, thick, discolored and develop debris beneath the nail. Fungus can also cause pain to the nail bed and make walking uncomfortable. Unfortunately, this condition can be contagious so it is important to pursue treatment.
Nail fungus can often increase the risk of skin fungus (athletes foot) and skin breakdown. Breaks in the skin can increase the risk of developing other types of infections.
There are numerous treatment options for fungal toe nails including proper foot hygiene, topical medications, oral medication and laser. Proper foot hygiene involves disinfecting out shoes regularly with an antifungal spray or foot powder, wearing a new pair of clean socks daily, keeping feet clean and dry. One can also wear different shoes daily and incorporate the use of shoe trees with ultraviolet lighting that has antifungal properties. Our office has tested many topical antifungals to determine the most effective ones on the market. These treatment options can be combined or used individually depending on the patient’s medical history.  The doctors At Foot Healthcare Associates – Dr. Mozen, Dr. Belken, Dr. Josey, Dr. Martins and myself, Dr. Barnett, routinely treat nail fungus successfully.
Not all nails that are deformed turn out to be fungal nails. In rare situations nail discolorations can turn out to be a malignant melanoma. My partners and I will generally biopsy and culture deformed and discolored nails to help confirm the presence of fungus and or help determine if a malignancy is present.
If the nail has a significant curvature, this type of deformity can cause chronic painful ingrown toenails. This condition may often best be treated by a simple painless office procedure where we remove just a small part of the side of the toenail.
We are one of the few podiatric clinics in Livonia, Novi and Southfield to utilize the Noveon Laser for treatment of nail fungus. Approximately 3 to 4 treatment sessions are utlitized over a 4 month period. In a study following 199 patients at 12 clinical sites, it was shown that the FDA approved Noveon Laser improved 95% of patients’ condition, 87% saw reduction in toes assigned a ‘severe’ infection score, and there were no ‘adverse effects’ reported for any patient (2).  Noveon laser offers a unique, low-risk option to effectively treat fungal toenails (1).
If you have any questions about nail fungus treatment options please email me directly at drsbarnett@michiganpodiatry.com, or set up appointment at Foot Healthcare Associates by calling 248-258-0001. You can also visit our website at www.michiganpodiatry.com
1. Landsman, A & Robbins, A. Treatment of Mild, Moderate, and Severe Onychomycosis Using 870- and 930-nm Light Exposure, Some Follow-up Observations at 270 Days. Journal of the American Podiatric Medical Association, 2012, 102(2): 169-171.
2. Nomir Medical Technologies. Noveon Laser Retrospective Study Onychomycosis Treatment Findings. www.noveonlaser.com
3. Schlefman, B. Onychomycosis: A compendium of facts and a clinical experience. Journal of Foot and Ankle Surgery, 38(4): 290-302.