Hi Florida friends, beach season is upon us! Many of our patients come in struggling to get excited to show their toes due to nail fungus. Many have tried over the counter nail fungus treatments with little to no results. This is because OTC nail fungus treatments are only about 10% effective. At Align Foot and Ankle, we offer a wide variety of option to kick this problem in the bud, once and for all! We cater a plan specific to your wants & needs to make sure you get in those toes in the sand ASAP!
Why Do My Toenails look thick, discolored, misshaped?
Toenails, along with your hair and fingernails, are made simply of a protein known as keratin. It is produced underneath the skin at the base of the nail and grows out along the nail bed (the skin under the nail). Many factors can lead to the keratin and nail bed getting disrupted such as trauma, fungus, radiation, chemotherapy, and autoimmune diseases. The visual appearance of thick damaged nails is a phrase called hyperkeratinization or toenail scar tissue. It can cause the nail to get loose and change colors. The underlying cause will lead to the outcome in getting the nails healthy again. Nail biopies can be a great tool to determining why the nail is damaged.
A very fast, in office, nail clipping that is DNA tests, stained, and PCR to assess any organisms and determine the root cause. Usually takes 1-3 days to get results back and is generally covered by insurance.
Microtrauma from tight shoes, stubbing the toe, or reinjuring the toenails can cause a reaction to the keratin and cause scar tissue to form. If not fungus, the only real treatment is to eliminate the buildup and promote healthy nail growth. This may involve removing the nail to allow a new nail a chance to grow healthy, permanently removing the nail, or using medical grade spray (PODOEXPERT Healthy Nails) that has been clinically shown the repair damaged nails, and allow healthy keratin production.
The most common cause of unsightly nails is nail fungus, or tinea unguium. Dermatophytes are the type of fungus that embeds into the nail root, nail itself, and nail bed, causes the nail to grow abnormally. There are many different strains of fungus, some resistant to traditional meds, and so deeply embedded they are hard to reach. Nail fungus can lead to athletes foot, ingrown toenails, and loose nails that are painful to pressure.
Align Foot and Ankle Groundbreaking Nail Fungus Protocol
Much research has been done over the years with many of the most advanced therapies coming in the last ten years. Doctor often prescribe topicals, like Penlac, that has pretty much been deemed ineffective. Dr. Barnett has found the most effective way of treating nail fungus is best treated by adding multiple different therapies at once to shock the fungus and encourage normal nail growth. This typically involves 1-3 sessions once a month with the fungus laser while adding topical nail damage + antifungal nail gel for 3-6 months. Once normal growth is seen at the base of the nail, Dr. Barnett will add Fungasoap, a antifungal shower soap along with a UV sterilizer for shoes to help prevent recurrence. Here’s the bad part: Toenails grow at an average rate of about 1mm per month…so full nail results can take 9-12 month. But don’t worry….we have an option so your toes can still look beautiful!
What to do while you wait?
While the nail grows out there are some great options to help it along. Onyfix is a resine applied across the nail at the base and stays on until the nail fully grows out. It is applied in the office in and can be reapplied as needed. It will help change the nail shape to prevent ingrowns during the healing process. KeryFlex is a medical grade resin that allows the patient a normal looking nail for 3-6 months per application. The process involves removing any damage nail painlessly with nippers and Dremel and then the resin is applied and cured and can have nail polish applied and cover up the underlying nail until normal growth develops.
In short, nail damage and fungus can be really frustrating for people and therefore Align Foot and Ankle has taken every step modern medicine has to offer to provide the most unique plan tailored to your needs for resolving unsightly nails.