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How to Treat Toenail Fungus

Conveniently located to serve Portland, Lake Oswego, & West Linn

Dr. Tyler Manson is a Board Certified Podiatric Physician and Surgeon at Oregon Institute of Foot Care in Lake Oswego, Oregon. Dr. Manson Specializes in treating toenail fungus and has the only Lunula Laser to treat toenail fungus in the greater Portland area. Please continue reading to learn more about toenail fungus and its treatment options.

Toenail fungus, also called onychomycosis, is a fungal infection of the toenail and toenail bed. It makes toenails discolored (yellow/green), thickened, crumbly, painful, and difficult to cut. It can be unsightly, uncomfortable, and embarrassing. The fungus usually starts on one or two nails that become cloudy or discolored. Over time, the toenail may thicken, change shape, separate from the toe, and develop a crumbly material underneath it.

There are various treatment options for toenail fungus which can be broken down into three categories; topical antifungal medication, oral antifungal medication, and laser therapy. We’ll break down these categories further to discuss the risks, benefits, and success rates for each category.

Topical antifungal medication has been around for decades. Treatment with topical medication involves painting a solution or lacquer with antifungal medication onto the affected toenails. This is done once daily until the infection is resolved, which usually takes 9 to 12 months. Success rates vary from 10% to about 18%. Because of the low success rate and having to apply the medication daily, Dr. Manson rarely recommends topical antifungal medications as a solo treatment for toenail fungus. Dr. Manson does use topical antifungal medication in combination with Lunula Laser Treatment for toenail fungus.

Oral Antifungal medications have also been around for decades. The most commonly used oral antifungal medication is Terbinafine or Lamisil. The treatment involves taking one tablet a day for 12 weeks. Success rates for oral Terbinafine are around 50-60%. Like any oral medication, there are potential side effects associated with oral Terbinafine. The most common side effects are gastrointestinal issues, like upset stomach and diarrhea. Headaches, dizziness, loss of taste, liver injury, and many other side effects are possible with oral Terbinafine.

The final and best option is laser treatment of toenail fungus. There are two different types of lasers used to treat toenail fungus; cold lasers and heat producing lasers. Heat producing lasers work by heating the fungus to a point of destruction. Heat producing lasers can cause the toenail and toe to become hot and sometimes painful. Side effects can be tissue damage associated with heat.

Dr. Manson was not satisfied with his experience with heat producing lasers to treat toenail fungus because many patients could not tolerate the pain associated with treatment. This meant all patients were not receiving the same treatment and there were varying degrees of success with the treatment based on how much heat each patient could tolerate.

This is where the Lunula Laser for toenail fungus comes in. The Lunula Laser is the only FDA approved cold laser for the treatment of toenail fungus. Since it is a cold laser, The Lunula Laser does not produce any heat. The benefits are that treatment is absolutely painless, there is no downtime after treatment, and there are no risks involved with treatment. Success rates with the Lunula laser range from 60-70% in clinic trials. The Lunula Laser works by stimulating your toes to produce hydrogen peroxide and nitrous oxide which kills the fungus. These are naturally occuring chemicals in the body so it simply gives your body an improved ability to fight the toenail fungus.

Treatment with the Lunula Laser involves four 12-minute treatment sessions. Each treatment session is spaced one week apart. Treatment also includes an 8 month follow-up appointment with Dr. Manson. If treatment has not been successful at this time, an additional 4 Lunula Laser treatment sessions may be ordered by Dr. Manson at no additional cost to the patient.

Visit our Lunula Laser Treatment for Toenail Fungus page for more information or reach out to us at Oregon Institute of Foot Care if you would like more information.