Thickened, discoloured and unsightly nails occur commonly, but many people don’t realise that the most common cause of this is a fungal nail infection. This infection, also known as onychomycosis, occurs in about 10% of the population.
One or more toenails are most often affected, but onychomycosis can also involve the fingernails. Once it is present in one nail, the infection can spread to all other nails.
This is not only a cosmetic problem. The skin around the nail can become inflamed and uncomfortable. A thickened and distorted nail can cause pain, and fungal infection is one cause of smelly feet.
It is best to treat onychomycosis before the nails become too badly distorted. The best chance of restoring normal looking nails lies in beginning treatment before a fungal nail infection reaches the base of the nail.
Remedy Laser is pleased to introduce ClearSteps™, a ground breaking new laser procedure for onychomycosis developed in Europe.
What causes onychomycosis?
Many different types of fungi, dermatophyes, Candida and nondermatophytic molds can cause onychomycosis.
The risk factors for catching a fungal nail infection include:
- poorer blood flow due to ageing or other causes
- heavy perspiration
- a moist or humid environment
- being barefoot in damp public places (swimming pools, showers etc)
- damage to the nail or skin around it
- a weakened immune system
Most people who develop onychomycosis have previously suffered from tinea or athlete’s foot.
How have fungal nail infections been treated?
Treatment of onychomycosis has been challenging in the past, because fungal particles are embedded within the nail making it difficult for medications to reach them. Laser light can penetrate deep into the nail and the nail bed itself. There is nowhere for the fungus to hide.
Many people come to us, previously having failed attempts at treating their onychomycosis.
Nail paints and other topical treatment
Regular application is required over a 12 month period. Many people find it difficult to remember to treat themselves regularly for that long. There is a high failure rate due to poor compliance and inadequate penetration of the nail.
Antifungal tablets or capsules
Oral medications have trouble penetrating into the nail. They also have many side effects ranging from hearing problems to major liver damage.
What is ClearSteps™?
ClearSteps™ is an effective, safe, non-surgical and virtually painless procedure using an Nd:YAG laser.
It eliminates onychomycosis by killing the fungus responsible for the condition.
ClearSteps™ is a simple walk-in and walk-out procedure, with no down time required.
How does ClearSteps™ work?
ClearSteps™ involves application of laser energy to the nails. The laser light specifically targets fungal elements, heating and destroying the fungus in the process.
All nails, not just those affected, are treated because fungus might still be present in normal looking nails. Four treatment sessions a week apart are required to ensure elimination of all fungal particles.
There will be no apparent result immediately, but normal looking nails should grow out over a six to twelve month period.
How effective is ClearSteps™?
Some studies have shown that ClearSteps™ has a 100% effectiveness in fixing onychomycosis. Even those that have shown some failures have reported success in more than 90% of people treated.
A recurrence of onychomycosis after treatment is almost always due to a reinfection of the nails. It is recommended that you discard old footwear, socks and stockings after treatment to avoid any chance of reinfection. It is also important that you promptly treat tinea or athlete’s foot if this happens, to prevent fungus from affecting your nails again.
Are there are side effects?
There are no side effects of laser treatment for fungal nails.
The process – put your best foot forward
Ridding yourself of onychomycosis requires just four visits to Remedy Laser.
One of our doctors will examine your nails to see if your problem is due to a fungal nail infection. They will also assess your suitability for laser treatment.
You might want to consider having a your nail clippings cultured to confirm a fungal infection. Most people don’t opt for this however, as growing fungus in a lab can take several months, and is often unsuccessful even when fungal elements are present in the clippings.
It is important that you trim your nails before having laser treatment for a fungal nail infection. Nails should be filed back as much as possible. For particularly thickened nails this might be best be done by your podiatrist.
If you choose to have your onychomycosis treated you will have your first ClearSteps™ treatment.
It’s time for your second ClearSteps™ treatment a week later.
It’s time for your third ClearSteps™ treatment another week later.
You will have your fourth and final ClearSteps™ treatment another week later. While you might not have seen a lot of change yet, all fungal elements will have been eliminated by now, so healthy looking nails should grow out over the next 6 to 12 months.
All treatments at Remedy Laser are performed by practitioners trained in the appropriate use of medical grade lasers.
See more about our team at Remedy Laser on our About Us Page
If you would like to learn more about this treatment or make a booking, please call 02 9411 3352 or send us an enquiry using the form below.
Located in the Concourse Medical Precinct.
Car park entrance via Ferguson Lane off Archer Street, 1st hour free.