It's a common problem for many and a local podiatrist now has a new tool in the fight against toenail fungus.
Dr. Thomas Troy introduced the PinPointe FootLaser to his Tsawwassen practice at the end of March after it was cleared by Health Canada earlier this year.
The laser is a fast, effective and drug-free way to deal with toenail fungus, he said.
Toenail fungus is a common problem. Troy said about 10 per cent of the population has it, a rate that increases to 30 per cent at the age of 50.
Keeping toenail fungus at bay is both an issue of aesthetics -- it causes the nail to become thick and discoloured -- and keeping a communicable disease from spreading.
A fungal infection can lead to more serious health issues for patients with diabetes or immune disorders.
Aside from the aesthetics, a fungal infection can be disfiguring and painful.
Until the advent of the laser, toenail fungal infections were usually treated with medication or topical ointments.
The laser works by penetrating the nail, without causing further damage to the nail or the surrounding skin. The heat of the laser kills the fungus.
Troy, who has been practicing in the area since 1987, said all 10 nails must be treated at once.
The nail won't clear up immediately. It will clear slowly as the infected, damaged nail grows out and is replaced by new, healthy growth.
For some, treatment will mean the end of toenail fungus but, as with any treatment, for some the fungus could return.
For more information about the PinPointe FootLaser, call Dr. Thomas Troy at 604-943-0188 or visit www.drtomtroy.com.