"Bull Durham" is one of my all-time favorite romantic comedies. It’s an intelligent comedy that makes me laugh every time I watch it. The movie centers around a love triangle that develops during a minor league baseball season between the team’s intelligent, sophisticated and sexy mascot, Annie, (played by Susan Sarandon), an up-and-coming rookie pitcher named Nuke LaLoosh (played by Tim Robbins) and an embittered former major league catcher named Crash Davis (played by Kevin Costner) who is demoted to the minors to teach Nuke how to make it into the bigs.
I’m sure those of you have seen the movie recall Crash’s famous “I believe in the soul" speech, or the “I never told him to stay out of your bed” speech; however, I wonder how many of you remember Crash’s speech in the team locker room when he counseled Nuke about toenail fungus? Yes, toenail fungus! As Crash held up a pair of Nuke’s filthy, infected flip flops, he said ...
“Your shower shoes have fungus on them. You’ll never make it to the bigs with fungus on your shower shoes. Think classy, you’ll be classy. If you win 20 in the show, you can let the fungus grow back and the press’ll think you’re colorful. Until you win 20 in the show, however, it means you are a slob.”
Except for the last sentence, that quote is music to a podiatrist’s ears. By no means is anyone a slob who has toenail fungus, but anyone who has it faces an uphill battle to get rid of it. It’s a battle because fungus is everywhere in our environment. You can contract it walking barefoot at the pool, in a locker room or a shower stall. It can be in the carpet at a hotel room or on the floor in an airport as you walk through inspection. You can get it when you get a nail salon pedicure if the environment, supplies and instruments are not sanitized. It can even be lurking in your home or in your shoes.
I’m sure everyone who has this condition wishes there was a fast remedy, but there is no quick fix with conventional remedies like over the counter topical creams, prescription lacquers or oral medications. Each of these remedies is a long tedious process that works less than half the time. Many of the common advertisements you see on TV or in magazines are misleading. Efficacy rates are not always accurate, risks are sometimes understated and treatment costs can be higher than you think.
Until recently, getting rid of toenail fungus was nearly impossible. New developments in laser technology have changed this, and lasers are now considered to be the gold standard treatment for toenail fungus.
Some of the leading manufacturers of lasers for toenail fungus are Cutera, Pinpointe, Q-Clear and Aerolase. The lasers all function in a similar manner but vary in intensity, spot size and treatment protocol. Average treatment times range from 10 minutes to an hour. One to four treatments are required depending on the type of laser that is used and the severity of the infection. Excellent results have been achieved by podiatrists throughout the country. Improvement is seen in more than 70 to 75 percent of the patients with a cure rate of 60 to 65 percent. A clear nail begins to emerge in three to four months. It takes nine to 12 months for a totally new nail to emerge.
There are also other products that are often used in conjunction with laser treatments for added protection. These include the Keriflex Nail Restoration System and Sterishoe Ultraviolet Shoe Sanitizer.
The Keriflex Nail Restoration is a new advancement that allows the client to have natural looking cosmetic nails immediately following the first laser treatment. A series of treatments are applied to the existing nails until the new nail growth has completely cleared. The Sterishoe Ultraviolet Shoe Sanitizer is also a relatively new advancement that is used as added protection to kill bacteria associated with Athletes Foot and fungus. Each insert also includes a fan to dry the inside of the shoe dry during non-use.
If you are interested in seeking laser treatment, here are some helpful tips to guide your decisions:
* Select a practitioner who is an expert in foot care and provide you with a comprehensive blueprint to manage your condition and a realistic time frame.
* Confirm that the laser has been FDA approved for the treatment of Onychomycosis, not one that is used for off self-use.
* Review the manufacturer’s website to view before and after photographs.
* Locate a laser operator close to your residence.
* Select a practitioner with expertise in podiatric care and laser therapy.
* Confirm that the practitioner provides a full assessment, confirmation of Onychomycosis, and nail preparation prior to laser treatment.
* Ask your practitioner if they can provide the necessary supplies for care or a list of suppliers.
* Inquire about the number of treatments, intervals between treatments and if annual maintenance treatments are available.