The key is to keep the fungal spores under control.
Spores are basically the seeds from which toenail fungus grows. They are very durable. In fact, fungal spores can lay dormant for many years and still remain viable. Just place the spores in a warm, moist, dark environment and they will start to grow sprouting a new toe fungus infection.
The laser will effectively remove the fungus from your toenails, but that is only the first step.
The whole time you have had a fungal infection, you have been shedding fungal spores into your shoes and socks. Getting free of the spores is the best way to prevent the fungus from infecting your toenails again.
1. Wash all of your socks in hot water. This will get rid of the fungus and spores in your socks. Some people throw out all of their socks and replace them. But this isn’t really necessary.
2. Kill the fungus in your shoes. Use an antiseptic spray or an ultraviolet sanitizer to kill the spores and live fungus in your shoes. Bowling alleys have been doing this forever. They simply spray some toxic chemicals in the bowling shoes to kill all of the germs between rentals. Sprays like Lysol will work, but frankly they make your shoes smell like Lysol. So if you are going to try this, make sure you test it out on a pair of shoes you aren’t crazy about before you spray all of your shoes. The Steri-Shoe is a much nicer alternative. It uses ultraviolet light to destroy the live fungus and spores in your shoes. No smell, no toxic chemicals and no waiting to dry the shoes out. You can order one online at a discount here.
3. Watch out for and aggressively treat any athlete’s foot. The fungus that causes athlete’s foot is the same one that causes toenail fungus infections. Those little spots of peeling skin are the classic sign of athlete’s foot. Many people think that if the skin doesn’t itch, it isn’t athlete’s foot. This is false.
Every time I see a patient who wants the toenail fungus laser removal treatment I ask them if they ever get athlete’s foot. Less than 10% say yes. But about half of all the laser toenail patients actually have signs of an active case of athlete’s foot that they haven’t even noticed.
So it is possible that you could pick up a case of athlete’s foot and not realize it. You should check your feet every day. Look for peeling skin around the edge of the sole and between the toes.
If you get athletes foot, you are actually growing fungus between the layers of skin. As the skin peels, fungal spores are shed into your socks and shoes. Then all it takes is to bump your toenails on the inside of the shoe and those spores can get in again start another toenail fungus infection.
If you notice some athlete’s foot don’t panic. You can simply apply an over-the-counter cream for a couple of weeks to cure the skin infection. Of course you will want to use the Steri-shoe ultraviolet sanitizer in your shoes again and wash your socks in hot water, just like you did after the laser procedure.
Taking these simple precautions you will help ensure that your toes stay clear, healthy and fungus free! If you have a question about a toenail fungus infection, call the toenail fungus expert directly at 415-308-0833.
Dr. Christopher Segler is a San Francisco based podiatrist and is board certified, American Board of Podiatric Medicine. His practice provides house calls to people who are just too busy to sit in traffic or a doctor's office. He sees patients in their own homes to treat their toenail fungal infections with one of the newest lasers available. We do house calls in San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley, San Rafael, Mill Valley, San Mateo and San Jose. If you have a question about toenail fungus and wonder whether or not the laser fungus removal treatment will help you have clear toenails again, you can call and ask a toenail expert by calling 415-308-0833. And yes, you will actually get to speak with the doctor.