Laser for Ugly Toenail Syndrome

A New Laser Treatment for Ugly Toenail Syndrome

Ugly toenail syndrome is a common condition estimated to affect up to 10% of the population worldwide. The nails can be thick and yellow or discolored. As the infection advances the nail can become thicker, brittle and separate from the nail bed. It can also cause pain when wearing shoes or walking.

How does Laser Treatment work?

Laser light passes through the nail and the surrounding tissue. The laser light is absorbed by pigment in the organisms, which causes the pigment to heat, and this heat kills or damages the organism. This can result in your nail growing normally.

What can you expect?

The treatment involves passing the laser beam over the infected nails and surrounding skin. Your physician will repeat this several times until enough energy has reached the nail bed. Your nail will feel warm during the treatment.

Treatment Time: A single treatment session can take approximately 10-15 minutes to treat 5-10 toenails. Treatment times will vary.

Number of Treatments: 2 treatment sessions are performed 2 months apart.

Pre-treatment Preparation: It is important to remove all nail polish and nail decorations the day before the procedure. If you have thick nails, you will need to come in prior to laser treatment to have the nails thinned out.

During treatment: Most patients describe the procedure as being comfortable with a small hot pinch at the end that resolves quickly.

After Treatment: Immediately following the procedure your nail may feel warm for a few minutes. Patients can resume normal activities immediately.

Long-term Care: As the nail grows you will see new, healthy toenails. Toenails grow SLOWLY, so it may take up to 12 months to see an entirely clear toenail. Hygiene is the key to preventing reinfection. You will receive after care instructions to help minimize the chance of reinfection.

Will the Syndrome Come Back?

Your nail infection should improve following treatment but you will need to continue with home care techniques to reduce recurrence of the infection as advised by your doctor. There is a chance of re-infection because the fungus is present everywhere around you in the environment.

We will make recommendations to:

  • Sanitize your shoes- Use UV light Sterishoe devices, or over the counter (OTC) fungal shoe spray to sanitize your shoes.
  • Place your shoes in the freezer – Yes, you read that right. Place your shoes in a zip lock bag and place them in the freezer for 12 hrs.  (DO NOT do this for leather or expensive shoes for they may get damaged.) Do this weekly for your shoes worn during the week.
  • Cycle you shoes– Alternate shoes daily. Do not wear the same pair two or more days in a row.
  • Treat your skin at the first notice of athletes foot- Use over the counter anti-fungal creams to prevent re-infection of your toenails. Fungal infections can spread from your skin back to your toenails.
  • Use of topical anti-fungal liquid- This may be necessary if your toenails starts to show signs of discoloration.
  • Avoid walking barefoot in public places such as swimming pools, spas, gyms, etc.
  • Do not share shoes with others
  • Always wear socks and change them daily or twice a day if your feet sweat a lot.
  • Seek immediate treatment for ALL fungal infections of the nail or skin after you first notice them.
  • Wash your feet DAILY – clean and dry between the toes.


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