SOURCE: Heel and Foot Pain Center of Tampa Bay

June 17, 2010 16:17 ET

Putting the Spotlight on Toes Gets Rid of Fungus

Podiatrist Says New Laser Treatment Is Best Option for Fungal Nails

ST. PETERSBURG, FL--(Marketwire - June 17, 2010) -  A new laser treatment at the Heel and Foot Pain Center of Tampa Bay is bringing light to a very painful and embarrassing problem for people battling foot fungus.

Approximately 30 million Americans have onchomycosis or what's commonly known as nail fungus. Traditional treatments have involved topical antifungal solutions or oral medication. But a new laser treatment gives patients a more convenient, safe and cost effective solution.

"I've always been reluctant to recommend oral medication for nail fungus because of the expense and drug interaction risks involved," says Dr. Jeff Kopelman, a board certified podiatrist who runs the Heel and Foot Pain Center of Tampa Bay. "The laser is the best option available for this condition. The cost is the same or less than oral medication, there are virtually no side effects and it has shown to be effective in many patients."

Common symptoms of nail fungus include toenail discoloration, as well as brittle, odorous, thick and very difficult to trim nails. Most often the nail and the nail bed, which reaches down into the skin below, are infected. The fungus can be contagious and spread.

"You should not delay the treatment of fungus," says Dr. Kopelman. "The earlier you can catch the problem the less likely you will spread it to the other toes."

Dr. Kopelman says nail fungus is a common problem in Florida due to the hot, humid climate and active lifestyles. Over time nail fungus can cause permanent damage to your nail and nail bed and an infection can lead to more serious problems if you are diabetic or have a weak immune system. 

The laser treatment requires three, 15-30 minute outpatient office visits over the course of three months. The patient sits in a chair while the laser is applied in circular movements to heat the nail bed and kill the fungus. As the nail grows, the new nail is fungus free. The cost of the full treatment at Dr. Kopelman's office is approximately $500. Because the treatment has only been available in the United States for approximately one year, it is not covered by health insurance.

Dr. Kopelman says many patients have also experienced success with eliminating pain caused by plantar fasciitis, neuromas, tendonitis as well as most types of foot pain with the same laser. The laser is FDA approved for pain and treatment cost $250 for five sessions at the Heel and Foot Pain Center of Tampa Bay. Although relatively new to the United States, laser therapy has been widely utilized in Europe by medical professionals and has been the subject of thousands of published studies.

For more information or to schedule a consultation, call 727-321-4040 or visit: www.toebiz.com.

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