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Fungal nail disease affects up to 14 per cent of adults.
It's caused by a fungus that feeds on keratin, a protein in your nails.
The fungus likes moist places such as showers and locker rooms.
If you think you have nail fungus, look out for these tell-tale signs.
Capital Podiatry pioneered laser therapy in Canberra. Since we started offering the service in late 2012 we have treated hundreds of patients.
Laser therapy is the best way to treat nails infected with fungus.
Depending on how severe your condition is, we recommend two or three treatments four to six weeks apart.
This is because if any fungal spores remain after the first treatment, we want to kill them quickly so they have no chance to reinfect the nail.
We also recommend laser therapy because of the feedback we've received from our patients. Many of our patients have told us that they tried prescription medication and paints for several months without success.
We slowly trace a laser beam across every one of your toenails for several minutes. We work across each nail in a close cross-hatch pattern.
The laser beam generates heat in the nail and in the fungal colony.
Your nail will feel warm but this feeling quickly fades.
We use a formula to work out how long we need to spend on each nail. The formula is based on the size of your nail and the progress of your infection.
The procedure is safe and you won't need anaesthestics.
We treat every one of your nails because if one of your nails is infected, there's a good chance that your other nails are also infected. After all, they're all together in the same sock or the same shoe.
You can wear your shoes and socks immediately after the procedure.
Nails grow slowly so it can take several months to see the nail resuming healthy growth.
It can take 10-12 months for the nail to grow back as good as new.
Our patients typically see new pink, healthy growth starting from the base of the nail.
Of course, the best thing is to avoid getting a fungus infection in the first place.
It's hard to avoid fungus altogether, because it's embedded in carpets, sports shoes, locker room showers and other common places.
Some risk factors for nail infections are difficult, if not impossible, to change. You're more likely to develop a nail infection if you live in a hot, humid climate, for example. You're also more at risk if you have a health problem such as diabetes that affects your circulatory system.
But other risk factors can sometimes be avoided, such as: