Case in Pointe

Painless, in-office laser treatment corrects toenail fungus.

When a two-liter bottle of soda fell out of a grocery bag and onto her right big toe one summer day several years back, Sandy Oliver knew it would take a while for the resulting cracked toenail to heal and look normal again.
She just didn’t expect the healing process to take more than 20 years.

Photos by Jordan Pysz.

Sandy Oliver

“This all started at a water park in Texas,” Sandy relates. “I had taken my kids there for the day, and when this bottle of soda fell out of the sack, I wasn’t wearing anything on my feet, so my toe wasn’t protected at all. Let me tell you, that really hurt.

“What happened later is that a fungus got in there, so even after that big toe healed, it still wasn’t right. It became all black and then the fungus spread to some other toes. It got so bad that it hurt to wear shoes, which made it hard to walk.”

The situation eventually forced Sandy to visit a podiatrist, who prescribed an oral antifungal medication. The medication eliminated the fungus, but it also made Sandy feel ill. She felt worse when the fungus returned a few months later.

Reluctant to try another medication, Sandy tolerated the fungus and its effects for years. It wasn’t until after she moved to Florida and read about a laser treatment performed at Sarasota Foot and Ankle Center that she once again sought medical aid.

Weapon of Choice

“Sandy first came to us a little more than a year ago wanting to try our PinPointe™ FootLaser® therapy, which is my preferred weapon of choice in the battle against toenail fungus,’’ says Dawn Chiu, DPM, at Sarasota Foot and Ankle Center.

“I prefer it because unlike oral medications, which can upset a person’s stomach the way they did with Sandy, the laser treatment kills the underlying fungus without causing side effects, and there’s no need for the patient to take a blood test beforehand.”

Before and after images courtesy of Sarasota Foot and Ankle Center.The in-office laser treatment lasts only a few minutes, during which time the laser is passed over the nail in a crisscross pattern to ensure full coverage. Patients usually feel a warm sensation on their toe while the laser treatment is in progress, but no pain.

Afterward, patients can resume normal activities. When combined with topical ointments, the laser treatment has an 80 percent success rate. Sandy, who had the treatment performed on all of her toes in November 2017, is factored into that success rate.

“My toes look and feel great again, and I’m really happy about that because I moved to Florida to be near the beach,’’ Sandy exudes. “I love the white sand beaches and the blue water of the west coast, and now, I can really enjoy them.

“I’m so glad I found this treatment because I was thinking I was going to have to put up with that fungus problem forever.
Dr. Chiu and her staff couldn’t be more professional and kind. They’re all great, and I highly recommend them and the laser treatment.”

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