Never Hide Your Feet Again – With Laser Technology, Unsightly Toenails Can Be A Thing Of The Past

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Onychomycosis (pronounced ony-ko-my-koh-sis) is the medical term for the fungal nail infections affecting more than 800 million people globally at any one time. The fungus (or dermatophyte) which causes this infection, needs a warm, moist environment to thrive, and for this reason onychomycosis is more common in the feet than hands (feet are normally tucked away in socks/tights/closed shoes that don’t allow air to circulate). So where do these fungi come from? They are naturally present in the environment, along with other pathogens. Dermatophytes cause infections of the skin, hair and nails, and live by feeding on the keratin (protein) present in these hosts.

Symptoms of nail fungus

Flaky, brittle nails that may be discoloured (yellowish or black), or thickened. The nail may even lift off the nail bed. Left without treatment the condition will only worsen. The appearance of the toenail fungus can make people hide their feet in socks and wear closed shoes. This condition is embarrassing for many.   



Dermatophytes can get into the nail via untreated infections like Athlete’s foot or trauma to the nail/nail bed. Also, wet areas like communal washrooms are a haven for spreading infections. Once dermatophytes reach the nail bed, they live there, shielded by the impervious nail. This is what makes toenail infections so difficult to treat. To reduce the risk of infections, keep feet clean and dry at all times, change socks and hosiery often, cut nails straight across. Wear open toed shoes where possible. Treat any suspected infections immediately. 




Common treatments range from ‘home-made’ remedies like vinegar and tea tree oil, to over-the-counter topical treatments of antifungal cream and toenail paint. Most people prefer topical solutions as they are non-invasive and carry little risk of side effects. However, where these remedies prove ineffective, as in the case of severe infections, a doctor may prescribe oral therapy. The drawback with oral therapy is that it carries the risk of (reversible) liver damage, and you’ll have to get your blood tested regularly over the course of the treatment (usually 3 months). Until three years ago, topical and oral treatments were the only certified methods for treatment of this fungus. Success wasn’t guaranteed either.


Beauchamp Foot Care


Now enter laser therapy for the treatment of fungal nail infections. The all-clear for this alternative was granted by the FDA – first in the US, then since 2009, in Europe. This can only mean laser will continue to become more widely implemented as a safe and viable method of tackling onychomycosis. In the UK, Beauchamp Foot Care was one of the first clinics to treat toenail fungus this way. They are also the first clinic (as opposed to beauty salon) to offer a pedicure. To give an idea of Beauchamp staff’s pedigree, their already qualified podiatrists undertook specialist training in the US prior to being ceritfied to offer this treatment. The clinic is 16 years established, with its practitioners having more than 20 years experience. Beauchamp’s formidable reputation means prospective patrons can rest assured they’ll be in good hands. 



For nail infections, the Beauchamp Foot Care clinic uses the PinPointe FootLaser, a machine painstakingly developed over two decades by leading US scientists and medics. This mobile machine with LED displays sports a tube with a wand attached at the end. This wand delivers light near the infra red spectrum via its tip, directly to the nails. Each pass of the wand covers a width of just 1mm – ‘pinpoint’ accuracy, as the name suggests. There is no discomfort during the treatment (except for a gentle warming sensation), and the best thing about this therapy is that the heat from the light, which is at 20 degrees Celsius, kills the pathogens that cause the fungus. Additionally there is no medication to take, no surgical invasion of the body, and no downtime after treatment. You are simply refreshed with a new pair of socks or hosiery and off you go! Ladies can wear nailpolish immediately afterwards too. A follow-up treatment after four to six months is included in the cost.   

The Procedure


An initial consultation is free. Many of the clinic’s clients are men, as closed footwear provides the right environment for any present fungi to thrive. On entering the clinic you’ll be asked to fill out a form detailing your medical history. The podiatrist then assesses your feet (or hands) and explains any condition they find you to have. If they feel you’ll be a suitable candidate for the Pinpointe FootLaser, they’ll explain how it works and what to expect post-treatment. Treatment can take up to one hour for both feet. The only down side to laser therapy is the cost, £500 for one foot or £750 for both. Results aren’t immediate either, as toenails can take up to twelve months to grow out. However, signs of improved nail appearance are usually noticeable within three months. As with any treatment, a 100% success rate cannot be guaranteed. 



Simply Woman’s patient visited the clinic recently and received laser therapy for infection of three toenails. In addition to the laser, she was given easy-to-follow advice on foot aftercare, and a ‘goody bag’ comprising nail files and antifungal creams for athlete’s foot. Our patient will return for a second treatment in four months, when we’ll be delighted to report our findings! 



For the clinic’s website and prices, including a special Spring offer of 20% off selected laser treatments see Beauchamp Foot Care (also known as Beauchamp Foot and Nail Laser Clinic) is based in fashionable Knightsbridge.  


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