Unsightly nail fungus doesn’t have to stop you from flaunting your feet

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Dr. Danielle L. Shaper, founder of Finesse Footcare in Lyndhurst, researched breakthrough laser technology to get rid of nail fungus and discovered the non-thermal Lunula laser. She’s one of just a handful of practitioners to offer it. (Photography: Benjamin Margalit)

By Patricia Nugent

In the past, treating the unsightly and pervasive condition of toenail fungus was hit or miss.

There are oral medications, which can have side effects, and topical medications, which often produce mediocre results on their own because they don’t effectively penetrate the nail bed.

Fungus is more than just unappealing to look at. Left untreated, it can lead to a slew of other more dangerous issues, such as cellulitis, a bacterial infection that can enter the bloodstream.

Dr. Danielle L. Shaper, founder of Finesse Footcare in Lyndhurst, researched breakthrough laser technology and discovered promising data. She ended up bringing the non-thermal Lunula laser to the Cleveland area two years ago. Today, she is still one of a handful of podiatrists in Ohio to offer it, and since word has spread about its success rate, it’s become a specialty of hers that she never really planned on happening. An average of 13 new patients each week come to Finesse looking for toenail fungus treatment. To keep up with demand, last year she purchased a second laser.

With no pain or downtime, the patient simply places his or her feet under the laser for 12 minutes. In most cases, six weekly treatments are recommended.

“It feels rewarding to be able to help my patients get rid of their fungus issues through this FDA-cleared laser,” she says. “Coupling the laser with topical treatment seems to increase how fast it works.”

Meet Diane Y.
After contracting a fungus infection following a pedicure several years ago, Diane Y. of Euclid suffered with a toenail that was discolored and misshapen.

“I had had a cracked nail and the person at the salon put a tip over it,” she explains. “When the tip came off, there was fungus underneath. I let it go and it was getting worse. So, when I heard about the success rate of Dr. Shaper’s laser, I finally decided to give it a try. After the treatments, the nail cleared up and a healthy nail grew out. Dr. Shaper was pleasant and professional to see, telling me about the treatment and what to expect every step of the way.”

To say the least, this is the first summer sandal season Diane is looking forward to in a long time.

Tips for Preventing Fungus
As with many conditions, toenail fungus is easier to prevent than treat. Dr. Shaper offers these helpful tips:

• Keep your feet dry by changing socks frequently
• Always wear swim shoes in public pools
• Fungus is highly contagious. If a member of your family suffers from it, wear swim shoes in the shower and sanitize it with spray between uses
• If you go to a salon to get your nails done, always bring your own nail polish, as fungus can easily be spread through nail techs reusing the same polish bottle from customer to customer.

“It’s surprising how many more people I treat now for fungus,” says Dr. Shaper. “It used to occur primarily in older patients, but I’m treating patients in their teens and 20s. No matter your age, fungus is something you want to catch in the bud. The longer you put off treatment, the more difficult it will be to get rid of.”

In addition to toenail fungus, she treats foot and ankle issues ranging from ingrown toenails to bunions, hammertoes, plantar fasciitis, corns, warts, calluses, sprained ankles, heel pain and spurs, and offers diabetic footcare. Through state-of-the-art digital X-rays, Dr. Shaper can get a clear picture of the structure of patients’ feet and help in pinpointing a diagnosis.

Finesse Footcare is located at 5035 Mayfield Road in Lyndhurst. Same-day appointments are usually available. Call 216-382-8070 or visit FinesseFootcare.com for more information.