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Got Fungus? Get Treated!

Onychomycosis is a common fungal infection of the nails, most often the toenails. Risk factors include increasing age, diabetes, nail trauma, hyperhidrosis, peripheral vascular disease, poor hygiene, tinea pedis, immunodeficiencies and chronic exposure of nails to water.

Recent research documented a relationship among smoking, peripheral arterial disease and onychomycosis. Studies have reported the prevalence of onychomycosis to be 8 percent to 9 percent in the general population. Data obtained from a multi-center survey suggest that 26 percent of diabetics have evidence of toenail onychomycosis. The prevalence among 40- to 60-year-olds is 15 percent to 20 percent, with men being more likely to have onychomycosis than women.

Dystrophic changes of the nail include thickness, discoloration and loosening of the nail plate from the nail bed. Nail discomfort also is a feature of onychomycosis.

Onychomycosis is often chronic and recalcitrant to treatment. Systemic and prescription topical preparations are expensive, and some are not covered by insurance. The use of certain systemic agents may require monitoring of liver function tests, and patients with liver disease often cannot take these medications. Patients with liver disease should not take these medications. Because many patients with onychomycosis are not considered good candidates for systemic treatment due to finances, age or underlying health conditions, more conservative measures may be considered.

Vinegar, Vicks VapoRub and many other topical creams and ointments are frequently mentioned as home remedies for fungal conditions of the nails and skin. However, the efficacy of these products is very low at the best.

There is limited data available to suggest that vinegar is effective in reducing or eliminating growth of certain bacteria, although it is unclear how long the effect persists and whether long-term use produces irritating, toxic or allergic reactions. Data that address the efficacy of vinegar against fungi are lacking.

Nonetheless, a diluted white vinegar solution is mentioned descriptively in medical and nursing literature as a treatment for toenail fungus and athlete’s foot. The most often recommended mixture is one part vinegar to two parts warm water. Soaking feet for 15 to 20 minutes daily, rinsing and patting dry is typically suggested. However, long-term use is contraindicated due to the potential for skin irritation.

Patients with deformed nails should get proper medical care. If left untreated onychomycosis may lead to serious complications, chronic discomfort and pain, and affect the overall quality of life.

Nail’n’Toe has a network of doctors specializing in the treatment of nail fungus (onychomycosis). Our providers use a proprietary treatment protocol, which combines advanced medical technologies, including light-based devices, reliable medicine and preventive regimen, to achieve the highest cure rate for patients with fungus.

Contact Nail’n’Toe to schedule a free consultation with a provider near you.

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