About 40 million people in the United States suffer from nail fungus. Toenail fungus is one of the most common, if not the most common, condition seen in my office regardless if people are seeking treatment for it or not. Nails are thick, discolored, and, cosmetically, are unappealing. Women don’t like to wear sandals because of the appearance of the nail or nails. People who have access to pools or beaches are embarrassed by the appearance of the nails. The fungus infection takes a long time to get, and a long time to get rid of. Unfortunately, there is no quick fix.
I have heard about every remedy from soaking the feet in bleach or vinegar to applying tea tree oil. There are multiple treatments available from prescriptions to topicals, which means there isn’t one ideal treatment. When you peel the onion, and look at the statistics, topical medications, whether prescription, over-the-counter, or herbal, have a success rate of 2-4%. Oral medications, i.e. Lamisil or terbinafine, have a 60-70% success rate, but have potential side effects in the liver, although rare. The medication has unfairly been labeled because of the potential liver toxicity but being in practice for 14 years, I haven’t experienced one side effect with the liver with this product.
A new treatment option available is laser treatment, and comes with considerable cost. Ultimately, the success rate is similar to treatment with the oral medications and that is from one podiatrist who treats with the laser. The cost is about $1000, and there is the risk of reinfection like with any other treatment. No long-term studies exist that conclude the laser is any more effective than the oral medications.
Just a reminder that the infection is fairly well confined to the nails and won’t get in your bloodstream or cause other medical problems. When deciding if to treat, and what treatment option to pursue, consider safety, cost, and effectiveness.
If you are suffering from toenail fungus, come see me & let me suggest treatment. Call the office to make your appointment: 303.659.5950