Nail Fungus Summary

I’ve written a lot over the years about the nail fungus I have. Here’s a summary of what I’ve learned. For a lot more, you can search my blog.

I hope that even if this doesn’t solve your nail problems, it let’s you know what’s going on. That can be a relief in itself.

Over-the-counter topicals at your local pharmacy for about $20 sometimes clear up nail fungus, maybe 30% of the time. The ingredient in those products is usually undecylenic acid. Lamisil (or the generic terbinafine) topical ($30) or oral ($2000) is one drug that has better than average results. Going to a podiatrist and getting drugs, or getting your nail ripped out, or both ($50-$3000) might work. There are a couple types of nail fungus, the main classes being dermatophytes and candida. Drugs for one type usually don’t affect the other so it’s helpful to keep a list of what you’ve tried. Laser treatments seem to be about 25% effective; many report a clearing in the first year and then a return after 2 years or so.

For me, oral Lamisil cured most of my nails with 6 months of treatment in 2006 (13 years ago). My right big toe nail still grows wrong and hurts every few months. To remedy, I shorten the nail (with some pain) with nail clippers and the pain goes away in a few days. I make sure to spray a lot of Lamisil topical on me and the equipment to hopefully keep the possibility of spreading the infection to a minimum. I don’t actually know if there is still an infection under the nail.

There’s lots of home-brew topicals that seem to work moderately well… probably a 30% chance of curing your toes. They might work for you, or not. In my case, all of the following appeared to “help” but none got rid of my infection: undecylenic acid, Selsun Blue shampoo, tea tree oil, vinegar on a cotton ball, vapo-rub (I haven’t tried), grapeseed extract. The Selsun Blue helped a lot because it’s inexpensive enough to rub on my whole foot to knock out athelete’s foot and possibly the nail infection.

Sadly, modern science doesn’t have a guaranteed cure for nail fungus. Anyone who says otherwise is selling you snake oil.

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