Fungal toenail infection
October 15, 2013 10:57 AM   Subscribe

I have toenail infection and I feel my feet also have a bad smell. I am seeing tommorow a podiatrist but I am reluctant to accept antiviral treatment cause it affects the liver. What is your experience? Did you remove the nail?
posted by barexamfreak to Science & Nature (23 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
When I had a toenail fungus I was given a prescription for an antifungal nail polish that I painted on the affected nail every day for a few months. I liked it because it was topical, not systemic, and it was also cheaper than the pill, which my insurance did not cover because it was a toenail (apparently it did cover fingernails. )
posted by rabbitrabbit at 11:00 AM on October 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

Removing the nail is pretty extreme, as are the oral medications. Most likely your podiatrist will recommend something topical, like a gel or a polish, and trim up your nail quite a bit but not remove it. You'll have to go to a number of follow-up appointments until it looks like the nail is growing back fully and healthily.
posted by Papagayo at 11:03 AM on October 15, 2013

There are lots of treatments and folk remedies but the bottom line is, this fungus is basically impossible to get rid of. I tried the antifungal medicine years ago. It got rid of the appearance, nails seemed normal, but after stopping the meds it came right back.
posted by beagle at 11:07 AM on October 15, 2013

Seconding the polish. If you use it consistently, it works. Source: personal experience.
posted by michellenoel at 11:07 AM on October 15, 2013 [2 favorites]

Yo check it out, Vick's Vapor rub totally works. Source: personal experience. Also, this thread.
posted by too bad you're not me at 11:22 AM on October 15, 2013 [4 favorites]

Selsun blue anti dandruff shampoo has an antifungal in it, when my mother mentioned to her podiatrist how expsensive the antifungal cream was he told her to just rub that on it,it has an antifungal in it. It worked just as well as the creams she'd used for previous outbreaks. He recommended using it until the infected part grows out to make sure you get it all. You will most likely be given a cream/paint of some sort and similar instructions for the fungal infection.
posted by wwax at 11:24 AM on October 15, 2013

I beat toenail fungus without using a systemic anti-fungal OR removing the nail. This was several years ago, so I don't remember everything about my treatment, but it involved:

1. Filing down the nail (very crumbly) and putting on Vicks Vapo Rub
2. Using tea tree oil (I think) or some type of tea tree oil preparation on the nail
3. Using Lotrimin or some other type of OTC anti-fungal cream
4. Spraying my shoes with anti-fungal spray every day
5. Once a week, soaking my foot in water with bleach

It took about 3 months to go away, but it did. It was confined to one nail, and it wasn't my big toenail. I have never had trouble since. I don't have a compromised immune system, though, or trouble (generally) getting better from any infections, so if any of that applies to you, your doctor may have a different plan for you.

I believe some podiatrists also offer laser therapy for toenail fungus. And if you don't like the plan your podiatrist proposes, I'd urge you to get a second opinion, maybe even from a dermatologist. Best of luck.
posted by FergieBelle at 11:27 AM on October 15, 2013 [3 favorites]

I was given the oral prescription (Lamictal), took it, toenail fixed, nothing bad happened. I know Lamictal can be pretty intense, but I was about 21 at the time and in good health and my doctor said he usually prescribed it to young people because it usually ended up being no big deal. Hmm. *shrug*
posted by stoneandstar at 11:43 AM on October 15, 2013

Vicks Vapor rub, applied topically. My DOCTOR is the one who recommended it.

It takes some time, but it works.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 12:57 PM on October 15, 2013 [3 favorites]

stoneandstar, Lamictal is an anticonvulsant and bipolar med. I don't think they prescribe it for fungus. Maybe spellcheck messed up?
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 12:58 PM on October 15, 2013 [2 favorites]

I think stoneandstar might have meant Lamisil (terbinafine).
posted by M. at 1:02 PM on October 15, 2013 [2 favorites]

YAG laser treatments for nail fungal infections are apparently an option now, according to a podiatrist I walk by.
posted by IAmBroom at 1:18 PM on October 15, 2013

If the doctor gives you medication, it will likely be topical antifungal. Even if it's oral it will still be antifungal, not antiviral.
posted by radioamy at 1:36 PM on October 15, 2013 [4 favorites]

In order to be successful in the long-term, you also have to treat your footwear religiously. Make sure that you're not reinfecting yourself with contaminated shoes.
posted by quince at 2:33 PM on October 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

I am but one anecdotal data point, but when I had toenail fungus, I tried all the non-medical cures - vaporub, tea tree oil, etc - and none of them worked. I took Lamisil for three months, had no side effects/lasting issues whatsoever, and my toes are back to their non-fungal normal self.
posted by pdb at 3:06 PM on October 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

I took lamisil and it cleared it right up in six weeks with no side effects. It's an antifungal not an antiviral. I saw a dermatologist. She wasn't worried about the miniscule risk of liver issues since I don't drink. I had tried all the other stuff for over a decade and nothing else worked.
posted by Violet Hour at 3:50 PM on October 15, 2013

Lamisil was effective and not a big deal, in my experience
posted by J. Wilson at 4:04 PM on October 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

A friend's mother took Lamisil for a fungal infection, not sure whether it was a toenail infection or not. She totally lost her sense of taste, that was a few years ago and still hasn't returned properly. It really affected her.
posted by derbs at 4:11 PM on October 15, 2013

I have had an icky toenail for ten years. For a couple of months, I've been putting Curad Silver Solution (like neosporin but with silver) on it, and it finally seems to be clearing up.
posted by Comet Bug at 7:43 PM on October 15, 2013

Vicks Vaporub applied liberally worked for me. Can't hurt to try.
posted by cynicalidealist at 7:44 PM on October 15, 2013

Also here to suggest Vicks Vapor rub! It worked for me. I soaked my foot in warm water filed the nail (somewhat aggressively), applied Vicks Vapor rub and a bandaid. I did this every other night or so for about a week. Magically gone!
posted by W.S (disambiguation) at 9:55 PM on October 15, 2013

I see it as two choices: pop the nail off and go topical, or keep the nail and go oral. Topical treatments aren't great at getting under the nail. Oral treatments have more side effects but can be effective without removing the nail. Pick your combo.

Personally, I'd get your podiatrist to pop your nail off. It has likely only been holding on by a thread anyhow, and while pretty disgusting to see, getting it off isn't painful. Also take some "hair and nails" vitamins, so your nails will grow faster and stronger. Be vigilant with the topical treatments. If this doesn't work, you can go back for the oral route.

The third option, which I was surprised my doctor mentioned, was just living with it. Its doesn't affect your health, its just ugly, and its such a trouble to get rid of, it might not be worth the effort. I wasn't ready to accept that, but its an option too.

And a related tidbit: Ciclopirox, the topical antifungal polish might help understand how to stop HIV from reproducing.
posted by fontophilic at 6:03 AM on October 16, 2013

Try oil of oregano (NOT oregano essential oil) without any olive oil added to it. It is expensive (around £20 - £25 for a very small container in the UK), but well worth it. Just put it on and between your toes.
posted by Ms. Moonlight at 12:05 PM on October 16, 2013

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