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Advice about Nail Fungus

Berkeley Parents Network > Advice > Advice about Health > Advice about Nail Fungus


Treatment for Nail Fungus Living with Nail Fungus Related Pages

Seeking dermatologist for toe fungus treatment

April 2013

I'm seeking recommendations for a dermatologist to treat my persistent toenail fungus. Please don't recommend Dr. Anna Sorkin; after reading positive reviews of her on BPN, I saw her for regular treatment for over a year, with no improvement (in fact, the condition worsened). If anyone can recommend another doc who has successfully treated toenail fungus, I'd appreciate it. Trying Again


I was incredibly pleased with my nail fungus treatment at Isis Skin & Body on Broadway in Oakland. I have seen the doctor for other things and she is great and they also have an amazing RN who does laser treatments as well (she did mine). It has been a year since I did my treatment and my nails are beautiful. Although I do understand there are a certain # of people who do need more than one treatment. Isis is also really peaceful and relaxing and everyone is professional and knowledgeable. Good luck! TonyT
I don't have a rec for a doc, but have you tried Tea Tree oil? It worked great on my son's toes. It took about a month of applying daily but hasn't returned - and that was several years ago. anon

Laser nail fungus treatments?

Aug 2011

Hi. I am wondering if I can get a recommendation for doctors that do laser nail fungus treatment. If you had it, did you find it successful? Did your insurance cover it? Was it painful? I would appreciate any information about your experience with your treatment. Thanks Sad nails


Hi, I got my toe done at the Berkeley office of the Bay Area Foot & Laser Podiatry Group run by Dr. Mark Wolpa. Insurance doesn't cover it (I have Anthem) but I could pay for it with my flexible spending account. It's quick and painless and it worked. I'm happy to talk more about it if you'd like. Good luck! NoMoreFungus
I went to Dr. Elizabeth Lee (artfulsurgery.com). She is amazing. Since she is a plastic surgeon her laser is very advanced. The treatment did not hurt and was very effective for my nail fungus. The treatment is not covered by insurance, but she charged a very fare price. No more nail fungus! Kristina

Laser toenail treatment for nail fungus?

Oct 2010

Has anyone done laser treatment for toenail fungus? If so I'd love to know if it was successful, how long it took and if the price was worth it. Also, if you have somewhere to recommend. Thanks.


A couple of years ago I went to Barefoot Laser in Hayward (I live in Berkeley - this was the closest one at that time). I dropped $1,000. for this procedure. I had severely discolored/disfigured toenails. I just looked at their website again and see this (same thing it said before I signed up): ''Board-licensed medical professionals.'' Please note that this DOES NOT SAY nor MEAN ''podiatrist'', although a wishful thinker like myself might read ''podiatrist'' into that line.

That Barefoot Laser office, including the room where the procedure was done, had a CARPET on the floor. The doctor, A RETIRED EMERGENCY ROOM DOCTOR (I'm sorry to be yelling, but I guess I have a lot of unexpressed anger about this whole scene) was not enjoying himself. He filed my toenails down with a grinder - the dust was flying everywhere, including onto the carpet, onto myself, onto him. He then applied the laser and overheated a couple of spots (not quite burned but really HOT). I then was told to apply a particular anti-fungal cream for a specified amount of time, which I did. I also was to go back for a follow-up at an extra charge, which I did not do, because I felt like such a sap.

It did not work one iota!!! My toenails have gotten progressively worse. I feel like I was taken in by snake oil salesmanship. I hope someone at some point files a class action suit, if this has not worked for others. I would love all of my money back.

I would say don't do it, but maybe my case was an anamoly. Ugh!!!


I've had fungal toenails since 1997. I first noticed my pinky toe on my right looking weird. Asked my MD about it at the time, and he said it was fungus, and that it would eventually spread to ALL of my toes. At the time, I was recovering from Hepatitis A, and so he wouldn't treat me with Lamisil. I had horrible Athlete's Foot, which is what brought on the Fungus in the toenails, I believe. I should have treated the AF more seriously.

Fast forward 8-9 years, it had spread to 8 out of 10 toes. I read all the home remedies I could find. I soaked my toes in white vinegar every night for a year. No difference. I painted my toenails with grapefruit extract for another year. No difference. I went to a podiatrist and had my toenails ground down, and applied the provided ''fungoid tincture'' for a year. NO difference. So last year I went to another podiatrist who touts this ''laser therapy'' as the be-all end-all for toenail fungus. I spent about $1500 for two laser treatments six months apart, and a ''Steri Shoe'' shoe sanitizer that's supposed to kill the fungus that lives in your shoes and re-infects your feet every time you put them on (!) .

The results of two laser treatments and the steri-shoe? ONE toenail was mildly improved. ONE. It was a total waste of my money. Finally after 13 summers without going barefoot in the sand or at the pool, I decided to give the lamisil a try. It's been 5 weeks and guess what? Clear nails are already growing in. I hope my experience helps you. going sandal shopping in the spring!


I'm only posting this because the email said no one has answered at all. I have not tried laser toenail treatment. But I did have the fungus and my doctor's nurse told me to buy Tea Tree Oil. She said use a nail file to rough up the surface of the nail every morning and evening. Then put a few drops of Tea Tree oil on the nail. It took several months but it worked. hope this helps
My dad had really bad toenails infected with that fungus. His feet looked terrible. He went in to have the treatment done and this is what he said about it:

''Bottom line, I've seen definite improvement, but no cure yet on the worst nails. It does feel like I'm making progress though. When I started I had six toes badly infected, two partly infected, and two ok. The two partly infected are clear now. The others have clearer margins and I think the area of infection is smaller. So I'm glad I went.''

I asked my mom about it too and she was very enthusiastic saying she was annoyed he had let his feet get that bad and that they look much better. I think my dad must be one of the more extreme cases because I have never seen toes like that before. Meredith


My 20 year old son had the toe-nail fungus laser treatment done in September, so it is too soon to know if it will be effective (though he says his toenails look better). He had tried so many alternative treatments over the past few years, everything but internal medication, so we finally splurged. The treatment is expensive........$1000. I will post more about our results in another few months when we see progress (or not). He had it done with Jennifer Barlow, DPM who works with Mark Wolpa, DPM. They have offices in several locations, but we did the procedure at the Berkeley office. #849-3800. I was with him during the procedure. The office is clean, staff is professional and friendly, and there was a ''vacuum'' attached to the grinder/file so dust was not flying everywhere, as one of the recent poster wrote about her experience elsewhere. They gave him slippers to wear when walking in the office, so his feet did not touch the carpet. I did research beforehand and the only valid laser for toenail fungus is the pinpoint laser....it is a warm/hot laser. I also called the Better Business Bureau to see what they had to say about this treatment (very little). Stay posted! mel

Advice in treating toenail fungus

Oct 2008

Hi, I went to a podiatrist about my toenail fungus, which is bad and getting worse. He prescribed terbinafine/Lamasil and stressed that it was a lot safer than people think it is. Most of what I'd read had to do with the impact it can have on the liver -- and I actually do believe that I'm not considered in a high-risk category for that. However, I've been looking more closely at the other possible side effects, and they're disconcerting to say the least.

My GP has always urged me not to take the medicine. And, in a perfect world, I wouldn't. But, in a perfect world, I wouldn't have toes that gross me out. To add to the horror of it, I now have a terrible case of athlete's foot! So, taking a medicine that would take care of both these issues IS pretty appealing. But the fact that I have both these conditions makes me wonder if my immune system is not at its strongest, either.

Ack -- I don't know what to do.

If anyone's been in a similar boat, I would love to hear what you decided to do, and how it turned out. Unhappy feet


Hi There, I also suffer from toenail fungus and athlete's foot. The two are related and make me so embarrassed to show my feet. I tried all the topical stuff to no avail. I considered the lamisil but my mom did two rounds of it and had no improvement. For the past 4 weeks I've been applying a 50/50 mixture of 3% Hydrogen Peroxide and Bragg's Apple Cider VInegar. I am seeing a noticeable improvement. It is not cured but I think it is being beaten back significantly. I would rather live with a slight discoloration than put that poison in my bod! Good Luck! anon
You can try to get a second opinion. My husband and I went to see Dr. Ana Sorkin for athlete's foot and toe fungus. She said that the fungus for the foot and the nails is the same. She prescribed a cream for the foot and fungoid tincture for the nails and we went in regularly where she trimmed and filed the toes. Mine went away in a month and my husband's, which was worse, was gone in under 12 months. I'd try that first. She's in Oakland. anon
I have the worst toe nail fungus ever. I could have written your post. Beginning to describe my fungus (on 4 toes) as Shrek-like. I have been going to a chinese doctor, Dr. Ou, on Grand Street in Oakland, as of 10 days ago. He has me on a strict regimen of some kinds of chinese herbs, boiled in a gallon of vinegar for a week's supply, soaking for 30 minutes 2x a day (blow drying with hair dryer), and a tea 2x a day. Also, recommended that I boil my socks once a week --don't know if bleach could help...and washing shoes once a week and completely drying them in sun. Sun kills spores but heat like a dryer doesn't--you need to remove spores which can lay dorment for a long time and come to life with moisture. He urged a complete cleaning of towels, mats, etc. after every use. I'm going to use paper towels for feet soon. I am starting to use a half cup of bleach in all my laundry------and I sun dry my clothes anyway. Bleach spray or vinegar spray on shower regularly (that's mine and not doctors) Don't know where I got the energy for this plan, but I usually soak my feet while at the computer, and it's my last chance before considering the pills. I'll let you know my progress if you want, still a little early, but he has given me the most comprehensive plan and info about this condition...and I am believing him for now!! Contact me if you want! j
Hi There, I took Lamisil for toenail fungus many years ago. At the time, I really wasn't aware of the risks because the doctor didn't really fill me in on those details. Anyway, I had that fungus for a long time on every toe. I hated it! So I took the pills. I took them for about 3 months. That's how long it took. Once the fungus was gone, I stopped taking the pills (there were about 3 more months left in the bottle). There were side effects. Basically I felt really weird for the entire time I took them. Light headedness, and lots of shortness of breath. That was about 20 yrs ago (was in my 20's) and the fungus hasn't come back. Would I do it again? Maybe-if I was being monitored properly by a doctor. Am I glad I took them? Yes. My advice is to talk to your doc. and get all the details. My feet and toenails are healthy now! anon.
Since no one actually responded as a user of Lamasil, I thought I would give some feedback. I think the effectiveness is about 70% - 7 out of 10 will be treated effectively. I had horrible toe fungus for years and was one of those 7. If you take the liver function tests and all is well mid-way through and having success you are golden. I am post-treatment x 7 years or so and it's great. Anon

Advice in treating toenail fungus

Sept 2007

I'm hoping someone will have a suggestion or at least share their experience in dealing with toenail fungus. I have two badly infected toes on one foot (a problem of several years) and two more are growing in with fungus. I'm aware that there is a prescription medication I can take for this, but I have the impression that it takes several months to work and can cause liver damage. At any rate, I'm only 3 weeks away from giving birth (yikes!), and wouldn't want to take it until I have finished breastfeeding, which could be quite a while. Has anyone successfully treated toenail fungus with any treatment, whether it's medication or alternative therapy? I am so tired of covering up the fungus with polish (not a polish kind of person) and you can imagine how hard it's been to reach my toes lately! Signed, I hate my toenails


My wife has had toenail fungus for years. All the remedies listed she has tried without sucess. Right now she's been trying Tea Tree Oil for the past 8 months. She lost her toenail (which is good.) And now that its growing back and it's looking much better. Anon
I have known two people who successfully treated toenail fungus by dropping hydrogen peroxide on it every day. it took months to clear up and they both started when the fungus was in it's early stages. if I were you I'd do that at least to keep it from spreading and I figure you may as well treat the other toenails while you're at it. It couldn't hurt. what I have heard about the oral meds are that they may or may not be effective in the long term (the fungus tends to come back). The meds are expensive and bad for your liver and I'm not sure if they get into breast milk. In any case, if you do treat your toes successfully, you will need to replace all your shoes - they will reseed the toenails since they are contaminated. good luck
Welcome to the lovely world of toenail fungus! Actually, you can swim without spreading the fungus. The chlorine in the pool takes care of that. Wearing flip-flops in the showers/changing room also protects other swimmers. That's not what seems to be the biggest problem for most sufferers, though. It's the embarrassment about how their feet look.

Have you tried any kayak/canoe/wind-surfing shops to see if they carry some thin, Neoprene, slip-on foot covers? I believe they make them for these sports to help keep feet from slipping on wet surfaces, but they're also thin enough to not feel encumbering, so you can swim. E.


My husband and I are having great success with treating our dual fungus issues. We went to a great podiatrists, Dr. Anna Sorkin. She assured us if we follow her treatment, we'd see results and she was right. I recommend seeing her. She trimmed the nails and filed them down and prescribed both athletes foot cream (prescription) and an over-the-counter treatment called Fungoid Tincture. We put the tincture on all our toes and use the cream on our feet. She says the two organisms in athlete's foot and fungus are the same. We disinfect the tub/shower whenever we showers with Lysol bath cleaner with bleach.

Within a month, nearly all my fungus was gone. After three months, I just have a wee bit on the two toes that were the worst. I thought I just had it on two toes, but turns out, it was on all of them. The sooner you treat it, the less time it takes to go away. My husbands will take longer. I am so happy wtih my results. Have the baby and then go see Dr. Sorkin.

Also, I loved getting pedicures but haven't put any polish on my nails since beginnign treatment and if I get a pedicure, it's only at places that confirm they disinfect.

Good luck with the baby and the fungus-be-gone! pretty pink toes


Yes - yes - I had the dreaded fungus for many years. I worked with just about every over the counter ad holistic solution available. I kept them trimmed, I kept them clean, I washed my feet every day and every night, and diligently applied every solution known to man. Nothing worked. Very embarrassing having yellow nails, especially for a clean freak like me.

Finally I bit the bullet and gave Lamisil a try. My doctor was more concerned about liver damage than I was --- I wanted the fungus dead and gone. I took the pills in three courses over several months with a liver test in between each course. I'm free and clear now, and actually thankful to the pharmaceutical companies if you can believe that!

The only caveat is that the meds are expensive. I think $250 per course, with no generic available. For some insurance plans like mine, your copay doesn't apply, so I had to fork out the full amount. And as the doctors will say, there's no guarantee that it will work for you. If you decide to go for it, make sure you get the testing in between courses. Good luck! Toes of Death


There's an herbalist at the Berkeley Farmer's Market named Joshua Muskat who makes a topical toenail fungus formula. He sells it at the Saturday market and at his clinic in S.F. emi
I've had this problem and have sort of cured it without taking the prescription Lamisil tablets (which do have liver risks).

One nail infection progressed to the point where the nail detached. My doctor said that they don't pull the nail anymore, but rather wait until it falls off on it's own. Mine didn't, so I took the opportunity to use daily Lamisil spray (it's over the counter) under the nail. My doctor said she didn't think this would do anything, but I tried anyway.

Well, after a few months I noticed the nail continued to grow and the new growth looked clear. It's been a year and a half and the old, infected part is only 1/3 of the total nail. Now that I am pregnant and my nails are growing fast, I think I'll have a totally clear nail in a couple more months.

The Lamisil spray label says that it should not be used on nails, but I think that is just because they want to sell the more expensive (and dangerous) systemic prescription tablets. While they may work faster, I'm comfortable with the slow progress that comes with using the topical Lamisil.

One important thing to keep in mind is that your nails can become infected from a skin infection with athletes foot. I neglected one small skin infection on one toe for a couple of weeks and the nail got infected pretty quickly. It's much easier and effective to treat a skin infection with Lamisil cream or spray before a nail gets infected, so be sure you do that! My skin infection wasn't noticeable and didn't itch until the nail got infected, so be vigilant. Anon


I seem to have a long-term mild case of toenail fungus. I have tried lots of the over-the-counter stuff, none of which seemed to work. I have, however, had a significant improvement doing this: I soak my feet in straight vinegar. I learned about this from a posting on this listserv, I think, and it has really worked. I buy a big bottle of the cheap white vinegar. I heat it, and then I soak my feet for a good half an hour or so. You can reuse the vinegar until it gets gross. I do it about once a week, but I think it would work even better if I did more often. It seems to have changed the whole chemical environment of my feet. I also had mild athletes foot for years, which is now completely gone. And it makes my feet soft too. And you can do when you are pregnant, and it will feel nice. Have your partner give your feet a good towel rub at the end of the soak. Anon
Regarding toe fungus, try soaking your feet every day for 10-15 minutes in Listerine, the mouth wash. My husband tried it and found it be successful. I hope it works for you! Congratulations on your baby too! amy singam
There are alternative treatments, but you have to be pretty good about keeping at it. The best thing I've found is apple cider vinegar. I'm serious. I've had toenail fungus for years, and had just sort of resigned myself to it. But then I read some crazy testamonial on the web about ACV, and thought, why not try it? Well, in three days--three days!--of applying it topically, the white fungus was gone. That still left the other, yellower fungus, but I've kept at it. I try to drink about a tablespoon of ACV in a cup of water every day and that helps. Also, about once a week I buff the top of the nail then apply a cotton pad soaked in AVC for about ten minutes. Slowly this is helping. I've also heard about using cinnamon oil, but have not used that as often. My dermatologist recommends Funginail, and I apply that sometimes too. I've been at this for over a year, but I have seen results in that time. It just plain takes a lot of time for the nail to grow out. As a side note, since you're about to have a baby, the first time I heard about the usefulness of AVC was from my Ob/Gyn as a treatment for thrush. I had a terrible time with recurring yeast in my breast milk and also several bouts of plugged ducts. My Ob/Gyn recommended that I swab my nipples with a diluted solution of ACV and water before and after nursing. My baby didn't mind the taste (in fact, maybe it's one of the reasons he's become an adventurous eater). The AVC really helped to keep the thrush under control. Anyway, good luck with it all. getting there
I saw this remedy and tried it myself: Simply soak your infected nails in ordinary mint-flavored mouth wash (e.g Scope) every day. If you only have one that is infected or don't want to soak them, you can take a cotton swab and put the liquid directly on the nail. It will take awhile, but you'll notice small results in about a week. This may sound weird but it really works and does not involve any harsh chemicals. Been there
I feel your pain. My big toenail was terrible for quite a while, but I think I cured it. At least, it's been several years since it looked fungus-y. Here's what I did:

* Cut off much of the nail as possible while it is crumbly, flaky, cracking, discolored, etc. This was easy for me because the nail fell off on its own. If the condition persisted when it grew back, I cut it off again. The theory is to expose the flesh to the air, so there's nowhere for the fungus to grow.

* Painted the entire toe, especially the exposed under-nail area, with a liquid over-the-counter anti-fungal. Some brands worked, some didn't, and I could tell right away because they lessened the itchy tight feeling.

* Gave away EVERY pair of problematic shoes, meaning those that were even slightly tight around the toes. I wore only well-fitting sandals around the house, or I went barefoot. I kept my feet cool and ventilated. This was a stylistic bummer. (Now that I'm ''cured,'' I sometimes wear heels to a special event, but I still change into sandals when I get home.)

* Kept my shower floor scrupulously clean.

I wish you luck! I now have nails


I went to a nail salon last year and the owner noticed a fungus on my big toe nail. They recommended a product which she said works better than prescription drugs. It is liquid, called ''Varisi'' which they sold me for $10. The active ingredient is ''citrus extractives.'' Applied a couple times a day for a couple of months. it worked very well. I don't recall the name of the salon, but it was on San Pablo Avenue in Albany, one or two doors down the street from Mangia Mangia Restaurant. (two blocks east of Solano Avenue). Karen
My daughter had this problem under her two toenails, and it made them grow funny. We used the over-the-counter ''antifungal liquid'' ( recommended by her dermatologist)that we bought at Longs and applied externally each day. It took a few months, like the doctor said it would. Nothing fancy. No tricky holistic remedies. It definitely worked. -Hope this helps
I second the recommendation for Dr. Anna Sorkin -- after decades of unsuccessful treatment, she finally got it right! Footloose and Fungus Free
This is not directly about toenail fungus, but I had recurring athletes foot fungus and I cured it. I used the usual over the counter creams. After going through the whole treatment the medicine would get rid of the athlete's foot for about a week or two and then it would come back. This went on for about a year. I remembered that I had heard that certain vitamins could be helpful. I looked it up and yes B complex vitamins were supposed to be effective. They were. I no longer get athletes foot at all. I used a b-complex with a higher than average dose. anon

Getting a pedicure with toenail fungus?

Jan 2008

My big toe has had toenail fungus for many years now. Most of the nail looks black and is basically pretty ugly. I wear nail polish in the summer which hides it pretty well, so that I can wear sandals. But here comes my problem. I am 6 months pregnant and would just die for a pedicure. I love having my feet massaged and worked on, but I don't dare to get a pedicure. I would consider it such a treat if I could go and get one, but I don't dare to expose that nail. I just wanted to know if anyone else ever ran into a problem like this and what they did. Thanks!


Girl, get a pedicure! You deserve it. And make an appointment with a podiatrist to get medication for your toe. Run it by your ob/gyn first before filling the Rx, though. If possible, wait 'til you are finished nursing. This includes topical treatments as they are absorbed & can be passed on in your milk. I get pedicures no matter what! We deserve this little pleasure, especially when pregnant. At least if we can't see our feet, we can know they are pretty & feel better!
I know how much you must be craving a pedicure, after all with your pregnancy it must be getting harder and harder to reach your feet! Unfortunately, it is against health and saftey regulations for you to get a salon pedicure when you have a toenail fungus. I have a cosmetology license, and in school they used to tell us that whenever a client had a condition that might be communicable we were to tell them, ''I'm sorry, but I cannot perform your service today. You have a condition that requires a doctor's care.'' These were the exact words and they are still drilled in my head!

I'm sorry, but a toenail fungus spreads very easily by sharing pedicure implements and soaking tubs, and even when sanitary procedures are followed to the letter, the risk of spreading the condition among your clientele, or getting it yourself is too great for a manicurist to risk it. You may have gotten a toe nail fungus at a salon in the first place. But if a manicurist can see a communicable nail disease, she will decline to work on you. I'm so sorry. My advice- buy a vibrating foot bath! I loved mine when I was pregnant! anon


Polish on Piedmont disinfects their tubs very carefully after each service. I had TNF and I was upfront with them and the pedicurist wore gloves and thanked me for telling her. I would recommend NOT putting polish on and calling Dr. Anna Sorkin for treatment. My hubby and I both had it and followed her procedure. Mine is nearly gone and his, which was worse, is showing great progress and he'll probably have it cleared up in a few months.

If you have kids, you want to take care of this because you could give it to them. Also, you need to disinfect your shower/tub after each bath or you'll give it to your other family members. fungi free


Swimming at the Pool w/ Toenail Fungus

Sept 2007

Greetings! Please, helpful suggestions only and no judgements appreciated. My entire life since childhood I was a swimmer, swimming laps for many years through my pregnancy. This stopped with the birth of my son. He's out of the nest now and I'd like to resume swimming laps at a pool close by again - I'm actually physically craving it. The problem is that, in the interim, I've developed terrible obvious toe nail fungus, so I can't see how I can fulfill by swimming craving. I don't want to show my toenails, I don't want to gross out other folks, and I don't want to infect anyone. Is there a solution to swimming at a public pool with toenail fungus? Once again, no judgement please as I judge myself enough for this as it is. Craving to Swim Again


Most people I know have toenail fungus. It seems like an epidemic!! I would just splash on a little polish and go swimming. My toenails are horrible but I still go to the beach and pool. I refuse to take the oral meds necessary to eradicate the fungus. I am doing a topical wash and anti fungal but it isn't really helping. I find that I don't notice other people's toes very often. anon
Hopefully you've checked out the replies to the question about alternative treatments for nail fungus. But for a while, you'll have to deal with your toes. So, having been there myself, here's some thoughts. They put chlorine in pools for a reason, one of which is to deal with the multitude of microbes that inhabit everyone's bodies, not just yours. You are not the only one with nail fungus. Wear flip-flops in the dressing room, shower, and right up to the pool, but don't let it stop you from jumping in and doing what you enjoy! if you are really really embarrassed, wear toenail polish. But try hard to accept yourself, and this situation, and go for a swim! I bet after you do, with all those nice endorphins floating around, those toes will not seem quite so bad. another one
My husband has horrible toenail fungus and happily swims laps in the pool at the gym without a care. I know I'm not looking at anyone's toes when I swim and I doubt that too many other people are. Maybe someone IS looking at your toenails but you might be looking at their cellulite or a pronounced scar from a long ago car accident. Swim happily and don't worry. not thinking about toes . . .

Fast Fix For Nail Fungus?

March 2007

Help! We're going to Hawaii in May and 7 out of 10 of my toenails are infected with fungus. I am so embarassed. I haven't pursued any medical remedies because I have been pregnant or breastfeeding for the past 4 years. (prior to my first pregnancy, only two little pinky toes were infected). What can I do to minimize the gross visual? Is there any salon I could go in who would file them down to almost nothing? I'm hesitant to go in to one, for fear the pedicurist would run screaming from me. Do I get them removed altogether? I'd love to be able to go barefoot in the sand.

And, once I stop breastfeeding, I'm considering taking the medication (don't remember what it's called). It's supposed to be safer now that it's given in ''pulses'', and not day after day. If anyone has experience with the medication, I'd love to hear it. In the meantime, short term solutions are what I'm after. And yes, I've tried soaking them in white vinegar. That seemed to slow the process, but didn't alleviate the infections that had already taken hold. Thanks. Love the Feet, Hate the Fungus


I don't think there's any fast fix, but there are a few things to try. My dermatologist says Fungi Nail is the best over the counter product. I use that and alternate it with Apple Cider Vinegar (which I have heard is much better than simple white vinegar). Okay, and I'll admit I also drink a tablespoon of Apple Cider Vinegar in a cup of water every day. THis has made a huge difference for me. You can buy nail smoothers at the drug store and buff off the top layer of the nail yourself. Then soak in vinegar, then apply Fungi Nail. All this will help to get your nails in shape. But they will take months if not a year or more to grow out clean. So try nail polish while you are on the beach. There are non-toxic kinds at Elephant that are really pretty. If you don't think of yourself as a painted toe nail kind of person, just choose a light buff color. It looks really good. Oh, and have a great time at the beach. Remember to look up at the scenery, not at your toes ;-). anon.
Hi, I am adding a post because I did not see this remedy in the archives. I have been going to a podiatrist named Dr. Anna Sorkin near Summit Hosp in Oakland. Here is what I have learned from her. There is no quick fix, because the healthy toenail must grow out for it to heal. She had me apply fungoind tincture, which you can buy over the counter for about $30, twice a day for several months. In the meantime, no nail polish. In fact, polish can trap moisture inside the nail and make fungus worse. I would have a podiatrist rather than a pedicurist do any filing down of the nail surface, but smoothing out that surface can help the appearance. I have tried Lamisil in the past, and it did work, but eventually the fungus returned. If you have to show your toes, you can wear polish for a few days, but then remove it and resume the treatment. There are other more expensive topical treatments, but they have about the same success rate of 60%. The first time I tried fungoid tincture, I gave up too soon. So stick it out for a few months and find a good podiatrist to tell you if it is working. Sometimes there is discoloration after the fungus is gone -- it is really hard to tell sometimes if you are not a toenail expert! BTW, she has kids and will know what is safe for nursing, pregnancy, etc. Fellow Funky Foot
I used Vicks vaporub on my bad toenail every night. It healed it! I cannot assure you that this will work before May, but honestly, I thought I would be stuck with this nail fungus for life, but it is now gone. I think that it actually took almost a year to take hold. I did keep nail polish (still do, but it was essential with the fungus) on at all times to hide the ugliness. I am afraid that you will have to put up with that for some time, but really and truly, the Vicks did the job! anon

Nail fungus - alternatives to Lamisil?

Sept 2006

I've been prescribed Lamisil for nail fungus, but had a bad reaction to the medication and am looking for effective alternatives. (I've had the fungus on my toenails for years, but it recently spread to my thumbnail, which is a lot harder to ignore.) Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks! anon


I can relate. After my first child I started getting fungus in Toe nails. I didn't want to use lamisil for a variety of reasons 1) Not good for nursing moms 2) Any drug that requires periodic bloodwork seems suspect 3) takes a year anyway 4)the expense 5) Their mascot ''digger'' freaked me out. So, I tried tea tree oil- and much to my surprise, it seems to work quite well. I purchased the oil and then applied it liberally after each shower to each affected toe using a cotton swab. I took care not to share the swab between toes as I didn't want to ''spread'' the infection back and forth. I found there was a dramatic improvement w/in about 2 weeks in terms of my nail appearance, and the itchiness went away almost immediately. I also 1) took time to really dry my feet after each shower 2) kept my toenails very trim (be careful how you cut b/c you don't want to get an ingrown nail) 3) I also wear my Tevas w/ cotton socks whenever possible (a major fashion crime, but I'm a sysadmin so I can get away with bigtime nerdiness) so that my feet can ''breathe''. Short answer: try tea tree oil for the feet. I might check in w/ a doc about it spreading to your hands... just because that seems a bit unusual (fungus usually grows on the toes because it's warm and dark and moist down there), but do give Tea Tree Oil a try Down with Digger
Way back when, I too had the fungus and my doctor put me on Lamisil. (The topical stuff just doesn't work). It was terrible because there were so many side effects. Worst drug I've ever been on. BUT I managed to stay on it until the fungus went away (it was prescribed for 6 months, but I managed to only take it for 3..that's how long it took for the fungus to disappear). It was worth the 3 month suffering. I was cured and it never came back. So if you can hang on and just deal with the wierd side effects until it goes away, I suggest you keep taking it. It will most likely never come back. Best of luck to you! Been There
I am so sorry to hear about your nail fungus. I got toenail fungus and was too cheap to pay for the prescription medication. I made up a remedy that worked for me. The downside was that it took almost two years and is kind of messy. The upside was that it was fairly non-toxic and it worked. Here's what I did:

1. Kept a separate pair of nail clippers for infected nails. Washed the clippers thoroughly after each use.

2. Kept infected and other nails as short as I possibly could.

3. Applied Gentian Violet to infected nails once or twice a week (you can buy it at Longs). This stuff is PURPLE and will turn your nails PURPLE. Also, it will crystallize if it spills on anything and if it gets on anything else, it will turn it PURPLE too. Keep the container in a ziplock baggy well away from anything else. If you are a woman, consider buying a nail polish that matches the color.

4. I applied Nonyx (also available at Longs) once a day to the infected areas.

5. I went barefoot or wore open toe shoes wherever possible. I also dried my feet thoroughly after bathing, swimming, etc. May You Obtain Healthy Nails!


Gentian Violet is excellent for combatting fungus. I used it when my baby and I had thrush (also a fungus), and it was the only thing that worked (after 3 rounds of medication from the doctor). The only downside is that it is intensely purple and temporarily stains your skin/nail. The upside is that is works wonderfully well. You can google ''gential violet, nail fungus'' and see some matches on its effectiveness, how to use it, etc. You can buy it at Elephant Pharmacy in Berkeley. Mom with great gentian violet experience
Try full-strength applications a few times daily of Tea Tree Oil (available at Trader Joe's among other places), for a week or three. Worked for me. Good luck! Cured
Yes! Try Vick's Vaporub on the nail. A pedicurist at a really fancy spa told me about this remedy, and it really worked for me. Cut back as much of the nail as you can (with sterile tools) and goop the Vaporub on it. I did this on a toe at night. Within about 3 months a persistant nail infection disappeared completely. Never to be heard from again. Knock on wood. happy feet
It takes a long time (about 6-8 weeks) but I swear it works! Try taking flax seed oil pills and borage oil pills every day. They have lots of omega 3's, 6's and 9's - all good for nails and hair (among other things). I saw this recommendation on Dr Andrew Weil's website for hair loss in men - well it didn't help my husband's hair - but his toe fungus (which he had for 8 years!!) went away in about 6 weeks! We take 3 flax seed oil pills and 2 borage oil pills a day with food or after a meal. Hope it helps :-) Healthy hair and Nails
You can try to apply white vinegar on the infected nails, at least twice a day, for a couple of months you'll see the change. Since it is all natural, there woouldn't be any side effect even if it didn't work for you. Hua
I've known two people who successfully treated nail fungus by dropping hydrogen perioxide on it daily or twice a day. it took a few months and both these people had just beginning stages of it. It will only kill the surface fungus that it can reach but I imagine if you do it long enough and are consistentthe new nail will stay clean and eventually the infectd nail material will grow out and be gone, it might work for you good luck
This may sound strange, but I have been using Vick's Vapor Rub successfully on my toenails. The key is constant vigilence! The method goes like this: First, keep your nails as short as possible. Twice a day, file down the entire surface of the afflicted nail. Rub on a generous amount of Vick's, getting under the nail as much as possible. Do this in the morning and in the evening, and try to wear open toed shoes as much as possible.

It took 4 months (literally) to see results, and I still have to do it occasionally, but not as often (maybe once every 2 days). Don't know if this will also work for fingernails, but I don't see why not. Google ''vicks vapor rub nail fungus'' and see what you get.

Good luck! A long hard road but worth it


My toenails won't grow!

June 2006

I have a pretty gross and unsightly problem. Basically my toenails don't seem to grow and the skin around my nails are hard and calloused and often peel. After the shower or even a quick dip in a pool, I notice that the skin around my toenails looks whitish and peely, like I have been submerged in water for hours! What is this? I believe it is the reason my toenails don't seem to grow at all. I definitely do not have athlete's foot because it doesn't itch and I have tried treating the area with fungal topical creams and sprays to no avail. Should I go see a podiatrist? I wear the correct size of shoes and have started wearing flip flops and open toed shoes (much to my chagrin and probably other peoples as well) to help let the area breathe. I would really love input if anyone has some helpful tips for me Not twinkly toes!


Sounds to me like toenail fungus that may be able to be treated topically. My sister told me Vick's Vapor Rub works. Sounds crazy, doesn't it? For three months I've been cleaning my toes with hydrogen peroxide in the morning and at night, and coating them with Vick's religiously. For one month it did nothing, but now they are really almost cleared up. Try googling ''vick's vapor rub toenail fungus'' and see what you come up with. Apparently it's a common home remedy. If this does not work, I read on a thread that a podiatrist can take a sample of your toenails and test them to identify the fungus and treatment. This may be a faster way to go. Good luck Clear toenails after ten years
Yes, you should see a podiatrist. What this has to do with parenting, I don't know, but your feet definitely sound problematic and a podiatrist can best evaluate the situation. Why go on suffering? Make the call today
it's probably a fungus not treatable topically. A friend has this condition, and her doc told her she needs to take a systemic fungicide (i.e. orally). She didn't want to so just paints her toenails and won't wear sandals

One of my toenails is yellowish

March 2006

I've noticed that one of my toenails is yellowish, and I remember my mother had this discoloration of her toenails. Does anyone know what this could be and what can be done about it? Thanks for any info. anon


You may have onicomycosis, a fungal infection of the toenail. Its very very common and doesn't usually become a problem except its ugly (sometimes the toenail becomes very think and hard to take care of). the drugs sold for this infection are topical or oral. the topical ones aren't usually very effective. the oral ones are expensive, hard on your liver and the infection can come back especially if you haven't bought all new shoes! I've known two people who used a daily or twice daily application of hydrogen peroxide on the affected toenail with good results. it takes weeks or months and you can't go protecting the fungus with nail polish and such. just drip the H2O2 on there enough to cover the yellow and let it bubble a few minutes. good luck
I had a yellow streak on my toenail that was toenail fungus. This is very hard to get rid of. I got rid of it by cutting away as much of the yellow as I could (quite a bit because the nail had gotten soft) and swabbing vinegar on it twice a day religiously for three months (until it grew out completely). Vic's vapor rub (its the eucaliptus) works too, but it is goopy and I found that dirt would stick to my toenails when I used open toed shoes (which is from May to October). Start as soon as possible, it can spread quickly and then it is even harder to get rid of. no fungus among us
You probaby have a fungus in your toenail which is pretty common and seems to be hereditary. I had it too and the only way I know to get rid of it is a prescription drug called Lamisil, which I took for an entire year. It worked, but I had headaches almost daily that year and never made the connection until I finally looked at the side effects and saw 'headaches.' It takes that long to work because the medicine has to work its way down to your toes. In my opinion, in the end, it was not worth taking that amount of drugs, although it did work. been there

Toe nail fungus for 3 years - I want to wear sandals again!

July 2002

I have ugly toe nail fungus since almost 3 years now. I am just 31 years old and I heard that mostly old people get it. I can't wear sandales because it just looks so ugly and I am so jealous of people with nice clear nails. I already went to the doctor but she just said that there is nothing she can do since it's heredetery ( my father has it too ). The pharmacist at Walgreens told me that they have tablets (lamasil) which has to be taken at least 6 months. They cost 200 dollars a months ( insurance doesn't pay since it's ''just'' a cosmetic thing) and on top of it it can even harm the liver. He also said that it doesn't always help. Well I can't afford 200 dollars a months and I also don't want liver damage in exchange for clear nails. I also used a topical treatment but it also didn't help. It seem to stop the growing fungus a little bit but it never went away. Are there any other victims out there with toe nail fungus? Did anybody find a good treatment ? I would love to wear sandales again !!!! I am thankful for any advice.


Janet Zand, LAc, OMD suggests undiluted tea tree oil on the nails, adding some olive oil if the nails are dry. Some folk attribute nail fungus to internal overgrowth of yeast. Yeast, while a minority in the gut, can become problematic when the gut pH is altered from stress, antibiotics, hormones (HRT/ERT, birth control pills, latter part of menstrual cycle), climate and/or diet. The diet seems to be a key variable, from my own experience. Reducing refined carbs, esp. sugar, any mold- producing foods (melon, tea, mushrooms, dried fruits, berries), dairy, vinegar, and others, if done consistently for several weeks, can help. Taking protease followed 15 minutes later by acidophilus, both before breakfast and before bedtime, is useful. Some find olive leaf extract an excellent internal anti-fungal agent. Hopefully this will be helpful to you. Nori
Unfortunately toenail fungus is difficult to treat because your feet are warm, in a dark environment and moist. I have tried those pills and they are not completely effective unless it is a new formula in the last few years. I have had my toenails removed along with the nail bed to prevent them growing back. Only by removing them was I able to get rid of the fungus infection. When the nails are removed the toes look like they have a nail at a distance - you can't polish them - it won't stay on. I might add that not only did I have the fungus infection but I had ingrown toenails which were very painful. My surgeon was Dr. Roger Mann in Oakland.
I can sympathize with your situation. My suggestion would be to go to a nail salon and have them put acrylic over your own toenails, or they can put a fake nail on whatever toenail needs it depending on how bad the fungus has ate away at the nail. I have seen it done many a time. The women I saw getting it done had very bad case of nail fungus. After the pedicurist was done you could not even tell that the lady had the fungus. No the fungus will not go away but at least you will be able to wear sandals. Another suggestion would be to cut the nail down as far as you can to the cuticle, it is painful. Then use a fungus spray. I know it sounds terrible but my friend's nail did grow back and it was a lot healthier looking than the old one. At the nail shops they will probably charge you around $25.00 per appt. But you will be able to have those pretty feet you always see. Good Luck!
I took the Lamasil orally for the time recommended (although I think it was only 3 months with liver function tests (LFTs) at 6 weeks) and it worked beautifully. The dermatologist at Kaiser said that there is only a 30% (I think) success rate but I had 3 toenails infected with worries that all toenails would be infected eventually (it took several years for all 3). I pushed him for it because it was truly gross and my insurance covered it. If your LFTs come out OK at 6 weeks you don't have to worry about liver damage.
I empathize with you. I have had toenail fungus, and I was successfully treated for it. It was with a drug named Sporanox. I think I only had to take it for 3 months. My insurance paid for it. I think that's bunk that your insurance won't pay for it. It is, however, hard on the liver. Your doctor should do a liver panel to make sure your liver can handle it before prescribing it. I was advised not to drink a drop of alcohol, and I didn't. It does take a long time to see the results. I can't remember exactly, but I think it was 9 months to a year. Good luck!
After 2 years of battling a fingernail fungus with a dr. prescibed cream that didn't work someone suggested treating it with Tea Tree oil, (available from health food and GNC vitamin stores), which I did several times a day for 2-3 months. It took a while but it cleared it up. The Guardian of Lovely Nails (Once More)
I have the same problem! To work around it, I wear nail polish on my toes. I treat myself a pedicure. Not only its cheaper and heather, it makes me feel far more attractive and looks nice with sandals. I use a relatively neutral colors (vs. bright red) that do a good job of covering the yellow color. Amy
Not sure I have great advice, but wanted to let you know I'm a woman in my 30's who also had toenail fungus. I too decided the drugs were too nasty and too expensive and didn't take them. You didn't mention if yours is growing out, but my best advice would be patience. Mine took about two years to grow out and go away -- but ultimately did. I have also heard that tea tree oil is helpful, though I didn't try it. Perhaps you can wear polish when you want to have sandals on. Good luck.
I also had fungus on several toenails and tried several over-the- counter treatments with no luck. Finally, I managed to clear them all with tea tree oil (available at any health food store). I just swabbed it under the top edge of the toenail with a Q-tip once a day for several weeks. You should know that tea tree oil is extremely strong stuff and will make the top layer of your skin peel off after several weeks of use. Use sparingly! But it also made my fungus go away when nothing else did, so it's worth a try. Christine
I have a friend who is going through the samething, fortunately someone told her about Tea Tree Oil. She has been applying it faithfully for about 3 months with much success, she wears light color polish and sandals again. It doesn't hurt to try. Also I know she gets the oil at Walgreens. Good luck and bye-bye fungus. Fungus Bgone
Foot fungus - If you have terrible fungus that threatens toenails, SPORONOX is the pill you take. My husband got rid of intractable skin fungus that way. However, we have HealthNet, so the Primary care physician referred him to a PODIATRIST (not a dermatologist), and that dr. gave him a prescription that insurance did cover. The liver stress is not so bad, I think primarily it's a problem IF YOU HAVE HEPATITIS or other liver disease or dysfunction. The liver can be monitored by occasional blood tests. Andrea
Tea tree oil has worked for me. You can buy bottles of it at various places such as health food stores. I think Whole Foods has it. Put several drops of tea tree oil on a Q-tip until it's wet and drippy, then rub it all over your toe nails -- especially the ends trying to drip some underneath. If you do this twice a day (before putting socks on in the morning and before going to bed at night) you should see an improvement. It takes a long time for the new healthier toe nails to grow in, but it really does work. Much cheaper and better than risking liver damage. Egads! Good luck! - Been there, done that
Lamisil works great if your health is good. Ask your Dr. to run a lab test for the trace of fungus and if the test comes out positive,(which, of course, will be) the insurance will pay for it. It is not just a cosmetic, but it is a medical treatment. You only take it for 3 month, not 6mos, and in about a year, you will have perfectly healthy toenails. Early this year, I went and bought 5 pairs of beartiful sandals to make up for the 4 years I couldn't wear them. The only thing, you need to throw away all the old shoes with the funglus still in them in order to avoid reinfection. Good luck. confident sandal wearer
I just read in Andrew Weil, M.D.'s newsletter that tea tree oil, or grapefruit seed extract can be used successfully on toenail fungus. He notes, however, that it can take up to a year of daily treatment (and comments that it is much cheaper than the recommended pharmaceuticals). I just saw a sprizter of the grapefruit seed extract at Whole Foods today, and it lists fungi as a use. I believe his article said to apply it twice daily, but check the bottle. Good luck.
My dad had something like that. Tried several medicines, nothing worked. Then my mom read about some herbal remedy, I think it was tea tree oil, and it worked wonders. Worth a try! Happy Toes.
I sympathize with the ugly tonail fungus dilemna. I'm in the same boat. I've heard that tea trea oil (1-3 x/day) is effective for most folks. For me the tea trea oil keeps it from getting worse. In fact it seems like it gets a bit better, but never does completely go away. When I stop using it, however, it definitely gets worse. Thought I'd pass this on in case you haven't tried it yet. I think you have to use it consistently for at least 3 months to see if it will work. I recently read that Vick's vapo rub has done the trick for some people! I'm giving it a try, but the people for whom it worked used it for two months and I just started so I can't attest to its effectiveness. Best wishes for clear nails.
I am not a doctor but I had fungus in 6 toenails at age 30. I have gotten rid of all except on my smallest toenail. It doesn't stand out. This is what I did. My Doctors suggested I live with the condition but I made my own therapy instead. I trimmed and file my nails nightly with an emery board until they were quit thin. Then I apply anti- fungicide topically. They immediately looked better and the daily filing seemed to help the topical penetrate. I also started wearing sandals. After two months of this the nails looked much better. I could have stopped here I decided to keep up the regiment and take the internal medicine (gruffavin?). I drank tons of water and no alcohol to help the body out. I'm very content with the outcome. I have also heard of adding water to making a paste out of Ajax or Comet and putting it on the filed nail. The theory is that the bleach penetrates and kills the fungus. Good luck and please talk to doctor before experimenting. steelehome
For the person with the toenail problem, do not have someone put an acrylic nail over the fungus, it will just cause more problems. My manucurist has found a product that works on removing the fungus. I think the cost is like $40. I believe its some kind of nail polish so it won't cause any medical problems to the liver... You can contact her to get more info, she is located in Oakland. Delane's Natural Nail Care, 510-644-4261 or email: naturalnails AT netscape DOT net. Good Luck. Cindy
I'm writing to tell you what not to do to treat toenail fungus. I had a relatively mild case on one toe. I had laser done (holes made to ''ventilate'' the nail); later nail removal; and then told to scrub with Comet and a toothbrush (Podiatrist said, ''It's the same organism that grows between the bathroom tiles''.) Some months later, a black spot was seen on my nail bed. A biopsy found a rare thing called acrilintiginous melanoma. It was malignant and I had to have my toe amputated right away. My podiatrist never confirmed it, but my guess is that it was the treatment, rather than the fungus, that caused the cancer. Nancy
You could try applying tea tree oil - just pour some of the pure oil all over the toenail, letting it soak in (after a bath is good). This has worked for many foot problems in our family, including ingrowing toenail, toe infections and athletes foot. Hope that helps, Janice
The best method I've encountered is using Tineacide Anti Fungal Cream, over-the counter. I takes a while, 2-6 months but you can already see results in a few weeks. It was subscribed by a doctor and it seems to be the safest method. You can get it cheapest (done a lot of research) at dermstore.com.
I contracted a fungal infection in my thumbnail several years ago at the age of about 15 years. Like a previous person who responded, my doctor said to live with it. At that tender age of hyper-self consciousness, I couldn't accept that answer, so I also devised my own cure. This sounds gross, but the nail became detached, so I carefully removed it. Back then there was an anti-fungal oil you could buy over-the-counter, called Tinactin (I think its still on the market). I rubbed it into where my nail was removed according to the instructions on the bottle. Within a few weeks a paper-thin new nail began to grow. It was a very thin nail, and it eventually regained its normal thickness. (I was very happy about the outcome and I also recall that it was a huge realization that doctors are just human and don't know all the answers). Good luck! Kim
I understand that soaking feet twice a day in warm lapacha tea will clear up nail fungus. The tea bags may be purchased at health food stores. sherri
My husband had that fungus for years and finally broke down and spent the hundreds of dollars the medication costs to use it and it's gone. It was well worth the expsne and I'm sure hewishes he'd done it sooner!!
June 2004

Hi! I just read through your posts on toe nail fungus out of interest. My nails are growing in healthy for the first time in many years. It had spread to all my toe nails and was starting in my fingernails. The cure is so simple. Take distilled white vinegar and put drops on your nails am, pm and after your shower each day. Once a week, soak nails for 20 min. in vinegar. I pour it over my feet in a basin so my toenails are all submerged and watch a show.I also soak my fingernails in it. This must be done for about 7 months ... the same length of time that the medications take because all of the infected nail must grow out and be replaced by healthy nail. It is important to continue treatment for full duration and to not miss any days of treatment. My doctor is impressed and recommending this treatment to patients with toe nail fungus, as well as those with diabetes-related foot problems. Incicentally, it also clears up the most stubborn cases of athletes foot. Carol


Aug 2006

my doctor recommended soaking my feet in warm water (enough to cover your toe nails) to which a little chlorine bleach has been added, twice a day. it worked. i think it also helps to trim the nail as much as possible in conjunction with this treatment. fungus may reappear and you may need to resume soaking, but it works.


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