Q&A

Should toenails be removed on fee that are experiencing chronic athlete's foot?

Q.

I have recently noticed that several of my toenails are undergoing a thickening condition, which I originally thought was due to aging. However, upon consulting a foot doctor, I have learned that this condition is due to a fungus and is probably related to on-again, off-again athlete’s foot, which I have tried to control with over-the-counter medications. The foot doctor suggests removing the toenails permanently as opposed to ingesting a medication which he says would kill the fungus but ruin my liver.

A.

Permanent removal of the nails is not a recommended form of treatment for fungal infections except in very unusual circumstances. The newer antifungal medications currently available are very effective and safe. Though some of the newer anti-fungal medications have not yet been FDA-approved for nails, they are available by prescription for other types of fungal infections. Contact a dermatologist who is very knowledgeable in this area. It is also true, as you mention, that control of your athlete’s foot fungus is a very important part of the treatment.

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