Q. I am a Podiatrist, and I would like to comment on toenail fungus and treatment. When you write, “Home remedies don’t always work,” you imply that sometimes they do work. This is untrue. Home remedies rarely work.
There are real, doctor-prescribed, FDA-approved, clinically tested medications to treat toenail fungus. These include topical Penlac or oral Lamisil or Sporanox. I have successfully treated hundreds of patients with these drugs.
The unproven treatments you mentioned are little more than urban legends. In 23 years in practice I have never seen even one patient who has responded favorably to Vicks VapoRub, dilute vinegar soaks or Vitamin E oil. Don’t make me waste time dispelling these myths.
A. We know that home remedies like Vicks VapoRub don’t always work. There are few scientific studies of such treatments. But we have heard from many individuals who responded well to dilute vinegar soaks or topical applications of Vicks or tea tree oil to their infected nails. Perhaps people who benefit from such remedies don’t return to a podiatrist.
The prescription drugs you mention have certainly been tested and approved. But they are also pricey, and the oral medications require monitoring for possible serious side effects. Some people are reluctant to take on such costs and risks for an issue that is rarely medically urgent.

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