Health Team

Treating foot fungus can be quick and painless

Posted December 13, 2010

WRAL Health Team

For many people, toe nail fungus is embarrassing, but for Susan Herbst, it hurts.

"Especially if I wear a shoe with pressure, with a sock or a stocking would catch on it and it becomes uncomfortable," Herbst said.

Herbst is undergoing pinpoint foot laser treatment. The laser uses heat to kill her toe nail fungus. It's quick and pain free. 

Nail fungus is an infection that thrives under a combination of darkness, heat and moisture. It causes nails to break and become thick and discolored.

Laser treatment can help rid toes of painful fungus Laser treatment can help rid toes of painful fungus

Topical creams don't have a high success rate and some oral medications come with serious health risks, including liver damage. Studies show the laser treatment is up to 85 percent effective.

"You'll see improvement; it's just a question of how much it's improved and what the patient is looking for," said Dr. John Cozzarelli, a podiatrist.

The average cost for laser treatment is around $1,000 plus follow-up treatments. Insurance doesn't cover any of it. Herbst says it's worth it.

"I hope that I can wear open-toed shoes and have nice-looking feet," she said.

But results aren't instant. Patients don't see any improvement from laser treatment until months later when the nail grows out.


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  • Viewer Dec 16, 2010

    I don't know about sterilizing but perhaps Lamisil shake power in the shoes would take care of any fungus living there. Never tried it myself.

  • retired state trooper Dec 14, 2010

    How do you stiralize your shoe?

  • BadDayforButch Dec 14, 2010

    Lamisil used to cost you that much and insurance wouldn't pay for it. Now, lamisil is old enough that they can now start producing generic versions of it. You can get a 3 month supply of the generic version fro 12 bucks from Wal-Mart. Take one per day for 3 months and the doctor says withing 9 months all your toenails will be free of fungus.

  • Malcontent Dec 14, 2010

    oooo! Joe Schmoe, dhowell, anniemouse, and Viewer: Thanks for the tips! :)

  • Joe Schmoe Dec 14, 2010

    Mine was cured by application of vinegar to the toenail once or twice a day for a few weeks.

  • dhowell Dec 14, 2010

    I had this problem and was told to use Vick's Vap-o-Rub each night and wear a sock to bed. It cleared up the problem in about 3 months, the same amount of time as other remedies.

  • anniemouse Dec 14, 2010

    I had this problem as well. I did not want to take the oral medication, as it had a lot of side effects associated with it.
    I completely cured this with Tea Tree oil applied twice daily. This is a natural anti-fungal and antibiotic. Results of this treatment is documented and has been proven to be as effective as the oral treatment. Just make sure it is pure Tea Tree; I got mine from a shop online. Some of what is sold in drug stores is not pure. It took several weeks to clear up, but it was worth it, easier than soaking and a whole lot cheaper than the laser.

  • Viewer Dec 14, 2010

    It costs less than $1000 to soak my feet in a strong bleach water solution in the comfort of my own bathroom.