Funny about Money

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. ―Edmund Burke

Beautiful Toes! How to beat back toenail fungus

This is a tacky topic. Sorry. BUT…it really is so amazing, I’ve just gotta tell you about it. According to Wonder-Dermatologist, if you don’t need to know about this now, sooner or later you will.

Here’s the deal: It turns out that as you age, your immune system ages (not surprisingly). And as your immune system ages, its ability to beat back the normal yeasties and other fungus critters that occur naturally around us tends to…well…fade. Hence — Gawd Help Us! — toenail fungus!

So a few weeks ago, I’m at the dermatologist’s office forking over some taxpayer dollars to be told (as usual) that I don’t have malignant melanoma, so while I have him trapped in the examining room, I ask him about the nails that are lifting off both toes, “Fungus,” he opines.

Then he says the drug they give you to beat back toenail fungus can make you passing sick, and he doesn’t recommend it. BUT, he has an alternative. He suggests

…hang onto your hat…

Vick’s VapoRub.

I give him The Look.

He stands his ground and says that there’s evidence that the aromatics in Vick’s are mildly fungicidal, and that if you use it often enough and long enough, it will beat back nail fungus and keep it beaten back.

Suspecting he’s been smoking some of the ingredients, I come home and look it up in the Hypchondriac’s Treasure Chest; to wit, the Internet. Of course, the usual LiveStrong woo-woo is on the float. But lo!! I do find a study, one that appears to be a real study, published in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine. It’s a very small study — that is not good — but it does hint at the possibility of positive results.

The researchers followed a group of 18 participants over periods of 4, 8, 12, 24, 36, and 48 weeks, during which subjects were asked to treat affected nails with Vick’s VapoRub and periodically self-report the results on a 5-point Likert scale. Cutting to the chase: about a third of them — five patients — experienced a “cure” in that the fungal microbes were no longer detectable after treatment. (Several fungi can cause nail disorders; one is a common yeast infection and another is also very much in our environment — these two and only these two were found to have been eradicated by the end of the study.) Ten had a partial improvement, and three showed no improvement.

Yet — here’s the weird part — when asked to assess the results subjectively, all 18 participants “rated their satisfaction with the nail appearance at the end of the study as ‘satisfied’ (n = 9) or ‘very satisfied’ (n = 9).”

Okayyy….this looks like a “nothing ventured nothing gained” affair. The dermatologist said that if it worked, keeping the fungi at bay would require applying the stuff for the rest of my life. But why, I ask myself, not?

Meanwhile, I also learn that miconazole is sometimes prescribed for nail infections. Well, hell. Miconazole is available over the counter — gents, you can find it in the feminine products department of any grocery store or drugstore. It’s used to treat vaginal yeast infections. Just pretend you’re buying it for the wife.

If one’s good, two must be better, I figure.

So I buy a course of miconazole treatment — 3 vaginal suppository tubes of 3% cream plus a small tube of 2% cream for external use — plus a little jar of Vick’s VapoRub. Over at Michael’s, I pick up the cheapest small, stiff oil-paint brush I can find: this is ideal for applying said chemicals.

One suppository tube of miconazole lasts for a couple of weeks: dab a small amount of it under the top of your nails, around the sides, and along the cuticles. Then do the same with the VaporRub.

The VapoRub does, it is true, stink to high heaven when you apply it. However, the odor quickly dissipates. I’ve learned to cover my feet with ankle socks for an hour or so. After that, the stuff has soaked in and the smell is gone.

But here’s the thing:

After six  weeks, it’s as the day to the night!

The nails are certainly no worse. If anything, they’re better. But the rhino hide that had grown around the nails? GONE.

After six weeks of applying a small amount of miconazole and a generous amount of Vick’s twice a day (morning and evening), the tough, calloused skin around the nails — especially around the worst affected ones — has softened so effectively it now looks normal. The result is that even if a clinical cure is not accomplished, the feet look so much better cosmetically that one wants to do a Dance to Spring!

VapoRub is your basic petroleum jelly with some aromatic chemicals mixed in. So it’s prob’ly not surprising that it would moisturize and soften damaged, toughened hide on your feet.

As for the nails: it will take quite a long time for them to grow out, of course. So I think no decision can be made about a “cure” (or whatever) for several months — the term of the study was 48 weeks. I’d guess that’s about when one can risk an assessment as to whether this works or not.

But in the meantime, I’d say it’s very much worth a try. In the present case, the nails themselves already look better, and the skin around them appears to have returned to normal.

And remember: I am not a doctor. No part of this post constitutes medical advice. Talk to a real medical doctor before applying or swallowing drugs, quack nostrums, or experimental treatments.

Author: funny

This post may be a paid guest contribution.


  1. Pretty amazing IMHO….This kind of stuff always gets me…I used to have a pretty severe problem with foot cramps after a day of physical activity. When they start a=I take one tablespoon of yellow mustard….the cramping disappears….crazy. Aaaaand perhaps some hints on coping with heat. How in the heck do you guys cope with 115 degrees….We are in a bit of heat wave with highs in the upper 90’s ( which would be “balmy” for you guys) and it is difficult to get anything done….The water just pours out of you….I can’t imagine 115…. How do you keep paint on your cars? Your thoughts/suggestions?

    • LOL! It was 90 degrees at 5:00 this morning.

      Newer cars seem to hold up pretty well in the sun here. It used to be, though, that the paint would corrode away if you left a car outside all the time — that was especially true of those metallic paints. Remember those things? My horrid 1967 Ford Fairlane had a plain white top that held up well and a metallic teal body that turned to powder within months. What a lemon that vehicle was! 😀

      Most people buy white cars, if they have any sense at all. For one thing, the interior stays cooler, but for the main thing, white paint holds up best because it reflects heat.

      That’s a great idea for a post, though: I’ll have to come up with some “how to survive extreme heat” pointers. Thanx!!