NEW ORLEANS -- If this unsightly ailment has you hiding your open-toe shoes, sandals and flip flops this summer, there may be some help.
A doctor says his inexpensive toenail creation really works.
It's a common ailment that's unpleasant to talk about.
"Ten percent of everybody over 50 has these thick, ugly, toenails and they don't know what to do for it," said Dr. Paul Kinsinger, a family physician in Illinois.
And young athletes, from ballerinas to runners to the pros, get them too.
"You get micro trauma on the inside of running shoes, like probably the whole defensive line and offense line of the Saints has these thick, ugly toenails because they get stepped on. And then you break the epidermal surface of the nail, and then that's where it's sweaty, dark, it's a setup for thick, ugly toenails," he explained.
Fungus, bacteria and yeast sets in and the nail never becomes normal again. But Dr. Kinsinger says his over-the-counter invention called Dr. Paul's Piggy Paste helps 75 percent of people grow in a new, soft, normal nail.
"I had to figure out that you don't put the product on the top of the toenail fungus. You put it right there, at the cuticle nail junction, put a Band-Aid on it. So no one's ever done that before, just once a day," said Dr. Kinsinger.
In three to four months, the new nail grows in. For diabetics that may take six to 12 months.
Other doctors say Piggy Paste uses the active ingredient in the mouth wash Listerine, known to kill fungus. It's mixed with a penetrating gel that patients who can't swallow use to take medicines.
But while Dr. Kinsinger uses it on diabetic patients, other doctors say double check first.
"Is it a replacement for tested, scientific, prescription products? No, but is it safe? Is it reasonable to try it? (Yes,)" said New Orleans dermatologist Dr. Mary Lupo. "The only caveat is if you're a diabetic, with active, diabetic disease, especially including peripheral neuropathy and vascular issues, I would strongly recommend that you not use this product unless you're advised by your primary care physician or your dermatologist."
Piggy Paste is $30 at the big chain drug stores.
Dr. Kinsinger says that people should not push cuticles back off of the nail. That leaves them more prone to infection.
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