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J Am Acad Dermatol. 1998 May;38(5 Pt 1):702-4.

Effect of onychomycosis on quality of life.

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  • 1Department of Dermatology, the Cutaneous Biology Research Center, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston 02114-2696, USA.



Onychomycosis impairs normal nail functions, causes considerable pain, interferes with daily activities, and has negative psychosocial effects.


Our purpose was to determine patients' perception of onychomycosis on the quality of life.


A total of 258 patients with confirmed onychomycosis were surveyed by telephone at three centers. Responses to a standardized quality-of-life questionnaire were analyzed for patient demographics, physical and functional impact, psychosocial impact, and economic impact.


Highest positive responses were nail-trimming problems (76%), embarrassment (74%), pain (48%), nail pressure (40%), and discomfort wearing shoes (38%). Ability to pick up small objects was impaired in 41% of subjects with fingernail involvement. More than 58 onychomycosis-related sick days and 468 medical visits (1.8 per subject) were reported during a 6-month period.


Onychomycosis has significant social, psychologic, health, and occupational effects. Relevance of quality-of-life issues to overall health, earning potential, and social functioning should prompt reconsideration of the value of aggressive treatment of and financial coverage for onychomycosis.

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