Onychomycosis (tinea unguium) is the most common nail disorder. Nonetheless, it requires lengthy, often ineffective treatments, and recurrence is frequent. Predominantly a disease of the elderly, onychomycosis is becoming more and more common. Besides interfering with normal nail function, fungal nail infections are relatively painful, unsightly in appearance, disrupt daily activities, and have a negative psychosocial connotation. Commonly reported psychosocial factors are embarrassment, low self-esteem, and social withdrawal. Yet advances in therapy have been achieved since these reports were made, and many of these treatment options have proven to be more effective. Thus, the impact of these advances on psychosocial well-being of patients with onychomycosis is worth analyzing. The objective of this paper is to review studies that investigated the psychosocial impact of onychomycosis on a variety of patient populations. An alternative, total patient approach that dermatologists and general practitioners alike could use to incorporate patients' psychosocial well-being into the holistic management of onychomycosis will also be discussed.
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