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What is Toenail Fungus?
Onychomycosis or in much simpler terms, nail fungal infection, is a condition affecting fingernail as well as the toenail. An infection inside the nail starts with a white or yellow patch under the nail, and as it spreads, it causes the toenail to grow thick, discolour and crumbled on edges. It makes up to 50% of the nail abnormalities. They are of four kinds:
- Proximal subungual onychomycosis- Caused due to nail fold, where fungal infection penetrates the newly formed nail plate.
- White superficial onychomycosis (WSO)- Tends to create a chalky white appearance or “white island” on nails.
- Distal subungual onychomycosis- It invades the nail bed and underside of the nail plate.
- Candidal onychomycosis- Causes due to frequent immersion in water where a genus called “Candida” invades the nail plate
Signs and Symptoms
Depending upon the various classifications of fungal infections, the signs and manifestations that are seen in the toenail fungus are:
- Thick toenails
- Crumbled and distorted nail edges
- Pain in the toes
- Dull or yellow toe nails
- Slight foul odour
- Infected nail separates from the nail bed
- Development of fungus-free skin lesions, called Dermatophytids
- Rashes or itching
What causes nail fungus infections?
Nail fungal infections are caused by tiny microscopic organisms, called fungi. Fungi do not require sunlight to survive. Generally, a cluster of fungi, called dermatophytes, are responsible for the fungal infection of the toenail. On the other hand, some yeasts and molds are also the reason of these infections. Besides this, the other causes are:
- Weak blood circulation
- Humid or soggy work environment
- Tight or ill-fitted footwear
- Intense perspiration
- Genetic or heredity
- Weak immune system
- Wearing socks and shoes too much that prevents feet from exposure to air
- Walking barefoot in damp public places, like swimming pools and gyms
- Early damage or infection to the skin or nail
Who are exposed to the more risk to toenail fungal infection?
Toenail fungus can happen to anyone; however, there are various specific categories, which are more prone to toenail fungal infection, like people suffering from AIDS and diabetes.
Home Remedies for Toenail Fungus
Toenail fungus can be treated at home by simply using natural ingredients, available in your kitchen.
1. Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil is considered to be an excellent antiseptic, and it works great on fungicide infections. Take pure tea tree oil and add a few drops of olive or thyme oil to it. Apply it on the affected area with the help of a cotton ball and keep it for ten minutes. Eventually, gently rub the nail with a soft toothbrush. This remedy will work affirmatively if the infection is not too old.
2. Baking Soda
To cure toenail fungus, blend half cup of baking soda with a one-fourth cup of peroxide, half cup of Epsom salt, and four cups of hot water. After making this mixture, add a one-fourth cup of white vinegar to it. Soak the affected toe first into vinegar for a few minutes and then, apply this paste on the affected nail. Wrap it with a bandage or tape. For about four weeks, repeat the process in every ten hours. If this remedy is followed properly, the toe nail fungus will disappear quickly.
3. Orange Oil
To get rid of toe nail fungus, orange oil is also a good option. It can be applied with the help of a dropper between toes and on and under toe nails, daily. Let it sit for at least one hour. Orange oil can also be used with an equal amount of any carrier oil.
Note- It is advisable to test some diluted orange oil on a small part of skin before applying it to the infected area as it can cause allergic reactions and can have side-effects.
4. White Vinegar
To kill toenail fungus, white vinegar is also a great ingredient. For the treatment of toe nail fungus, mix one part of white vinegar with two parts of warm water and soak the infected foot into it for at least 10-15 minutes. After soaking process, rinse the foot well to prevent fungus from spreading further.
Note- In case of sensing any irritation, add more water to the solution and repeat it every alternate day.
Use garlic oil, mixed with an equal amount of white vinegar, to cure toenail fungus, naturally. Apply it to the affected area and cover the toe with an elastic bandage. This mixture slows down the activities of the fungus because of the anti-fungal properties of allicin, present in garlic. In case, garlic oil is not available, you can mix some olive oil in crushed garlic. Eating a clove of garlic on a daily basis also helps a lot.
6. Apple Cider Vinegar
To kill the fungus, affecting the toenail, mix equal parts apple cider vinegar and water to make a solution, which is an effective foot soak for toenail fungus. If followed properly, the remedy will show its result in a few weeks.
Alternatively, an anti-fungal scrub can also be prepared by making a paste of grounded rice flour and a few spoons of apple cider vinegar. Use this paste directly onto the affected area and gently scrub it. This will also remove the dead skin cells.
7. Lavender Oil
Because of several volatile compounds and antiseptic properties, lavender oil also acts as an effective natural home treatment for toenail fungus. Apply it with the help of a cotton ball beneath the top edge of the infected toenail and nearby area. Wear a pair of thick woollen socks after applying it to let it work more effectively.
8. Listerine Mouth Wash
Listerine mouth act upon as a powerful anti-bacterial agent. Make a solution of Listerine mouth wash, some vinegar and undiluted lemon juice. Soak your foot into it for 10-15 minutes. This is also a fantastic toenail fungus home treatment.
9. Oregano Oil
Oregano oil has strong anti-bacterial, antiseptic, anti-viral, anti-parasitical, anti-fungal and analgesic properties. That is why; oregano oil can also be used to get rid of toenail fungus. Mix oregano oil with a teaspoon of pure olive oil and apply this mixture on the affected area with the help of a cotton ball. Follow this remedy daily in order to get positive results within a few weeks.
10. Lemon Juice
The citric acid in lemon juice helps in stopping the spread of bacterial and fungal infection in the toenail. Apply fresh lemon juice directly onto the toenail for ten minutes and rinse it with warm water. Repeat this daily for one month.
Lemon juice can also be mixed with olive oil. Use it to massage the affected area.
11. Vicks VapoRub
To treat toenail fungus with the help of Vicks VapoRub, first of all, wash the foot thoroughly and cut and trim the nail. When the foot dries completely, cover the toenail with Vicks vapoRub. Once done, cover it with a bandage or gauze. Wear socks after doing so. Repeat the process daily to see effective results. Depending upon the fungal infection, it will take ten to six weeks to recover.
12. Vitamin E Oil
Gently rub Vitamin E oil to get rid of toenail fungus.
Peel an onion and cut it into slices. Rub a slice on the infected toenail. It is a natural treatment for toenail fungus.
14. Turmeric Powder
Add some water to prepare a turmeric paste. Apply it on the affected nail. Allow it to dry. Then, wash it off. It is also a good natural cure for toenail fungus.
Yogurt is a probiotic food that helps in fixing the problem of toenail fungus fast.
16. Hydrogen Peroxide
Mix 3% hydrogen peroxide solution with an equal amount of water. Dip the infected toenail in this solution for at least 18-20 minutes. This remedy will help in quick healing of toenail fungus.
17. Rubbing Alcohol
Dip infected toenail in rubbing alcohol for a few minutes. Then, dry your feet thoroughly.
Homeopathic Remedies for Toenail Fungus
There are a few homeopathic remedies that are helpful in the problem of toenail fungus.
1. Zetaclear : It work effectively against the nail fungus and promotes healthy nails. It contains natural oils and eliminates the fungi, encouraging the growth of the nails.
2. Fungisil : This solution effectively fights with the fungus infection and heal the area. It is a veritable homeopathic preference for the nail fungus treatment.
3. Nail – RX : This herbal treatment works effectively for killing bacteria and the organisms that are responsible for the infection.
4. FUNG-B-GONE : It contains vinegar, which stops the fungus growth and eliminates it.
Preventive Measures to Check Toenail Fungus
- Keep your nails clean, dry and short.
- Don’t share your socks and shoes.
- After touching infected nail, wash your hands properly.
- Make sure that the tools, you are using for the purpose of pedicure or manicure, are sterilized.
- Wear sandals or shoes in public pools and places.
- Don’t bite the nails.
- Make use of anti-fungal powders or sprays.
- Instead of trimming your nails with your fingers, use a clean nail clipper.
- Change your socks daily.
- Avoid wearing too tight shoes.