Are your toes sore? Does it look like something is wrong with your toenail? If you’ve recently been diagnosed with toe fungus, there are a number of treatment options at your disposal.
We’ll tell you everything you need to know about this irritating problem. You’ll learn the best nail fungus treatment and home remedies for toe fungus.
The guide will also cover preventive measures so you can avoid these issues in the future.
What is Toenail Fungus
According to WebMD, toenail fungus is a painful infection that can change the color of your toenail or make it thicker. The infection gets into your nail through cracks or cuts in the skin. Yeast and different types of fungus are the root of these toenail problems.
Your toes and feet are typically exposed to dark, warm, and damp environment, which make a prime location for fungus growth. Sometimes mild cases can go away if you leave it alone. However, without treatment, it’s possible for the infection to spread. It can affect other toenails, fingernails, and even your skin.
Toenails vs. Fingernails
The fungus does not just affect your toenails, but it can also grow in your fingernails. If you have fungi growing on your feet or toes, it can spread to your fingernail and vice versa.
The American Academy of Dermatology explains that early diagnosis is important with these infections. If you catch it in the early stages and begin treatment, you can prevent the fungus from spreading to other parts of your body.
Fingernail fungus has similar signs and symptoms as the toenails. The fingernail fungus remedies are also the same as the ones for your toes.
What does toenail fungus look like?
The first sign of toenail fungus is discoloration. If your nail is starting to look yellow, there is a good chance that you have an infection. Another common symptom is when the nail gets thicker. The thick nails can break easily and sometimes look abnormally shaped or warped.
If you notice a white dot on your nail that slowly grows bigger, it’s another sign of a toe infection. Fungus can also separate the nail from the bed of your toe; so if the nails are loose or appear lifted, it could be another warning sign.
Who is at Risk
According to Mayo Clinic, men are more likely than women to get toe fungus. People who are older or elderly are also at an increased risk because their blood is reduced. Elderly people have nails that grow slower and longer periods of exposure to infections.
If you have a family history of fungus or live with someone that has an infection, you have a greater chance of developing it as well. People that sweat heavily and have athlete’s foot are likely candidates for problems with toes.
Don’t walk around barefoot in public areas. People that do not wear shoes or sandals around swimming pools, locker rooms, and gym showers are putting themselves at an increased risk of getting fungus on their toes.
Psoriasis or other skin conditions can also lead to an infection. Injuries or cuts on your nails or skin increase the risk as well. If you have diabetes or a weak immune system, then you have a greater chance of getting toe fungus.
When you work in an environment where your hands or feet stay wet for long periods of time, you are a high-risk candidate. Some of these jobs include housekeeping or bartending. If it’s humid and your socks and shoes have poor ventilation, you are susceptible to fungi growth.
So you have fungus growing in your toenails; now what? There are a number of treatment options that you can find in your local pharmacy or drugstore. Your doctor or pharmacist will tell you how to get rid of toenail fungus with these medications.
Oral Antifungal Drugs
Oral prescriptions are an effective treatment. The medicine helps your new nail grow without an infection, which slowly replaces the infected area. Normally, you would take these medications for six to 12 weeks.
Even after you finish the prescription, it still takes time for the area to completely heal. It can take up to four months for a new nail to completely grow in, which is when you would see the result.
Oral antifungal treatment has an increased success rate if it’s combined with other treatment options such as topical antifungal options or home remedies for toenail fungus. These oral drugs are not typically recommended for elderly people.
Although they are an effective treatment method, there are potential side effects from oral antifungal drugs. They can cause a rash on your skin or lead to liver disease. It also increases your chances of heart failure.
Your doctor may recommend blood tests to see how your body is responding to the prescription.
Medicated Nail Polish
You can get prescription nail polish from your doctor. Apply the nail polish to the nails and the skin surrounding the infection one every day. Once a week goes by, clean the nails and skin with rubbing alcohol. Then, continue to apply the polish once daily again for another week.
Keep repeating the process of applying polish daily and cleaning with alcohol weekly. You may have to continue this for up to a year to see results.
Medicated nail polish works well on both your fingers and your toes. Medicated polishes are the only type that you should apply if you have fungus growth. Stay away from polish or paint that has a primary purpose for fashion or aesthetic looks.
Antifungal medicated creams are the best treatment for toenail fungus. You can obtain a prescription from your doctor after they make a diagnosis.
The first step is to soak your feet in warm water, which helps thin the nails and makes the treatment more effective. When you apply the cream, it seeps through the nail and fights the fungus lying underneath.
Your doctor may use a special file or tool to thin your nails before prescribing the medicated cream. Thinning the nail can speed up the healing and recovery process.
Light Based Therapies
If you are looking for an alternative method of treating your fungus problem, you can look into laser or light-based therapy. You can try these therapies alone, or in conjunction with another treatment such as antifungal cream.
One of the popular light-based therapies is performed with carbon dioxide lasers. You can find some laser machines to use in the privacy of your home. Most of them are small and compact, so you can take them with you in a bag if you travel.
Light therapy is painless and uses a pulse laser that emits low levels light that won’t harm body tissue. It’s a timely procedure. It takes about seven minutes daily on each finger or toe that’s affected. But you’ll need to spend up to four months doing this to determine how well it’s working.
These methods are not available everywhere, so it may not be an option for everyone. They are often expensive and probably not covered by your insurance provider.
In some cases, your doctor may recommend surgery for treating nail fungus. The recommendation will come if the infection is severe. People suffering from extreme pain due to the fungal infection are also candidates for nail removal.
Once the nail gets removed, your body will naturally produce and grow a new nail to replace it. However, this process can take up to a year to grow back completely. Your doctor may also prescribe some oral medications to help the nail grow back faster.
Surgery is sometimes required to treat the nail bed to make sure everything heals properly without any delays or speed bumps in the process. It’s important to take proper care of the area once the nail gets removed. The exposed nail bed is sensitive and at risk for other infections.
In addition to prescription medicines or surgery, we’ll show you how to get rid of toe fungus items found around the house. Home remedies for toe fungus are safe and effective. If you don’t have these things lying around your house or kitchen, they are easy to find at your local grocery store.
You may determine that using a home remedy for toenail fungus is the fastest and most cost effective way to heal your infection.
Tea tree oil is one of the best toenail fungus treatment methods. It has antifungal and antiseptic properties that can fight fungus and helps with other skin infections as well.
Put a few drops of tea tree oil into a small cup or bowl mixed with a teaspoon of olive oil or coconut oil. Next, soak a cotton ball in the liquid. Use the cotton ball to apply the oils to your toenail. Leave it on your toe for about ten minutes, and then scrub it off with a clean toothbrush or washcloth.
Repeat these steps two or three times every day until your infection goes away.
Extract from snakeroot leaves is an effective solution to treat your toenail fungus. Keep your toenails as thin as possible before applying snakeroot extract. You can use a nail file or see a doctor to do this. Soaking your feet in warm water also helps then the nails.
You can apply snakeroot directly to the infection, or add it to a footbath of warm water. Do this twice daily until you start to see results.
The oil extractions from oregano have properties that are antifungal, antiviral, antibacterial, antiseptic, analgesic, and anti-parasite. It’s a great home remedy to treat infections related to toenail fungus.
Add two or three drops of oregano oil to a teaspoon of olive oil. Apply the oils to your toenail and affected skin area surrounding the infection. Let the oils resonate on your skin and nail for about 30 minutes.
Rinse the oils off your skin with warm water. Then thoroughly dry your feet and toes with a clean towel. Repeat these steps two or three times each day for three or four weeks. You should notice positive results after the first couple weeks.
Garlic is another great toenail fungus home remedy. It contains allicin and ajoene, which are both compounds that are effective fungus treatments.
First, mix garlic oil in a bowl with white vinegar. You should use equal amounts of each to make this concoction. Apply the mixture to the toenail and skin surrounding it. Next, cover the toe with a bandage.
After a few hours, remove the bandage and rinse it off with warm water. Repeat this process once or twice per day until the infection goes away.
Consuming garlic is an alternative method to fighting your toe fungus. Crush one or two garlic gloves every day and eat them. You can do this in addition to other treatment options.
Baking Soda and Vinegar
You can create toenail fungus vinegar that fights infection with baking soda and apple cider vinegar. The alkaline environment from the baking soda prevents fungus from growing, and the acid in the apple cider vinegar kills the bacteria without damaging your skin.
Add a cup of apple cider vinegar to a bowl or bucket of water. Soak your feet in the bucket for 15 minutes. Remove your wet feet and gently pat them dry with a clean towel.
Next, add baking soda into the water. Mix the baking soda well with the vinegar and water solution. Place your feet back in the bucket and let them soak for an additional 15 minutes before drying.
Repeat this process twice per day until your toe infection is gone.
Coconut oil has antifungal properties that fight off infection. It also contains fatty acids that remove fungus. The lauric acid found in coconut oil is antibacterial and anti-inflammatory in addition to antifungal. It also helps moisturize your skin and nails, so they remain soft and heal properly. The coconut oil nutrients strengthen nail growth and cuticles.
Massage coconut oil to your feet and damaged nail. Let it sit on your skin until it dries naturally. It should take less than ten minutes for that to happen. Repeat this two or three times every day until your fungus disappears.
Even after the infection is gone, you can continue regular coconut oil treatments as a preventative measure to fight off infections.
Trim the infected toenail with nail clippers so you can have easier access to the fungus beneath your nail. Be sure to disinfect the nail clippers immediately after using them. Hot water, soap, and rubbing alcohol should do the trick.
Next, wash your feet and toes with soap, warm water, and scrubbing brush. Use a cue tip to apply vapor rub to your nail. Cover the top, sides, edges, and reach as far underneath the nail as you possibly can. Continue to apply vapor rub to the entire toe and surrounding toes to prevent the fungus from spreading.
Cover the area with a bandage, gauze, or sock to help the rub absorb into your skin. For best results, do this before going to bed every night. You can also re-apply during the day. It may take several months before you notice results.
Listerine and White Vinegar
Listerine kills germs and bacteria in your mouth, but it can also fight fungus growing on your toenail. Find a small bucket or footbath and fill it with Listerine. Next, add an equal amount of white vinegar.
Soak your foot in the mixture for about 30 minutes. Then gently scrub the infected toe with warm water and a soft cloth. Rinse it completely and thoroughly dry the area. Repeat this process once or twice every day until you see results and the infection clears up.
First, clean infected toe and surrounding skin with warm water and soap. Scrub beneath the nail with a brush to expose the bacteria and remove dirt. Thoroughly dry the nail with a soft and clean towel. Inspect the area for any cuts or breaks in your skin. If you have cuts, it will sting when you apply the rubbing alcohol.
Pour rubbing alcohol into a small bowl or footbath. Soak the infect nail or nails in the liquid for 20 minutes twice per day. That allows plenty of time for the alcohol to get exposed to the bacteria.
Make sure you thoroughly clean anything that you used to touch your feet or nails. Since the fungus is contagious, the infection could return if you keep using the same instruments without disinfecting them first.
Repeat these steps for at least two weeks to determine if the remedy is working.
Lemons are a natural cure for toenail fungus because they have antifungal and antiseptic properties. Citric acid helps prevent fungus from spreading as well.
Start with one or two fresh lemons. Squeeze the lemon juice and apply it to the affected area. Let it sit for up to 30 minutes and then rinse it completely off with warm water.
You can also mix lemon juice and olive oil into a bowl. Dip your hands in the bowl and liberally massage the mixture onto the infection and surrounding skin. Olive oil will help keep your skin soft while the lemons fight the fungus.
Repeat one or both of these methods two or three times every day. Continue this process for a month or two until the infection goes away.
Lavender has natural healing properties. Look for pure lavender oil when you’re at the store. Diluted oils won’t be as effective as the purest form. Sometimes people use lavender oil combined with other substances that are designed for aromatherapy, which is not the same oil you want to use on an infection.
Fill a bucket with warm water and add about five drops of lavender oil and five drops of tea tree oil. Mix the liquids together and soak your feet in the bucket. If you have a footbath or massage bath for your feet, you can add these ingredients to that as well.
Soak your feet for about 20 minutes once or twice per day. Dry your feet thoroughly before putting your socks back on. Continue this process until the infection heals and the fungus is gone.
Pour about an inch or two of water into a shallow bucket or container that you can fit your foot inside of. Pour another inch or two of warm water into the bucket and let it sit for an hour or so. You don’t need to mix them together. Water and cornmeal will naturally combine over the hour.
Once an hour passes, add more warm water to the mixture so that you can completely submerge your foot in the bucket. Submerging your entire foot helps treat fungus that could spread to other areas of your skin or surrounding nails.
Soak your feet cornmeal for an hour. Rinse your feet with warm water and pat them dry with a clean towel once you finish. Do this once per week in combination with other treatments until the fungus goes away.
Ozonated Olive Oil
This home remedy mixes the healthy benefits of olive oil with the powerful effects of ozone to help stave off a variety of infections and heal skin ailments.
Ozone itself is an inorganic molecule comprised of three oxygen atoms. This substance is very effective for killing bacteria and fungi, essentially helping to stop infections in their tracks.
When ozone is coupled with olive oil, its cleansing properties pair up with the oils moisturizing and softening capabilities, keeping skin both soft and clean. Ozone oxidizes very quickly, causing it to break down and disappear soon after use, leaving only the oil behind.
Now that you’ve eliminated your infection with toenail fungus remedies, you’re going to need to take preventative steps moving forward to make sure this doesn’t happen again.
If you sweat often, make sure you are wearing socks that are breathable and help keep moisture off your skin. It’s also important to wear breathable shoes whenever possible. Keep an extra pair of socks with you and change them during the day. Always wash your feet thoroughly in the shower.
Never walk around communal areas barefoot. Use sandals whenever you shower at the gym or walk around the locker room. Keep your sandals on if you are walking around swimming pool areas as well.
Eat well and stay healthy to boost your immune system. A strong immune system will fight off and prevent fungus from growing.