How To Use It
Apply mentholated ointment directly to the affected nail. Do this about once a day for several weeks or until the nail shows noticeable improvements.
Vinegar is a common household product found in cooking and some home cleaning solutions. Though no clinical evidence exists to date, there is anecdotal evidence to suggest that vinegar is an effective tool to help treat toenail fungus.
How To Cure Toenail Fungus: Can Vinegar Help
This article was co-authored by Zora Degrandpre, ND. Dr. Degrandpre is a Licensed Naturopathic Physician in Vancouver, Washington. She is also a grant reviewer for the National Institutes of Health and the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. She received her ND from the National College of Natural Medicine in 2007.There are 7 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. This article received 19 testimonials and 88% of readers who voted found it helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 1,073,560 times.
Nail fungus refers to a fungal infection that starts underneath your toenails. It could cause discoloration, thickening, or crumbling on one or more of your nails. This is a frustrating problem, so youll naturally want to get rid of nail fungus as soon as possible. One remedy you may have heard of is soaking your foot in vinegar to clear the infection. Vinegar is acidic, so it will kill bacteria and fungus.XResearch source However, this remedy has very limited success because the vinegar cant penetrate under the nail. You can try it if you want to, but visit a podiatrist for further treatment if you dont see any results in 2 weeks.
Remedies To Fight Toenail Fungus At Home
Toenail fungus, also known as onychomycosis, is perhaps one of the most common nail disorders. It is a fungal infection that penetrates through chinks in your toenail, cuts in the surrounding skin, or the separation between the nail and the toe, and affects the material below the toenail.
The fungus tends to thrive in certain conditions, such as abnormal body pH, a weakened immune system, continuous exposure to a moist environment including sweaty shoes and socks, poor hygiene, and diabetes.
As embarrassing as this condition may be, simply camouflaging your unsightly toenail, such as painting your nails, without tending to it properly would do you more harm than good. If the infection goes untreated long enough, it could spread to the adjoining skin, to the other toenails, and even perhaps to your fingernails.
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Preventive Measures To Check Toenail Fungus
- Dont 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.
- Dont 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.
Complications Regarding Toenail Fungus
Toenail fungal infections are typically painless or at least start off that way. But without proper self-care and treatment, the condition can spiral into a more severe case of nail fungus, which can be painful and may cause irretrievable damage to your nails.
Moreover, the toenail infection can sprout other serious infections that can spread beyond your feet, particularly if you have a suppressed immune system due to certain medications, diabetes, or other conditions.
Because people with diabetes are already predisposed to reduced blood circulation and nerve supply in their feet, their odds for catching toenail infections as well as bacterial skin infection are quite high.
Thus, it is imperative for people with diabetes to seek professional medical help for any seemingly minor foot injury including a nail fungal infection to avoid any future complications.
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How Do You Get Rid Of Thick Yellow Toenails
Applying a small amount of melted coconut oil can help heal thick yellow toenails. You can purchase over-the-counter antifungal nail creams and ointments. Be sure to clip and clean your nails before use to make sure the creams reach deeper layers. Laser therapy can be used to treat a fungal toenail infection.
Treating Fungal Nail Infection
Treatment may not be necessary in mild cases of fungal nail infection. For more severe or troublesome cases, antifungal medication may be recommended.
A fungal nail infection is unlikely to get better without treatment, but if you’re not bothered by it you might decide it’s not worth treating because treatment can take a long time, may cause side effects, and isn’t always effective.
Whether or not you decide to have treatment, you should still follow the self-help advice below to help stop the condition getting worse or spreading to others.
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Toenail Fungus Home Treatment:
- These are our favorite products to treat toenail fungus at home.
- It is difficult to properly diagnose any health problem such as toenail fungus with 100% certainty. So see your podiatrist and make sure you are not missing anything!
- Also, many of these products are considered beauty products more so than health products. Just be aware that they are not always FDA evaluated or approved in any way.
A Pharmacist Can Help With Fungal Nail Infections
Speak to a pharmacist if the look of your nail bothers you or it’s painful.
They may suggest:
- antifungal nail cream it can take up to 12 months to cure the infection and does not always work
- nail-softening cream it’s used for 2 weeks to soften the nail so the infected part can be scraped off
The infection is cured when you see healthy nail growing back at the base.
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How Do You Get A Fungal Nail Infection
Most fungal nail infections occur as a result of the fungi that cause athlete’s foot infecting the nails.
These fungi often live harmlessly on your skin, but they can sometimes multiply and lead to infections. The fungi prefer warm, dark and moist places like the feet.
You’re more likely to get a fungal nail infection if you:
- don’t keep your feet clean and dry
- wear shoes that cause your feet to get hot and sweaty
- walk around barefoot in places where fungal infections can spread easily, such as communal showers, locker rooms and gyms
- have damaged your nails
- have a weakened immune system
- have certain other health conditions, such as diabetes, psoriasis or peripheral arterial disease
Fungal nail infections can be spread to other people, so you should take steps to avoid this if you have an infection.
Take Care Of Your Toes
Use soap and water to wash your feet, and dry well, including between toes. Trim your toenails — straight across — to keep them shorter than the end of your toe. Make sure the tools you use are clean, too. Wash clippers and files with soap and water, then wipe with rubbing alcohol. You might be tempted to cover up discolored nails with polish, but don’t. Your nail bed can’t “breathe,” which keeps fungus from going away.
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Distal And Lateral Subungual Onychomycosis:
Distal and lateral subungual onychomycosis are seen in majority of cases and is almost always due to dermatophyte infection. It affects the hyponychium, often at the lateral edges initially, and spreads proximally along the nail bed resulting in subungual hyperkeratosis and onycholysis although the nail plate is not initially affected. Distal and lateral subungual onychomycosis may be confined to one side of the nail or spread sideways to involve the whole of the nail bed, and progresses relentlessly until it reaches the posterior nail fold. Eventually the nail plate becomes friable and may break up, often due to trauma, although nail destruction may be related to invasion of the plate by dermatophytes that have keratolytic properties. Examination of the surrounding skin will nearly always reveal evidence of tinea pedis. Toenail infection is an almost inevitable precursor of fingernail dermatophytosis, which has a similar clinical appearance although nail thickening is not as common.
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How To Make A Vinegar Foot Soak
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Fortunately, theres a simple solution to your woes, and it can be found in your kitchen.
What Is The Treatment For Fungal Nails
Oral antifungal therapy has a high cure rate, depending on the medication. It can take nine to 12 months to see if it has worked or not, because that is how long it takes for the nail to grow out. Even when therapy works, the fungus may come back. Currently, an oral antifungal therapy is considered the best treatment for toenail fungus because of higher cure rates and shorter treatment duration compared to topical therapy.
Prescription oral medications that are effective against nail fungus include the following:
There are several innovative treatments that are still being tested:
- Laser therapy or uses application of light-activated agents onto the nail followed by shining light of a proper wavelength on the nail.
- Use of electrical current to help absorption of topical antifungal medications into the nail: This is also called iontophoresis.
- Use of a special nail lacquer that changes the micro-climate of the nail to make it inhospitable for the fungus to grow: If this works, it may be an inexpensive way to treat this problem in the future.
One way to definitively get rid of toenail fungus is by surgery. Surgical treatment of onychomycosis involves nail removal. However, this often only provides temporary relief, and recurrence is common unless additional antifungal medication is simultaneously used. However, surgical removal may be warranted when the affected nail is associated with other factors such as trauma and or infection.
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Prevention And Treatment Of Toenail Fungus
Once its taken hold, toenail fungus can be hard to kick. Here are some techniques for the prevention and treatment of toenail fungus.
Anyone who enjoys wearing open-toed sandals in the summer knows how good it feels to have healthy-looking toenails. But good looks arent the only reason to keep your toenails in top shape. Fungal infections of the toenails also known as onychomycosis don’t go away on their own, and if left untreated, the fungus will spread and can eventually destroy the nail.
If you have comprised blood flow, theres even more reason to safeguard your toenails, since youll have trouble healing, says Ami Sheth, a doctor of podiatric medicine in Los Gatos, California, and a spokesperson for the American Podiatric Medical Association. And once you have a wound, you can get fungal skin infections, which can lead to a subsequent bacterial infection if the skin breaks down, notes Dr. Sheth.
However, because toenail fungal infections are typically painless, people are often unaware that they have a problem unless they are inspecting their feet regularly.
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When To See A Doctor
In most cases, toenail fungus is considered a cosmetic problem. Still, it may cause serious complications for some people.
If you have diabetes, toenail fungus may lead to foot ulcers or other foot problems. According to a 2012 study, chronic toenail fungus is a significant risk factor for bacterial cellulitis of the leg.
If you have diabetes or a weakened immune system, you shouldnt use home remedies for toenail fungus. Contact your doctor for the appropriate course of action.
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When To See A Doctor About Toenail Fungus
If you are experiencing persistent toenail fungus or pain is present, you may need to see a specialist. A dermatologist or podiatrist may be able to assess your symptoms and send a small sample of the affected toenail or flesh to a laboratory to be analyzed as there are various types of fungi and yeasts that cause onychomycosis. Knowing the specific cause of your foot fungus can help identify what route to take to treat your condition.
Nail changes can also be caused by underlying conditions, like psoriasis and diabetes, so its important to seek professional medical advice if your condition persists or worsens. Bacterial and fungal infection of skin in diabetes patients often result in hospital admissions, and in severe cases, can result in amputations. If you are at a higher risk for infection, you should skip home remedies and seek professional medical treatment.
Why Does It Develop
A fungal nail infection occurs from the overgrowth of fungi in, under, or on the nail. Fungi thrive in warm, moist environments, so this type of environment can cause them to naturally overpopulate. The same fungi that cause jock itch, athletes foot, and ringworm can cause nail infections.
Fungi that are already present in or on your body can cause nail infections. If you have come in contact with someone else who has a fungal infection, you may have contracted it as well. Fungal infections affect toenails more commonly than fingernails, likely because your toes are usually confined to shoes, where theyre in a warm, moist environment.
If you get a manicure or pedicure at a nail salon, be sure to ask how the staff disinfects their tools and how often they do it. Tools, such as emery boards and nail clippers, can spread fungal infections from person to person if theyre not sanitized.
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Making The Vinegar Foot Soak
Vinegar will not hurt your feet, but you should still dilute it for a foot soak. Generally, using 1-part vinegar to 2-parts water is a good ratio. If youre tolerating the diluted vinegar soaks, and not noticing any difference, you can use a stronger soak.
While the soak will smell strong, the odor will dissipate after the vinegar dries from your feet. You can also use essential oils to change the scent slightly.
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Why Does Vinegar Soak Work
The idea behind vinegar foot soaks is relatively simple: vinegar is acidic, which gives it antifungal and antibacterial properties.
To explain a bit further, vinegar is a diluted form of acetic acid . As a result, it is an antifungal agent meaning it slows down the growth of some types of foot fungus and may kill fungus entirely.
It might also make your body less hospitable to fungus because the acidity affects the pH level of your skin. This makes fungal overgrowth and infection much more unlikely.
Its worth noting though, that there is no scientific evidence that shows vinegar soaks is a reliable method for treating toenail fungus.
What Is The Outcome For Someone Who Has Nail Fungus
With treatment, many people can get rid of nail fungus. Even when the fungus clears, your nail may look unhealthy until the infected nail grows out. A fingernail grows out in 4 to 6 months and a toenail in 12 to 18 months.
To clear the fungus, its important to:
Use the treatment exactly as prescribed
Apply the medicine for as long as prescribed
Keep all follow-up appointments with your dermatologist
Nail fungus can be stubborn. If you had a severe infection, its possible to clear the infection. A healthy looking nail, however, may be unrealistic, but you can expect the nail to look better and feel more comfortable.
Even with clearing, nail fungus can return. Youll find steps to reduce your risk in Tips: 12 ways to prevent another nail infection.
ReferenceGold LFS and Rosen T. Onychomycosis: Diagnosis, treatment, and prevention strategies. Dermatology News . March 2016:2-15.
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What Are Fungal Nail Infection Symptoms And Signs
- Fungal nail infection usually does not cause any symptoms unless the nail becomes so thick it causes pain when wearing shoes. People with fungal nail infection usually go to the doctor for cosmetic reasons, not because of physical pain or problems related to fungal nail infection.
- As the nail thickens, however, fungal nail infection may interfere with standing, walking, and exercising.
- Paresthesia , pain, discomfort, and loss of agility may occur as the disease progresses. Loss of self-esteem, embarrassment, and social problems can also develop.
- Severe cases of Candida infections can disfigure the fingertips and nails.
Symptoms or signs of fungal nail infection based on subtype
Fungal nail infection is divided into subtypes that can be identified based on where the infection appears to be located relative to the structure of the nail.