Remedies And Treatments For Toenail Fungus
Antifungal remedies help to stop the growth of the fungus. Over-the-counter options do not claim to cure toenail fungus, but they can help to improve the look of the affected nail. These products do not work as well as prescription medications. To cure toenail fungus, a remedy has to penetrate the nail and nail bed. Most over-the-counter remedies for nail fungus are topical and do not penetrate deeply enough.
Trim, Buff, and Thin the Affected Nail
Keeping your nails trim, buffed, and clean helps to prevent the spread of the fungus to other nails. Additionally, buffing the nail can allow topical antifungals to penetrate more deeply. Make sure to wash your hands promptly after touching the affected nail, especially before touching other nails.
Vicks VapoRub is a product marketed for people with coughs. However, it may also be effective against toenail fungus. One small study showed that after applying it topically each day for 48 weeks, 27.8% of participants fully cured their nail fungus â and 55.6% of participants saw partial improvement. However, more study is needed.
Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil comes from the Australian tea tree. It is an essential oil traditionally used as an antibacterial and antifungal treatment. Early research shows that it may help with nail fungus when used topically. However, more research is needed. If you do use tea tree oil for toenail fungus, only use it topically.
Why Vicks For Toenail Fungus
Now that we know how someone could get toenail fungus, lets talk a possible treatment: Vicks Vapor Rub. What is it about this cough and cold medicine that helps with infected toenails? Good question.
One of the ingredients in Vicks is thyme oil and it has been shown to remove fungus from underneath toenails.
In the January-February 2011 issue of the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine, a study was printed in which eighteen people who were dealing with toenail fungus applied Vicks to the affected area.
Five of the participants were cured, ten saw their symptoms improve, and three participants experienced no changes at all.
Of the five people who were cured, only two kinds of fungus were identified Trichophyton mentagrophytes and Candida parapsilosis. This suggests that the treatments effectiveness may depend on the type of fungus that someone has on their toe.
Cover The Affected Area In Oregano Oil
Believe it or not, the tasty herb can also work wonders for treating toenail fungus at home. According to a 2020 study published in the Journal of Skin Appendage Disorders, researchers found that oreganos antibacterial properties are able to inhibit fungal growth in nails when included in an essential oil blend.
While the effectiveness of oregano oil has only been known anecdotally, thymola common component of oregano oilhas been reviewed to be an effective antibacterial and antifungal agent, Hayag says. People with toenail fungus can apply the product to affected areas twice daily and can expect no improvement, partial improvement, or complete improvement of their toenail fungus after using oregano oil. That said, she mentioned that oregano oil is quite potent and can cause an adverse reaction if you have particularly sensitive skin. For this reason, she recommends starting with a patch test. Additionally, to prevent an adverse reaction, consider mixing oregano oil with a carrier oil, such as olive or avocado oils, to dilute its potency.
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Should I Cut Off My Fungus Toenail
If you do have a toenail fungus, your doctor will likely recommend one or more of the following treatment options: Trimming the Toenail Trimming the toenail is usually combined with medication, but having a podiatrist periodically trim the nail down is helpful and allows the medication to work better, says Sundling.
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Creams & Topical Treatments For Toenail Fungus
Over-the-counter fungal creams like clotrimazole dont work well for treating toenail fungus. Prescription nail polishes are available, but they take longer to work and arent effective for severe cases. Thats because they dont penetrate the nail very well. That said, they are still a good option for people with mild cases of toenail fungus, or for those who cant take the oral antifungals. Examples include:
Side effects are usually minor and include redness or burning at the application site.
You might hear or read about medicated chest rub as a treatment for toenail fungus, but its mostly hype. Its a tempting option because its so safe, easy to use, and cheap. But its not likely to help.
Whos At Risk For Fungal Infections
There are many different causes of fungal nail infections. Each cause has a treatment of its own. Although many of the causes of a fungal nail infection are preventable, some risk factors increase the likelihood of developing one. Youre more likely to develop a fungal nail infection if you:
- wear closed-toe shoes, such as tennis shoes or boots
Nail infections occur more often in men than in women, and the infections are found in adults more often than in children. If you have family members who often get these types of fungal infections, youre more likely to get them as well.
Older adults have a high risk for getting fungal nail infections because they have poorer circulation. The nails also grow more slowly and thicken as we age.
A fungal infection of the nail may affect part of the nail, the entire nail, or several nails.
Common signs of a fungal nail infection include:
- a distorted nail that may lift off from the nail bed
- an odor coming from the infected nail
- a brittle or thickened nail
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Cellulitis Vs Venous Stasis
Venous stasis, or venous stasis dermatitis, is a condition commonly misdiagnosed as cellulitis.
This condition causes swelling, discoloration, and can develop into skin ulcers. It is the result of poor circulation in the lower limbs and typically affects the lower legs and ankles.
Unlike cellulitis, this condition can affect both sides of the body and is not the result of bacterial infection. However, should you develop sores or ulcers as a result of venous stasis, your risk of a skin infection will increase.
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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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.
How Can I Prevent Toenail Fungus
Theres no way to guarantee that you wont get toenail fungus. But you can take several steps to help prevent it:
- Avoid going barefoot in communal areas such as hotel rooms / showers, public showers, locker rooms and swimming pools. Most people pick up fungus in these situations. It helps to wear flip flops in these public areas.
- If you have a family member with foot fungus or nail fungus, try to use different shower or wear flip flops in the shower to avoid coming in contact with it.
- Trauma due to accidental or aggressive clipping of the nails can turn into portals of entry for the fungus.
- Clean your nail trimmer before using it.
- Do not tear or rip your toenails on purpose.
- If you have diabetes, follow all foot care recommendations from your healthcare provider.
- Keep your feet dry. Make sure to fully dry your feet after a shower.
- Soak toenails in warm water before cutting them. Or you can cut your nails after a shower or bath.
- Trim toenails straight across .
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/6toenail Infection Is A Contagious Disease
Toenail fungus also known as onychomycosis is a common infection of the toenail. This contagious disease can be very painful and can even spread to other parts of the body, if not treated immediately.
The most common symptom of the toenail infection is a white, brown or yellow discoloration of one or more toenails. It may spread and even cause the nails to thicken and crack.
Traditionally, anti-fungal treatments such as terbinafine or fluconazole are used to cure toenail fungus, but these treatments have some serious side effects like upset stomach, dizziness, and jaundice. Most people opt for home remedies to cure this disease.
You can also try these popular home remedies, if your toenail is troubling you.
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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Pack The Area With Dental Floss Or Cotton
Mayo Clinic recommends tucking small bits of cotton or waxed dental floss under the edge of an ingrown toenail to encourage proper nail growth. Not every medical group agrees.
According to the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons, placing cotton under your nail may increase pain and allow harmful bacteria to thrive. Soaking the cotton or floss in alcohol before application may help reduce this risk.
What Should I Ask My Healthcare Provider About Toenail Fungus
If you have toenail fungus, you may find it helpful to ask your provider:
- What type of infection do I have?
- Do you recommend I treat it? Why or why not?
- How long will I need treatment?
- What steps can I take to stop it from coming back?
- Should I be aware of any potentially serious complications or treatment side effects?
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Toenail fungus is an incredibly common infection that can be difficult to treat. The condition usually isnt painful, but it may make you feel self-conscious about how your foot looks. If it bothers you, talk to your provider about your treatment options. A trained specialist can provide guidance on whats most likely to address your concerns while protecting your overall health.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 12/17/2020.
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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.
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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Softening And Scraping Away The Nail
As it can take a long time for antifungal medication to work, some people may prefer to use a treatment that involves softening and removing infected parts of nail over a few weeks.
Treatment kits are available from pharmacies that contain a 40% urea paste, plasters and a scraping device. The paste softens the infected parts of the nail, allowing them to be scraped away so they can be gradually replaced with healthy nail.
To use the treatment:
What Causes Toenail Fungus
It is very unlikely that a few exposures to an unclean environment will cause a fungal infection. Walking barefoot once or twice in a public shower will not generally spread the infection. Similarly, it is also unlikely that a single visit to a pedicurist will cause the infection. Lengthy exposure to a contaminated environment is often required in order to contract the fungal infection although individuals may be more susceptible to fungal infections than others.
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What Is The Stuff Under My Toenails That Smells
Its important to avoid getting a fungal infection on your toenails. The infections that cause it cause the toenails to turn yellow and brittle, a foul odor from the bugs that cause it, as well as the nails turning yellow and brittle. The same microorganisms are responsible for toenail infections that are present in athletes feet.
When To Refer To Podiatry
Before initiating topical or oral therapy, patients should ideally be referred to a podiatrist for nail trimming and debridement. This assists with removing as much fungus as possible and improves topical drug penetration. Debridement alone cannot be recommended for the treatment of OM patients using a combination of debridement and topical nail lacquer have shown a significant improvement in mycological cure compared with debridement only. Patients with nail trauma owing to footwear, dystrophic toenails affecting other toes or who describe discomfort when walking owing to thickened toenails should also be referred.
When there is treatment failure with topical, oral and combination therapies, a podiatrist may be able to carry out a chemical or surgical nail avulsion .
If there is doubt over the original diagnosis, or where no improvement has been seen with treatment, pharmacists should refer patients to a podiatrist or their GP.
Supported by RB
RB provided financial support in the production of this content.
The authors were paid by The Pharmaceutical Journal to write this article and full editorial control was maintained by the journal at all times.
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Best Homeopathic Remedies For The Treatment Of Toenail Fungus
ANTIMONIUM CRUDUM Homeopathic Remedy For Fungi Causing Toenails And Deformed Toenails
I would say that homeopathic treatment for toenails fungus promises a safe and effective solution without side effects. The homeopathic medicine Antimonium Crudum is one of the best remedies for nail infections associated with thick horny calluses of the skin. work well in patients who have horny warts on the hands and soles of the feet. Antimonium Crudum provides relief to patients with dry, itchy skin. The toenails that can be treated with Antimonium Crudum are brittle and break apart easily. The original shape of the nails is deformed, and the nails become deformed. The patient seems to get unusually irritated at the slightest thing. The fingernails are split and grow at a very slow rate.
Best Soak: Purely Northwest Tea Tree Oil Foot & Body Soak
Relaxes muscles with Epsom and sea salts
Essential oils may be potential allergens
If youre looking for an all-natural route to treat toenail fungus, then this foot soak could be for you. Not only is a foot soak a relaxing way to end your day, but the ingredients used in Purely Northwests soak include Epsom salt, sea salt, tea tree oil, and other oils. These ingredients soothe the skin while addressing foot and toenail fungus.
The combined ingredients work to dry out the fungus to prevent it from spreading. Benefits of the soak also include healing cracked feet and soothing aches.
This US-made product has no dyes or synthetic fragrances, making it a great all-natural solution. But results, depending on severity, might take longer to show when using the soak over prescription or over-the-counter treatments.
Active Ingredients: Epsom salt, Dead Sea salt, MSM, and Therapeutic-grade essential oils | Dose: Add 1.5 tablespoons of foot soak mix for every gallon of water. Mix with hands until the salt dissolved. Add additional salts for a more stronger or aromatic foot bath. Soak your feet for About 15-20 minutes. | Uses: Treats fungus all over feet eliminates food odor and aches
Great for athletes and gym goers
Cleanses and deodorizes
Also treats acne, candida, and rashes
Fragrant oils may be overwhelming
Tea tree and lavender sooth skin
Money back guarantee
Results can take several weeks
Only for toe and fingernail fungus
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