Top Home Treatments for Toenail Fungus

If you are one of the many people who suffer from toenail fungus, you know how embarrassing and frustrating it can be. Fungi grow everywhere in the world, but especially in dark and damp environments, and some fungus that infects the toenails or fingernails can cause fungal nails.

Toenail fungus is hard to get rid of completely without professional treatment. With that being said, if you are otherwise healthy and your toenail fungus still appears relatively mild and is not bothering you too much, you may feel inclined to try a couple of home treatments before moving on to physician-led options. But with so much misinformation out there, it’s hard to know where to start.

To make it easier for you, we’ve selected a handful of home treatments that, at the very least, should be safe and relatively pleasant to attempt. If they work for you, great! If not—or if you just want a faster, easier, and more effective solution—we are available for treatment. 

What is Toenail Fungus?

Toenail fungus is a fungal infection of the toenails. Fungi are tiny organisms that live in warm, moist environments. They are often found in public places such as locker rooms, swimming pools, and showers. The fungus can also be found on nail salon tools. The fungi can enter the nails through small cuts or breaks in the skin.

The resulting infection causes the nails to become thickened, discolored, and brittle. Because of this, most people become embarrassed to show their nails in public. While unsightly, the fungal nails can but usually do not cause pain in the toenails.

Toenail fungus is more common in people who have diabetes or a weakened immune system. Fungal toenails are also more common in older adults.

Symptoms of toenail fungus include:

  • Thickened nails
  • Brittle nails
  • Discolored nails
  • Nails that separate from the nail bed
  • Nails with a bad odor

If left untreated, toenail fungus can cause the nails to become deformed. The fungus can also spread to other parts of the body.

There are many over-the-counter treatments for toenail fungus. These include creams, ointments, and gels. Some people also use home remedies to treat their fungal nails.

How Useful are Home Remedies for Toenail Fungus?

If we are being honest, not very. Fungal nails are difficult to treat. The fungus that causes them is hard to kill. This is because the fungus lives in the nail bed. This is the area under the hard part of your nail. The nails act like a shield for the fungus. This makes it hard for medicines to reach the fungus and kill it.

Furthermore, if you have diabetes or a weakened immune system, do not attempt home treatment on your own—come see us right away so we can help you mitigate the risk of further complications.

Topical medication is sometimes effective in killing the fungus. But because the nails act as a barrier, it is hard for the medicine to reach the fungus thriving under the toenails. The fungus can also grow back after treatment.

Home Remedies for Toenail Fungus

There is a range of home remedies and over-the-counter treatments available for toenail fungus, including:

  • Topical antifungal medications: These are available as a cream, solution, or lacquer. They need to be applied to the nail daily for several months. There are also nail polishes with added toenail fungus-fighting ingredients available as well.
  • Oral antifungal medications: These are taken by mouth and can be used for moderate to severe infections. They need to be taken for several weeks or months. You should also know that while some might be over-the-counter options, many better-quality oral medications will require a prescription from a doctor.
  • Other topical products: These include tea tree oil, apple cider vinegar, and other essential oils, although there is little evidence to support their effectiveness in treating toenail fungus.
  • Foot soak: Medicated foot soaks can possibly help to kill the fungus and promote healing, but there is little evidence for their effectiveness. Common ingredients people swear to include vinegar, baking soda, and Epsom salts.

Again we just want to point out that many of the home treatment options the internet boasts about have very little evidence of their effectiveness and if you truly want to be free of fungal infection, it would be better and faster to come into our office for treatment.

Professional Treatment for Toenail Fungus

The good news is that there are several effective professional treatments for toenail fungus. The most effective involves a combination of laser therapy and oral antifungal medication.

Working in concert, these two treatments can help to kill the fungus and promote the healing of the nails. The oral medication is usually taken for several weeks or months, while the laser therapy is typically done on a monthly basis.

Contact Us for Help with Toenail Fungus

If you are suffering from toenail fungus, you don’t have to live with the discomfort. Contact Joel Foster DPM today and schedule an appointment. We will work with you to determine the best course of treatment and get you on the road to recovery. You’ll be able to show off those toes without embarrassment again!