What To Do About A Bad Case Of Toenail Fungus?

Commonly referred to as onychomycosis, this is a toe health complication that affects the tissue underneath the surface of the nail. When the infestation becomes severe, the nail turns dark in color and might produce a foul smell. Furthermore, debris might also collect underneath the nail plate, and the infection might also spread to other nails. The affected nails will become thick, and difficult to trim, thereby making it difficult for one to move around. Other issues that may accompany the onychomycosis include yeast infections and secondary bacteria. However, toenail fungus is not necessarily associated with any significant body health complications. The condition only makes the nail unsightly, and can even cause damage to the entire nail. Therefore, being able to identify the condition early enough is an important aspect of treatment and management process.

Causes

Since it is difficult to avoid contact with small microbes such as fungi, the toenails are particularly prone to the condition in various ways. For instance, exposure to damp areas such as swimming pools, showers, locker rooms, and more can cause one to get the disease. Additionally, any injury to the sections of the foot such as the nail bed, or even pressure from the shoe makes one susceptible to the condition. People who have chronic health complications such as circulations issues, immune deficiency problems are also prone to onychomycosis. Other leading causes might be athlete’s foot and excessive perspiration. Various risk factors increase one`s likelihood of getting toenail fungus. They include:

  • Athlete’s foot – athlete’s foot is to health complication that causes open wounds, which can make it easy to contract other secondary foot health issues.
  • Frequent contact with infected areas – being in contact with affected areas increase the likelihood of catching a fungal infection.
  • Damaged nails – damaged nails tend to have open areas and even wounds, which are prone to bacterial and fungal infections.
  • Tight shoes – wearing tight shoes provides an excellent environment for fungi to thrive and to spread to the delicate areas of the foot.
  • Specific skin health complications – there are various types of skin issues such that can make one prone to toenail fungus
  • Circulation issues – a poor circulatory system affects the ability of the blood to supply nutrients to the toe area
  • A weak immune system – a week immune system is not able to respond to infections effectively

Fungal infections are not often associated with any severe health complications, particularly in healthy people. However, the condition rarely resolves itself without the appropriate treatment approach. Left untreated, and the fungus might thrive one section of the nail before spreading out to other areas.  Furthermore, nail fungus can increase one’s likelihood of getting bacterial infections, especially in people with issues such as diabetes.

Diagnosis

It’s not always easy to distinguish in between fungal infection and various other nail health complications. For instance, psoriasis can also compromise the structure of the nails and might have similar characteristics to fungi. If the medical health practitioners believe that you may have a fungal infection, then you might have to get tested. To find out the fungus causing the health issue, consider performing a fungal culture on the sample. The process might take a few weeks, and other standard lab tests are also popular.

Prevention

The common cause of toenail fungus is athlete’s foot. Therefore, preventing athlete’s foot is one of the best ways to avoid toenail fungus complications. Since the fungi tend to thrive in damp areas, ensure that you keep the feet dry at all times. Consider the following additional techniques:

  • Dry the feet using a towel after taking a shower or swimming – keeping the feet in damp conditions increases the likelihood of developing fungi. Ensure you clean the feet thoroughly to remove any way and the presence of fungi
  • Avoid wearing tight, or dirty shoes – wearing tight, and damp shoes also provide the perfect environment for fungi and bacteria to thrive. Ensure you wear properly fitting shoes that have adequate aeration.
  • Wear footwear such as flip flops when using public resources – never walk barefoot when using public resources. Walking barefoot in such places increases the likelihood of getting fungi or a bacterial infection
  • Avoid sharing personal wear such as shoes, socks, and towels – sharing personal items means that you expose yourself to multiple types of hygiene issues. If possible, maintain a bag of all your items to avoid sharing.

Are There Any Home Remedies for Toenail Fungus? Things worth Trying

Toenail fungus is a foot health complication that does not necessarily present any health risk to an individual. As such, using DIY treatments at home can be the first best step in remedying the health complication. Among some of the top treatments to consider include:

Cornmeal

One of the infamous therapies for toenail fungus is cornmeal. Even though there are no significant clinical trials for the cornmeal, it works well as an anti-fungi supplement. However, you are not going to eat it this time. Instead, you will place it right on the affected area. Consider putting some cornmeal and warm water on the feet a few times each day.

Snake Root Extract

The snakeroot extract originates from the sunflower collections of plants. A recent study by the Harvard Medical Department of Nutrition showed that snakeroot extract is perfect for toenail fungi. In fact, the treatment is as effective as using products such as ciclopirox topical treatment. Moreover, the snakeroot extract works as an anti-bacterial and anti-fungi supplement. Apply the supplement to the affected area using a clean cloth a few times each day.

Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil is perhaps one of the most popular products for maintaining body hygiene. To be specific, the tea tree oil has potent anti-fungal and antiseptic properties. It helps to target the fungi, and reduces their ability to metabolize effectively. Aside from being used in tooth products such as toothpaste, tea tree oil is also an excellent topical treatment. Furthermore, it is readily available, which makes it an excellent alternative for treating toenail fungus issues.

Coconut Oil

There is no DIY body care list that is not complete without coconut oil. Aside from being a top skin moisturizer and a cooking condiment, coconut oil also works perfectly against fungi issues in the body. It helps to destroy the nail fungus and to stop secondary bacterial infections as well. The main active compound in coconut oil is referred to as caprylic acid. The acid penetrates the tough walls of the fungi, thereby playing a significant role in recovery. All you need is to apply a thin layer of coconut oil to the affect areas, and allow it to soak for a few minutes.

Apply Mouthwash such as Listerine

While mouthwash is developed to help target the germs and fungi that exist in the mouth, they are also equally useful for foot health issues such as fungi. To be specific, the Listerine contains various active compounds that play a significant role in controlling the occurrence of fungi. Furthermore, when used correctly, the Listerine often guarantees improved results, while also helping to alleviate symptoms such as discoloration of the nail

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is not only beneficial for improving your overall body health, but it’s even an excellent anti fungi health supplement. It’s important to note that fungi tend to thrive in environments that have alkaline conditions. The ACV helps to control the levels of acidity, and it also controls the pH levels. More so, the apple cider vinegar contains anti-bacterial properties, which help to reduce the occurrence of bacteria. Start by mixing a teaspoon of ACV and Epsom salts with some water. Soak your feet in the mixture a few times each day, to help kill the activity of the fungus. Alternatively, you can opt to pour a few drops of apple cider directly to the affected nail. Let the vinegar dry completely and repeat the action at least thrice each day.

Lavender Oil

We all know lavender for having beautiful flowers and one of the most amazing scents in the world. However, lavender oil also has several unique anti-fungal and antiviral properties. These properties make it particularly useful as a DIY treatment for toenail fungus. The lavender oil also promotes circulation, and it also stimulates the healing process of the skin. This is particularly ideal for people with toenail fungus because they usually have weakened immune functions. Consider applying a few drops of the oil every day to the affected area. You can also combine the oil with other DIY products such as cornmeal. Use the treatment for a few weeks before you evaluate the treatment progress.

Other Treatment Options

The advanced treatment might not be necessary for the mild instances of fungal nail infection. However, severe cases might require the use of anti-fungal medication. Even more, a nail infection is less likely to get better without the correct treatment. While the condition is not necessarily harmful to one’s health, treating it helps to stop the spread to other people and further progression. The typical treatment alternatives include:

Anti-fungal Medication

Consult with your medical practitioner if you don’t like the appearance or the presence of the fungi on your nail. The practitioner might recommend treatment with the use of anti-fungal medication, usually in the form of tablets. The doctor might also extract a small sample of the nail for tests before confirming the presence of the fungi. The common medications for fungi include terbinafine and itraconazole. The medicines can be taken twice a day, or for a few months to clear up the infection. If you stop the dosage early, then the disease may not entirely subside. The notable side effects of consuming such drugs might include headache, nausea, and more.

 Anti-fungal Nail Paint

If you prefer another alternative to fungal medications, then consider using anti-fungal nail pain. While the nail paint is not as effective as other treatment methods, it works well for regulating the fungi. The benefit of the medication is that it does not have any notable side effects even when used extensively.

Treatment Results

The treatment of the fungi should be effective in close to 90% of the reported cases. Furthermore, it may take in between 4 to 12 months, before the condition subsides completely. In some cases, the nail may not get its original appearance due to extensive staining. If the treatment is successful, you will notice the development of a new nail. Even more, the new nail should start growing and get clipped gradually. Consult with your medical practitioner if you experience any issues during the treatment process.

Removing the Nail DIY

Nail removal can be a painful process if done incorrectly. Since it might take a long time for the conventional treatment method to work, some people might prefer other treatment methods. These methods might include the use of softening and removal techniques. Various treatment kits are available to help with the nail removal process. Most of these kits often come with urea paste to help with the removal and healing process. The steps involved in using the kit might include:

  • Wash the affected area and dry using a towel
  • Apply the paste to the toenail fungus
  • Cover the nails using a soft cloth and let it sit for one day
  • Wash the past after one day and scrape away the softened sections of the nail
  • Repeat this process for a few weeks until you achieve the desired results

Summary

Distinct from various other forms of toe deformities, a few preventive measures can help prevent toenail fungus before it compromises your feet. The condition affects close to 18 percent of people worldwide. Some of the useful methods for preventing the disease include wearing protective footwear, cleaning the feet thoroughly, and avoid sharing public resources. While toenail fungus might not necessarily present any significant body health complications, it can cause the feet to become unsightly. More so, left unchecked, and it might even lead to nail damage, which can, in turn, lead to excessive pain. Fortunately, both DIY and medical solutions are available for combating oncomychosis and its symptoms.

Sarah Shawman

is the webmistress of Footwear 4 Workers.

She started this website out of displeasure with the fact that there are so few good online resources especially dedicated to the 99%: working people. Having suffered from work related plantar fasciitis herself, she set out on a mission to help others.

She updated this page on and will continue to update it as time goes on.

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