What Is The Most Effective Treatment For Toenail Fungus
The most effective toenail fungus treatment for you will largely depend on your symptoms and situation. Your provider will consider several factors before recommending a treatment plan thats customized to you.
Overall, oral antifungal medications may offer the most treatment potential. Pairing oral drugs with topical antifungal medication may make treatment more effective.
What Is Toenail Fungus
Toenail fungus, also known as onychomycosis or tinea unguium, is a common nail condition affecting millions of people in the United States. Fungal nail infections can develop on the nail from various organisms such as molds, yeasts, and fungi. This usually occurs after these organisms come into contact with a cracked nail or skin surrounding the nail as the opening provides a portal of entry for these organisms.
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.
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What Causes Fungal Nails And What Are Some Of The Risk Factors
In normal, healthy people, fungal infections of the nails are most commonly caused by a fungus that is caught in moist, wet areas. Communal showers, such as those at a gym or swimming pools, are common sources. Going to nail salons that use inadequate sanitization of instruments in addition to living with family members who have fungal nails are also risk factors. Athletes have been proven to be more susceptible to nail fungus. This is presumed to be due to the wearing of tight-fitting, sweaty shoes associated with repetitive trauma to the toenails. Having an athlete’s foot makes it more likely that the fungus will infect your toenails. Repetitive trauma also weakens the nail, which makes the nail more susceptible to fungal infection.
Elderly people and people with certain underlying disease states are also at higher risk. Anything that impairs your immune system can make you prone to getting infected with the fungus. These include conditions such as AIDS, diabetes, cancer, psoriasis, or taking any immunosuppressive medications like steroids.
How Fungal Nail Infections Start
So why did you get the fungal nail infection but your gym buddy didnt or why is only one nail currently infected but not the rest? A fungal nail infection starts when a spore comes in contact with your toenail and is able to invade the nail through an opening like if your nail is injured or damaged. After the fungus takes hold, it feeds on the keratin that your nails are composed of, causing changes to the appearance and colour of the nail. The infection can also cause a mild inflammatory response which can lift the nail and trap more fungus, spores and bacteria beneath, making effective treatment even more difficult especially if youre only using a surface-level cream or ointment.
You are more vulnerable to an infection taking hold if you have a compromised immune system, are pregnant, are older, have medical conditions like diabetes or circulatory problems or have Athletes foot. While this may explain why some people may start growing the infection faster than others, it can only take a stubbed toe or some slight damage to the nail from not being careful when trimming the nail or getting a pedicure to skyrocket your risk.
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Natural Ways To Get Rid Of Toenail Fungus
One of the most dreaded and, lets face it, a disgusting ailment is toenail fungus . As most who read my blogs know, I usually write about topics that I have experienced personally and/or observed in patients. Well, for this one, it is both. For years, one of my toes would become afflicted, Id treat it, and then a year or two later, it would return.
The truth is that fungus is among us! You may view yourself as one with good hygiene, but even you are loaded with fungus on your skin. Fungus does not need much to overgrow and is exceedingly difficult to get rid of when it does. The three changes in our local skin environment that cause it to grow are 1. A decrease in good bacteria , since bacteria can suppress its growth 2. Excessive water/moisture 3. Sugar.
But to get fungus on your nail, a few things must happen. Diabetics, because of elevated sugar, are at higher risk. However, many, like myself, who dont have diabetes, are still prime targets. Thats because of what I call the blotter effect. To understand this effect, imagine the following scenario. You are sitting behind a wooden desk with a glass blotter on top to protect the surface. You place a cup of water on the blotter and turn to work on your computer. As you turn, your elbow knocks over youre cup, and the water spills over the edge of the desk. You then see some water track itself under the blotter.
The following natural approaches will work whether you have taken a medication or not .
Can I Wear Nail Polish If I Have Toenail Fungus
You may feel tempted to cover up a discolored toenail with nail polish. If you are using a topical antifungal, you probably should not use polish. Some providers may tell you not to wear it in any case. Polish traps in moisture from the nailbed . Because fungi thrive in moist environments, wearing nail polish may make a fungal infection worse. However, the nail continues to grow with or without polish.
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Nail Fungus Consumer Review
Toenail fungus is probably one of the most dreaded infections, because even though it is not life threatening, it can be very unsightly and treatment tends to take an extended period of time. Of course, people affected by toenail fungus dont want to wait so long. They want to know how to get rid of toenail fungus fast. Is it possible?
Read on to discover the necessary steps and the best options you have to get rid of toenail fungus as fast as possible.
Antifungal Tablets Or Capsules
- Antifungal tablets or capsules are more effective than paints, especially if the entire nail is infected or if the nail is thickened. Examples of oral medications are terbinafine and itraconazole.
- Antifungal medicine is taken for 6 weeks for fungal infections of the fingernail and for 3 months for fungal infections of the toenail.
- They are not suitable for people with certain conditions like liver disease or if you are pregnant. They also interact with many other medicines which can increase your risk of side effects. Tell your doctor about all medicines and herbal products you are taking so they can check for interactions .
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How Are Fungal Nail Infections Treated
Fungal nail infections can be difficult to cure. The decision to treat usually depends only on how much it bothers you. If left untreated it probably wont go away, but it usually wont cause medical problems. Your doctor or pharmacist can talk to you about your treatment options. Treatment includes applying medication to the nail such as an antifungal paint or taking antifungal tablets or capsules. Points to consider are:
- Treatment with antifungals tablets or capsules is only successful for about 75% of people, and the use of antifungal paints is less effective. In other words, cure is not possible for 1 in 4 people, and even higher in elderly people.
- Even after successful treatment of the fungal infection, the nail may never look completely normal.
- There is a 1 in 4 chance that the fungal infection will come back.
- Treatment is often needed for several months. It can take up to 12 months to confirm successful treatment, due to the slow growth of the nail unit.
- Treatment is more likely to work with good hygiene practices.
If you are an older person, or you are taking multiple other medications, the risk of treatment may outweigh the benefit. The success of treatment reduces with age and recurrence is very common.
Why Trust Verywell Health
As a seasoned health writer, Danielle Zoellner knows the importance of finding just the right product to fit your medical needs. Throughout her career, Danielle has interviewed a variety of experts in the medical and health fields while reviewing dozens of products. Her experience and knowledge in the field work together to help readers like yourself find the best products for your daily life.
Additional reporting for this story by Jennifer Nied and Sarah Bradley
For over 10 years, Jennifer Nied has reviewed products, interviewed experts, scrutinized ingredients, and pored over research studies and claims, to help readers like you understand what works for your specific conditions. Every product in this piece was selected taking into account recommendations from doctors, published research, and real customer reviews.
Sarah Bradley has been writing health content since 2017everything from product roundups and illness FAQs to nutrition explainers and the dish on diet trends. She knows how important it is to receive trustworthy and expert-approved advice about over-the-counter products that manage everyday health conditions, from GI issues and allergies to chronic headaches and joint pain.
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Gentian Violet Is Bright Purple
Another remedy that stains the nail and the toe is the old antifungal liquid, gentian violet:
I have used gentian violet with great success. It does dye your toe purple, but with nail fungus I was not wearing open-toe shoes anyway. You can get this online or at the pharmacy. Its cheap and effective.
JMG uses the foot soaks to relax:
Ive had 2-3 fingernail fungus attacks I used the half-water half vinegar solution to soak the nail for 20-30 minutes twice a day and it worked! It is not speedy, taking about a month or so to kill the fungus. It takes discipline, but it gives me an excuse to sit down, read, and relax while Im undergoing my treatment!
Ive been using the vinegar/Listerine mixture on my feet now for a month. It is working beautifully.
I got toenail fungus from a nail salon, and have had it for over 3 years. This is the only thing that has even touched the fungus .
My nail is now finally growing back normally and the fungus has turned white and the toenail is no longer spongy. Ill be able to wear sandals without bandaids very soon! Not only is Listerine/vinegar good for the toenails, but my feet have never looked better the cracks and redness have disappeared.
I soak my feet every night for 15-30 minutes. And Im going to continue doing this until my toenails have completely grown out, at least 3 times per week.
Other Options For Toenail Fungus Infections
Removal of the toenail is only used when just one nail is infected, but it does work. Light therapy and lasers are also being studied as possible toenail fungus treatments. Laser therapy has shown promise when combined with oral or topical antifungals. A multicenter trial investigating the efficacy of a device, the Pinpointe FootLaser, is currently underway, so stay tuned to that.
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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.
Are Oral Medications For Nail Fungus Toxic
The newer drugs are unlikely to cause any liver problems in patients without known liver disease. Blood tests are not needed for once-weekly treatment with fluconazole however, people taking longer courses often have their liver function tested before starting the medicine and then retested during the course of treatment. It is important to notify the doctor of all side effects while on the medication. You should tell your doctor of all current medications to prevent potential serious drug interactions.
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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.
Toenail Fungus: Causes And Risk Factors
Toenail fungus is a fungal infection in the toenail. It happens when a fungus anything from mold to yeast to other types of fungus gets in the nail bed from a cut or break in the nail or repetitive trauma to the nail, and penetrates the nail itself, says Dr. Sundling. The nail then continues to grow with the fungus. Once a nail plate is infected with fungus, it will never not be infected, and you must wait to see how it grows out and whether the new nail growing behind it is healthy. The new nail rarely grows in healthy without treatment, says Sundling.
Toenail fungus is very common 14 percent of people have it in North America, according to an article published in the journal PLoS Pathogens and its more common the older you get, adds Sundling. Wearing shoes that are too small can damage the nail and make it more vulnerable to fungus, as can having a fungal infection on the skin of the foot and not treating it, which could expose the nail to fungus. You may be more at risk to toenail fungus if you have diabetes, or a weaker immune system.
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How To Get Rid Of Toenail Fungus Fast With Otc Treatments
You will find multiple options for over the counter medications that deal with toenail fungus. Here we will take a look at a few of the top names in the game to give you an idea of what is available as well as what you can expect from these various OTC products.
Emoninail is designed to penetrate the nail bed where the fungi lives thanks to a very effective and simple to use topical solution. One thing customers truly love about this product is their unique follow-up through a mobile app to help users get the best results as fast as possible. Another thing that customers appreciate very much is their money back guarantee. No results in 60 days? Full Refund! This product is backed by outstanding customer care and an impressive track record. Read more about Emoninail.
Zeta Clear This over the counter product offers a proven toenail fungus treatment. The company utilizes a powerful formulation that includes the FDA-recognized Undecylenic Acid along with other ingredients blended in therapeutic dosage. On its website, you can read that clinical studies have shown Zeta Clear to be up to 6 times more effective than similar OTC products! No wonder that for tens of thousands of people over the world ZetaClear has been the proper answer to the question how to get rid of toenail fungus as fast as possible. Read more about Zetaclear.
These OTC treatments offer some of the safest and fastest ways to get rid of toenail fungus.