The 7 Best Toenail Fungus Treatments Of 2022
The Lamisil Terbinafine Antifungal Cream treats fungus all over the body
Sarah is a freelance writer with a focus on health and wellness. She has written for publications like Women’s Health, Healthline, and Parents. She taught creative writing for five years, and has a bachelor’s degree in English from Southern Connecticut State University.
We independently research, test, review, and recommend the bestproducts. Healthcare professionals review articles for medical accuracy. Learn more about our process. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.
Verywell Health / Peter Ardito
Toenail fungus is a common fungal condition that often starts after a rash on the foot spreads to the nails. When mild, it looks like white and yellow spots growing under the nail beds. If left untreated, the fungus can grow severely by hardening the nails and spreading to other toes.
How To Prevent Fungal Nail
Suffering from athlete’s foot? Make sure you treat it as soon as possible as foot fungus can spread and affect your toenails, causing fungal nail.
Keep your toenails short and trimmed. The correct way to cut or file them is straight across, not in a rounded or v shape to prevent an infected toenail.
Do not share toenail clippers. Clippers, files and nail accessories can contribute to spreading toenail fungus when not properly sterilised.
Avoid wearing tight-fitting shoes. They can damage the nail and also create a moist environment in which fungi spores can thrive.
Avoid sharing your towels, shoes and socks with other people.
Wear flip flops in public places e.g. swimming pools and changing rooms to avoid catching toenail fungus.
Can I Wear Nail Polish If I Have Toenail Fungus
Although the nail will grow with or without polish, its best to skip the pedicures for a while. While it can be tempting to hide the condition, nail polish can trap moisture from the nail bed, making it a welcoming environment for fungi. Nail polish can also interfere with topical treatments. Switch to socks and sneakers for a more comfortable way to hide toenail fungus.
Recommended Reading: Nail Fungus Forces Of Nature
Causes Of Toenail Fungus
Fungi may travel from person to person through direct or indirect contact. The fungi can break out of the surface and begin to spread if your nails are brittle, cracked, or slightly separated from the nail bed. Although it may be difficult to pinpoint exactly when and how you became infected, risk factors include:
Sweaty shoesWhen damp, dark, and sweaty shoes and socks are worn, they provide a breeding ground for the fungus. If you dont change your footwear regularly, you increase your likelihood of infection
Going barefoot in publicFungi may grow on porous surfaces in communal areas such as pool decks and shower rooms, so wear flip-flops or shower shoes at all times.
AgeOver time, your nails are more susceptible to becoming dry and brittle, which allows the fungus to grow. Its also harder for your immune system to fight an infection when circulation is slower.
What Are Treatments For Toenail Fungus
Do you need to treat your nail fungus? Maybe it doesn’t hurt, and the yellow, thick nails don’t bother you.
But nail fungus doesn’t go away by itself. And if you don’t treat it, there’s a chance it could get worse. It could spread to other nails or through your body. It could cause pain when you walk.
There are a number of ways to take care of it, including:
Nonprescription options. You can buy antifungal creams, gels, and nail polish at the store and online without a prescription. You might want to try one of them first if the infection doesn’t look bad. Some people also swear by home remedies like menthol rub, tea tree oil, mouthwash, or snakeroot extract — but studies show mixed results.
Prescription polish and creams. Your foot doctor will likely trim your nail and file away its dead layers. They may also take a piece of your nail and send it to the lab to make sure itâs really a fungus and to find out what type it is.
The doctor might suggest an antifungal drug that you paint on your nails. This may work on its own, or they may suggest you take it with antifungal pills.
Prescription medications. One of several antifungal pills may help. They work, but it may take many months to do the job. They also come with side effects like nausea, vomiting, and headaches. They may cause liver damage too, so your doctor will watch you closely while you take them. Be sure to tell them about any other meds youâre taking — some antifungal pills might not work well with them.
Also Check: How To Do Acrylic Nails
Preventative Steps To Take
While you cant always help your risk factors for toenail fungus, there are some preventive steps you can take:
- Bring your own sterilized instruments, such as nail clippers, to a nail salon.
- Keep your toenails short and clean to prevent nail trauma that can lead to cracking. If you have difficulty trimming your own toenails, your doctor may recommend seeing a podiatrist to help.
- Dont share personal care items like fingernail clippers or pumice stones with another person.
- Throw away or treat potentially infected footwear.
- Wear clean socks and wash socks after use.
- Wear sandals when walking in a locker room, public shower, or any other places where fungus is likely to grow.
Toenail fungal infections have a high rate of recurrence, even after youve treated them. Thats why its important to couple treatment measures with preventive ones to give yourself the best chance for keeping your toenails healthy in appearance.
Apple Cider Vinegar: Home Remedy For Toenail Fungus
To kill the fungus, affecting the toenail, mix equal parts of apple cider vinegar and water to make a solution, which is an effective foot soak for toenail fungus. If followed properly, the remedy will show its result in a few weeks.
Alternatively, an anti-fungal scrub can also be prepared by making a paste of grounded rice flour and a few spoons of apple cider vinegar. Use this paste directly onto the affected area and gently scrub it. This will also remove the dead skin cells.
Read Also: How To Get Nail Fungus To Go Away
How Can I Prevent Toenail Fungus
Theres no way to guarantee you wont get toenail fungus. But you can take several steps to help prevent it:
- Avoid going barefoot in communal areas such as 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 a 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.
- Dont 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 .
- Wear shoes that fit correctly. They shouldnt be too loose or tight around the toes.
How Is Toenail Fungus Treated
Toenail fungus is notoriously tricky to treat. You may need to treat tinea unguium for several months to get rid of the fungus. Still, toenail fungus often comes back.
A skin specialist or foot doctor can explain your treatment options. If you have a mild case that doesnt bother you, your healthcare provider may recommend no treatment.
Tinea unguium treatment options include:
Oral antifungal medication
You can take a prescribed oral antifungal medication to treat the fungus. Options include terbinafine , itraconazole or fluconazole . Youll need to take the medication every day for several months . Your healthcare provider may use blood tests to check for potential medication side effects. These medications can affect your liver and interact with other medications, so oral antifungals arent for everyone.
You can regularly apply a topical medication right onto your nail. The medication treats the fungus over time. Topical medications are most effective when paired with oral medications.
Your healthcare provider will direct a high-tech laser beam and special lights at your toenail to treat the fungus. Lasers are U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved for temporary increase of clear nail in nail fungus, but theyre not a cure. Cure rates for laser treatment are lower than oral and topical mediations. Your healthcare provider wont typically use lasers as first-line treatments for nail fungus.
Don’t Miss: Best Putty For Nail Holes
How Contagious Is Toenail Fungus
It can only be contagious if youre exposed to the fungus and have a crack in your nail, or if your nail separates from the nailbed. Under those circumstances, the fungus could penetrate down to the nailbed and spread.
If you get a pedicure, its best not to have your cuticles cut or pushed back. That can allow fungus and bacteria to get behind the nail. Before getting the pedicure, ask to make sure the nail files and other instruments are sterilized between customers.
Also, never share shoes. Fungus lives inside everyones shoes where its dark and damp, the perfect environment for fungus to grow.
Cure Nail Fungus Infections With Garlic
Use garlic oil, mixed with an equal amount of white vinegar, to cure toenail fungus, naturally. Apply it to the affected area and cover the toe with an elastic bandage. This mixture slows down the activities of the fungus because of the anti-fungal properties of allicin, present in garlic. In case, garlic oil is not available, you can mix some olive oil with crushed garlic. Eating a clove of garlic on a daily basis also helps a lot.
Read Also: Where To Buy Good Nail Polish
There Are A Lot Of Things You Can Do To Reduce Your Chances Of Getting A Fungal Infection In Your Nails Keeping Your Feet And Hands Clean And Dry Is The Best Protection But There Are Many Other Things You Can Do Here Are Some Examples:
- Take off your shoes when you’re at home, to let the air get to your feet
- Wear shoes made from leather or canvas that let your feet breathe
- Make sure your shoes fit well
- Don’t borrow other people’s shoes
- Change your socks every day, especially when it’s warm
- Dry your feet well, especially after using communal changing areas
- Don’t walk barefoot in public areas, such as around swimming pools or gyms. Wear flip-flops or sandals
- Don’t borrow other people’s towels
Orange Oil: Remedy For Nail Fungus Infections
To get rid of toenail fungus, orange oil is also a good option. It can be applied with the help of a dropper between toes and on and under toenails, daily. Let it sit for at least one hour. Orange oil can also be used with an equal amount of any carrier oil.
Note: It is advisable to test some diluted orange oil on a small part of the skin before applying it to the infected area as it can cause allergic reactions and can have side effects.
Also Check: How To Treat An Infected Finger Nail
Physical Strategies And Laser Therapies
Heinlinet al.40 showed that repeated, daily cold atmospheric plasma treatment inhibits thein vitro growth ofT. rubrum. Recently, a pilot study demonstrated the effects of non-thermal plasma in treating onychomycosis41. Non-thermal plasma was created by using an electric insulator by short pulses of electric fields that ionize air molecules. This process creates ions, electrons, ozone, hydroxyl radicals, and nitric oxide, which are fungicidal and cytotoxic41. Ultimately, 13 patients 33 to 74 years of age with 25 to 50% nail involvement completed the trial, and 15.4% achieved mycological cure . Additional studies are required because of the small sample size and varying protocols, but it is the first clinical study to report that thermal plasma may be effective against toenail onychomycosis.
Commonly used lasers include neodymium-yttrium garnet lasers and Q-switched laser systems1. The smaller temporal pulse length in this laser is less than the thermal relaxation time of the fungi, which permits contained heating of the fungi in the nail plate while allowing dissipation of heat in the surrounding soft tissue of the toenail and fingernail. There is a lack of robust clinical data. Randomized, double-blind trials are required to determine whether they are actually fungicidal51,52.
Ozonized Sunflower Oil And Other Ozonated Oils
Ozonized sunflower oil combines sunflower oil and ozone and is made by treating the sunflower oil with ozone which leads to an ozone reservoir that slowly releases into the skin or nail area. Ozone is one of the best bacteriacidal, antifungal, and antiviral agents known and represents a promising and needed alternative to current antimicrobials, because it is cheap to make and can avoid resistance. A laboratory study showed ozonized sunflower oil inhibited the growth of 5 different strains of fungi, although this was less than with conventional agents such as fluoconazole or itraconazole. Another study that compared ozonized sunflower oil twice a day for three months to ketoconazole 2% cream, found 90.5% were cured and 9.5% reported an improvement in their nail fungus with Oleozon compared to only 13.5% cured with ketoconazole and 27.5% improved. 59% remained the same.
Verdict: Ozonized oils including ozonized sunflower oil are promising antifungal agents that appear significantly more effective than conventional agents when used to treat toenail fungus.
Don’t Miss: How To Get Rid Of Fungus On Lawn
Whatever You Decide To Do About Your Nail Fungus Dont Be Embarrassed
Ugly, funky toenails are just one of those things that happens to us all sometimes. You can start using these home remedies as soon as you see evidence of infection, but be patient. It can take 6-12 months for the infected toenail to grow out and the signs of infection to disappear.
This post is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical illness. Always consult your physician before starting any new treatment.
Laser Treatment For Fungal Nail Infections
Laser Treatment for fungal nail infections is now available at Podiatry Care. The team at Podiatry Care are the first to incorporate leading German laser technology to deal with fungus affecting toe nails and have over 5 years experience in administering laser treatment.
You may have spoken with your Podiatrist in the past about treating fungal nail infections. Without doubt it is one of the more difficult conditions to successfully treat. Until now messy and ineffective topical creams and ointments along with hazardous oral anti-fungal medications have been the only treatment available.
Often the side effects of the drugs and the inability of the medication to penetrate the nail and nail beds have meant poor compliance and subsequently very poor outcomes. The introduction of the 1064 Diode laser has meant we can now treat this embarrassing and often extremely stubborn condition with a success rate of up to 80%.
The treatment is safe, requires no anesthesia, there are no side effects and is a walk in, walk out procedure.
The patients love the ease of the procedure. The technology is so advanced that the only perceivable sensation is a slight warming effect. Even the most affected nails can be treated, with a great improvement in the appearance of the nails in 3 to 4 months following laser treatment.
Call Podiatry Care and ask about our special GAP FREE* assessment to see if you qualify for Laser treatment of your toe nail fungus.
Don’t Miss: Nail Fungus Laser Treatment Before And After
Acrylic Nail Fungus Home Remedies
The first step after noticing an infection is to have the acrylic nail removed and to wash your fingernail with soap and water. Avoid putting on a new nail until the infection clears.
Anecdotally, some people claim the following home remedies have helped them clear their infection:
- Vinegar. Vinegar contains acid that can inhibit the growth of fungi and bacteria. Try soaking your finger in a 2:1 ratio of warm water to vinegar.
- Vicks VapoRub.An older 2011 study found Vicks VapoRub seemed to have a positive clinical effect on killing toenail fungi. You can try applying a small amount to your finger once a day.
- Tea tree oil. According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health , one small study found evidence that tea tree oil may help treat nail fungus, but more research is needed. Try applying oil to your nail twice per day.
- Oregano oil. The chemical thymol found in oregano oil may have antifungal properties. Try applying oregano oil to your nail twice per day with a cotton swab.
- Listerine mouthwash. Listerine contains ingredients that have antifungal properties. Some people claim soaking your finger in original Listerine for 30 minutes a day may help clear the infection.
Dosage Frequency And Duration
The oral tablet contains 500 mg of active griseofulvin.
An adult should take 1,000 mg 14 times daily. The usual duration is 4 months for fingernails and 6 months for toenails.
The dosage for children of any age is 10 mg per kilogram of body weight per day.
Doctors will recommend continued treatment for at least 2 weeks after all signs of infection have cleared.
Read Also: What Brand Of Nail Polish Do Salons Use
Who Is At Risk Of Getting A Fungal Nail Infection
Fungal nail infections can affect anyone as they are very contagious but are most prevalent in older individuals. You are more likely to develop fungal nail if you are over the age of 60. Gender also plays a role, with men three times more likely to have a fungal nail infection than women.
Other risk factors include:
Diseases that cause poor blood circulation
A weakened immune system