Nail fungus is unsightly and can be uncomfortable. Your nail may turn yellow or white, get thicker, crumble or split, or even separate from the nail bed. Luckily it is treatable with Antifungal remedies.
But not everything people think of as fungal nails are actually caused by a fungus. The ones that are get their start through small cuts in the skin around or under your nails. You can get nail fungus on your hands, but most nail fungus complaints are about toenail fungus.
Things to use for fungal nail treatment include antifungal cream, vinegar soaks, and oral medication. But realize that fungi (plural of fungus) like to grow in warm, moist places and can be spread around. Your fungal nail infection could have been picked up by walking barefoot at a public pool, sharing towels or nail clippers, or otherwise being exposed to the fungus. It could have spread from a fungus on your skin (like athlete’s foot) through a hangnail or ingrown toenail. People with constantly moist or sweaty feet, diabetes, or who are older (over 60) are more likely to become infected.
Now let’s look at what to do about it. First the things people call ‘fungal nails’ that look abnormal but aren’t really a fungus. Then the common ‘point of entry’ – ingrown toenails. And finally, what to do for a real fungal nail infection.
‘Fungal Nail’ Treatment
Some athletes develop funny-looking nails that can look a lot like fungal nails. It is caused by the trauma nails experience when you repeatedly start and stop or do a lot of kicking as is required in some sports. It can also show up if you wear tight-fitting shoes or have a job where your toes get traumatized regularly.
Older people’s nails often become brittle and develop unfamiliar ridges or split at the end into layers. Keep your hands away from cleaning solutions and don’t soak them in water to keep it from getting worse.
Your nails may look whitish or yellowish if your nail separates from the nail bed and there is air under the nail. This is treated by trimming the nail very short and not cleaning under the edge while it grows out (2-3 months). You can polish it to hide the color if you want to.
Red or black nails (because you pinched your finger in a door or hit it with a hammer) are not infected either – they’re just bruised. The color will grow out with the nail. Cover it with polish if you want to.
Just because you have lines and ridges on your nails and they aren’t perfectly smooth doesn’t mean that you have a fungus. Even if they get worse during pregnancy, they are usually considered normal and are actually fairly common. No treatment is necessary.
Keep taking care of your feet and your nails with your favorite products – most of them are conveniently available for delivery to your door from THE CPH-HEALTH STORE.
Ingrown Toenail Treatment – Over the counter and Medical.
An ingrown toenail isn’t a fungal nail infection, but it can provide an opportunity for one to start. Actually, an ingrown toenail is a fairly common foot complaint. It hurts when a part of your toenail grows down into the skin on your toe! It’s usually on your big toe and it’s usually at the outer edge of the toe. The skin it’s growing into responds by getting inflamed, making it sore. The red, swollen area is more susceptible to infection and when that happens it hurts more!
Some folks are just naturally more likely to get ingrown toenails – they were born with foot or nail problems. Sometimes ingrown toenails are related to a physical condition like arthritis, diabetes, or obesity. But a lot of ingrown toenails are the result of things we do – or don’t do. Like wearing shoes that are too tight or too short, cutting our nails too short, not taking good care of our feet, or being involved in work or sports where our toes get ‘beat up.’
When you get an ingrown toenail (and you’re not diabetic), you can often keep your ingrown toenail treatment cost down by taking care of it at home:
- soaking your foot 2-3 times a day, (use Epsom Salt or 1:4 vinegar/water or a few drops of bleach in a bucket of water.)
- putting your foot up when you sit,
- gently pulling back the inflamed skin after the soak and
- sliding a clean piece of cotton or dental floss (tape)under the edge of the nail.
- trimming your toenail straight across (don’t curve the corners)
- using a little bit of Triple Antibiotic Ointment(Neosporin) – an over the counter preparation.
When the soreness clears up and the toenail grows longer, remember not to cut it so short that the corner can dig into your skin, keep your feet and toenails clean and dry, and wear shoes that fit well. If you need or want the convenience of online shopping, you can purchase any of these supplies for home delivery through THE CPH-HEALTH STORE.
If the infection gets worse or doesn’t clear up in a week or so – or if you are diabetic – it’s important for you to consult with a medical practitioner. You may need to take some antibiotics or have some other treatments.
Nail Fungus Treatment
OK. You have a nail fungus. If you are healthy, it may look bad or be somewhat uncomfortable, but it probably won’t give you any serious problems. But if you have diabetes or a weak immune system, any infection, especially in the toes, can lead to more serious problems and you would be well-advised to consult with your medical professional.
Most (but not all) fungal nail infections are caused by an athlete’s foot type of fungus. If you don’t treat it, it won’t heal itself and go away. But, the doctors will tell you, these things can be hard to get rid of. You could spend a lot of time on toenail fungus treatment home remedies and not have them work. Then you could spend a lot of money on toenail fungus treatment prescriptions and still not get rid of the infection. But it’s bugging you enough to want to read up on it, so let’s look at some options.
First – since the fungus might have spread into your toenail from a fungus on your skin, you might check yourself for a foot fungus – specifically athlete’s foot. You might also have a skin fungus around nails on your hands or other toes. And if you have some ‘jock itch’ problems (that’s the same athlete’s foot fungus in your groin area), it could have been spread from there.
You can often treat these things very effectively with an antifungal cream or powder. You can purchase these at your local drug store or find them in the Antifungal Remedies category at THE CPH-HEALTH STORE. Be sure to keep the areas clean and dry while you are treating them. And wash your hands after touching the infected area so it doesn’t spread any further or reinfect areas that have already cleared up!
Then – If you catch and treat a fungal nail infection early, it will be easier to get rid of it – even with home remedies. Here are some suggestions using common household products:
- Vinegar – soak your toes for 20-30 minutes every day in a 1:1 solution of vinegar and water. Some folks swear by Raw Apple Cider Vinegar to treat athlete’s foot, but studies suggest that it doesn’t matter what kind of vinegar you use. White distilled vinegar is certainly cheaper! Be sure to wash and dry your feet thoroughly after each soak. Keep up the treatment until the infection is cleared.
- Listerine, Hydrogen Peroxide and/or Rubbing Alcohol – Each of these is an antiseptic good for fighting germs. You can use them individually or in any combination you like to soak your toenails. Do it for 20 minutes at a time, preferable twice a day until the fungus goes away. Be sure to wash and dry your feet thoroughly after each soak.
- Vicks Vaporub – Nobody seems to know why this works, but the anecdotal evidence is strong enough that it is mentioned in several fungal nail treatment reviews on the Internet. Rub it on the affected nail and the skin around it every day. It doesn’t actually kill the fungus, but will keep it from growing until the infected part grows out and gets cut off.
- Tea Tree Oil – This powerful essential oil is a favorite of the holistic health community because of its antiseptic and antifungal properties. Thoroughly wash and dry your foot first with this one. Then rub the nail(s) and surrounding skin with the oil twice a day and leave it on.
- Clear Fungus – Considered a natural remedy, it is a non-prescription product specially formulated to kill toenail fungus and promote new nail growth. You brush it on 2-3 times a day.
Purchase any of these home remedies for convenient home delivery through THE CPH-HEALTH STORE.
Next – If your home remedies are not giving you the results you want, nail fungus treatments over the counter include three basic types of non-prescription topical products – antifungal creams, antifungal nail polishes, and antifungal brush-on solutions. In the last category, the best, as recommended by NailsFungus.org, are probably Fungavir, ZetaClear, Nail-Rx, H-Nail Fungus, and Dermasil.
Finally – If you didn’t go to a medical provider earlier, it may be time to consult one now. The professionals consider oral antifungal medication (pills) to be the best chance of a cure, although they may suggest trying one of the topical preparations we just discussed first. The pills can only be gotten with a prescription. While they are quite effective at killing the fungus, it takes a long course of treatment – up to 18 months – to be sure it’s gone and they can also have pretty severe side effects.
Sometimes surgery can be used to remove the affected nail and allow a new, healthy one to grow in. This can be painful and take quite a while, too. You will have to decide in consultation with your care provider if it is worth the time, pain, and money!
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Take care of your feet!
Keep them clean – wash and dry them well – particularly after you’ve been out barefoot.
Keep them dry – wear cotton socks if you sweat a lot & rotate your shoes.
Be gentle with them – wear roomy shoes or sandals and be careful cutting your nails
It’s a lot easier (and cheaper) to keep them healthy in the first place than to treat them after they develop a problem!