It’s time to talk about toenail fungus. According to the British Medical Journal, up to 5% of the general population and 15-20% of patients over 40 years old suffer from fungal nail infections. This condition can be both unsightly and uncomfortable, but it’s unfortunately common. Thankfully, Dr. Jeffery LaMour and our Austin podiatry team are here to assist you. We can utilize our extensive experience, comprehensive knowledge, and sophisticated technology to remedy your toenail fungus. Of course, we also recognize that you might want to try treating milder cases of toenail fungus at home, to begin caring for your toes before you have the chance to come in or enhance our professional treatments with additional methods. That’s why we’ve put together this week’s blog on toenail fungus relief at home.
To help handle toenail fungus at home, you first need to understand what it is. WebMD explains: “toenail fungus is an infection that gets in through cracks in your nail or cuts in your skin.” Basically, these tiny organisms find a way into your nail and make their home there, creating a whole host of issues. According to WebMD, “[toenail fungus] can make your toenail change color or get thicker…hurt…[and] left untreated, an infection could spread to other toenails, skin, or even your fingernails.”
If you’ve never suffered from or seen toenail fungus before, you might imagine tiny mushrooms growing out of your toes or brightly colored skin surrounding them, but in reality, the symptoms are much subtler. Toes inhabited by fungus are “usually thicker than normal and could be warped or oddly shaped…break easily…look yellow… [and have] a white dot [that] shows up on the nail and gets bigger.” In extreme cases, the fungus “can loosen and even separate the nail from the bed.”
In treating toenail fungus, the basic idea is to destroy the tiny organisms wreaking havoc on your nail while preserving your own healthy tissue. Typically, you can attack the fungus topically (with ointments, creams, and liquids applied directly to it), surgically (with whole or partial removal of the affected nail), or orally (through prescription medications to eliminate the fungus from the inside out).
As we’ve explained, many people suffer from toenail fungus. On the plus side, this means that they’ve come up with numerous ways to help resolve it, and some of them are quite effective. A few of the at-home remedies Dr. LaMour and our team recommend include:
- Oregano oil. As it turns out, this fragrant substance is useful for more than just recipes. Healthline points out: “oregano oil contains thymol. According to a 2016 review, thymol has antifungal and antibacterial properties. To treat toenail fungus, apply oregano oil to the affected nail twice daily with a cotton swab.” This topical treatment is easy to apply and can help kill off the pesky fungus.
- Listerine. That’s right: Listerine! It may seem silly to soak your fungal feet in mouthwash, but it may also work. According to Healthline, “Listerine contains ingredients such as menthol, thymol, and eucalyptus, which have antibacterial and antifungal properties.” If you’re ready for minty-fresh, fungus-free toes, you can try “soaking the affected foot in a basin of amber-colored Listerine for 30 minutes.”
- Vick’s VapoRub. Just as with the Listerine, this common cough treatment may also help alleviate toenail fungus. As Healthline reports, “its active ingredients, camphor and eucalyptus oil, may help treat toenail fungus. A 2011 study found Vicks VapoRub had a ‘positive clinical effect’ in the treatment of toenail fungus,” when put on the toenail daily.
- Toenail trimming. Simply cutting the affected nail may help with symptoms. The Mayo Clinic encourages patients to “trim and thin the nails. This helps reduce pain by reducing pressure on the nails. Also, if you do this before applying an antifungal [topical treatment], the drug [or substance] can reach deeper layers of the nail.”
- Garlic. For an at-home oral treatment, you might try garlic. “Garlic has some antifungal and antimicrobial capabilities…[you can] treat [toenail fungus] from the inside out with garlic capsules. Take as directed by the manufacturer,” per Healthline.
These solutions may help relieve your pain and speed up your healing.
Our State-of-the-Art Solution
Home remedies are excellent, but should not completely replace professional podiatric care. At our Austin podiatry practice, we offer a high-tech, sophisticated treatment option: our Pinpointe™ FootLaser™. This device sends powerful light beams to destroy fungus while safeguarding the nail bed and skin around it. This treatment is minimally invasive and quite effective, allowing healthy nails to begin growing in just two months. Dr. LaMour can further describe this advanced treatment system at your initial consultation.
Do You Have Toenail Fungus?
Dr. LaMour and our team can help! Contact our Austin podiatry practice today to discover more home remedies, learn about Pinpointe™ FootLaser™, and schedule an appointment.