Treating fungal nails can be a tricky business. For less severe cases of nail fungus, many people advocate for the use of topical or oral treatments, while more advanced cases may require aggressive procedures to improve the condition. Home remedies may be helpful for minor infections, but the Best Foot Doctor can help for moderate or severe cases. Contacting a podiatrist as soon as possible prevents worsening fungus and other potentially dangerous conditions.
This article will cover several ways home remedies may help in treating fungal nails effectively. However, before we cover possible home remedies for nail fungus relief, do you know what a fungal nail is?
What Is a Fungal Nail?
Fungal nails also called toenail fungus, often result from an infection, usually athlete’s foot, between the toes of the feet. If left untreated, the fungus causing athlete’s foot can spread to toenails and cause an infection there.
Fungal nails usually appear as white or yellowish spots underneath a toenail. If the case is mild, it generally will remain at this stage. This stage is when home remedies may prove helpful in lowering the infection and preventing further decay.
However, if the fungus progresses into a more severe case, the condition can cause toenails to thicken, become discolored, and start to crumble at the edges. You may consider utilizing the list of treatments below to stop the toenail fungus from gaining more territory. If the infection progresses, it is best to see a foot doctor as soon as possible.
Your doctor will evaluate the situation and advise a treatment plan, depending on the type of fungus and severity of infection. Reinfection after treatment is always a risk that you and your doctor must take into account. Many toenails that recover from nail fungus remain affected even after treatment as the infection can cause permanent damage.
If you are considering an at-home remedy to treat minor cases of nail fungus, we have a few suggestions for you. Some topical treatments include the following:
Menthol Ointment (Vicks VapoRub)
For minor infections, a menthol ointment, such as Vicks VapoRub, may prove effective. Products like Vicks are helpful because the menthol in them has significant antifungal properties, alleviating the effects of fungus on the affected area of the toenail. Camphor and eucalyptus oil are other active ingredients that can help fight fungal infections.
Another topical treatment you can try is snakeroot extract. Like an essential oil, this extract is obtained from the oil of a plant in the sunflower family. A study in 2008 found that snakeroot extract was as effective as prescription antifungal medication. In the study, participants applied the extract to the affected toenail several times a day for three weeks.
Treating Fungal Nails With Tea Tree Oil
The popular tea tree essential oil is known for its antiseptic and antifungal abilities. Studies by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health have found that tea tree oil can help effectively treat toenail fungal infections and improve conditions.
Olive Leaf Extract
If you’re fighting a toenail fungal infection, you can try olive leaf extract. The active substance in olive leaf, oleuropein, contains antimicrobial and antifungal properties. This extract also has the potential to boost a weakened immune system, further enhancing its infection-fighting attributes. Olive leaf extract can be ingested in a capsule or applied directly to the nail with the infection.
PinPointe Laser Treatment
While not an at-home remedy, PinPointe Laser Treatment has been proven as an effective treatment for advanced toenail fungus. For stubborn cases, this non-invasive laser treatment can be performed in-office by a licensed dermatologist. The laser nail treatment targets the microorganisms living underneath the toenail and burns them off. Patients report slight discomfort, if any at all, during the actual laser sessions.
The home remedies discussed here may be helpful for individuals with mild cases of toenail fungus. However, for patients with diabetes or other health conditions that weaken the immune system, it is best to consult a doctor for treatment of fungal nails. The Best Foot Doctor is proud to offer high-quality treatment with minimal risk. If you are concerned about toenail fungus and would like to speak to a healthcare professional, please contact us to schedule an appointment.