Toenail fungus affects up to 8% of adults. The initial symptoms include yellowing and thickening of the nail. When the condition develops to inflammation, it causes swelling of the toe and nail crumbling. Toenail fungus thrives in a humid and dark environment, therefore, people who constantly wear socks and closed shoes are more prone to this problem.
This condition is perfectly curable. However, the treatment takes a long time. In order to effectively get rid of nail fungus, you need to continue the treatment throughout the whole nail regrowth cycle, which usually takes from 6 to 12 months.
It is vital that you do not stop the treatment even after the symptoms have decreased or disappeared. Leaving the smallest part of the toenail infected with the fungus will put the whole treatment in jeopardy.
How to avoid toenail fungus
Fungus thrives in a humid and warm environment. I may develop as a result of the changes in the pH level of the skin, which often happens when you wear sweaty socks and shoes or in some other way regularly expose your feet to moist.
Keep Your Feet Dry
If you want to avoid toenail fungus, you should wear fresh, clean socks made of an absorbent material that will let your feet breathe. A good choice will be cotton, wool or polypropylene socks. Remember to dry your feet thoroughly after the shower and if your feet tend to sweat a lot, use a special talk that will absorb the humidity. Whenever possible, wear open shoes to let the skin and nails breathe and dry.
Disinfect Pedicure Accessories
Avoid using the same pedicure accessories as a person with fungal infections. For example, don’t share the clippers with your partner and when you go to a beauty salon for a pedicure treatment, make sure the staff use only accessories that have been previously disinfected. Also, if the symptoms of your toenail fungus have decreased and are not obvious anymore to the person providing the pedicure treatment, let them know about your condition so that they can take proper care both of your nails and of the equipment they use.
Wear Flip-Flops at the Swimming Pool
Whenever you are at the swimming pool or at the gym, make sure you never walk barefoot and keep your flip-flops on while in the shower. The floor in damp, public areas is full of fungus and you put yourself at risk of getting infected whenever you decide to take your shoes or flip-flops off.
Constant use of nail polish may also boost the development of toenail fungus because nail polish traps moisture in the nail, creating a perfect environment for it to grow. Give a break to your nails from time to time so they can breathe and regenerate properly.
Get New Shoes
Once you notice fungus symptoms on your toenails and begin the treatment, you should disinfect all of your shoes or – preferably – replace them all. Every pair of shoes may contain some remains of fungus and will make the condition reoccur.
Home remedies for toenail fungus
If you want to clear out nail fungus, you need to brace yourself in patience and be consistent with the treatment you choose. It is very important to follow the appropriate foot hygiene routine and apply all of the prevention advice during and after the treatment. Make sure you use rubber gloves every time you apply creams, ointments or solutions on the infected nails.
Remember that having cured nail fungus does not mean you have solved the problem once for all. It can become a recurrent problem if you neglect this advice. The good news is that toenail fungus treatment can be done entirely through home remedies, with the use of widely available products.
Tea Tree Oil
Due to its anti-fungal and antibacterial properties, tea tree oil is a popular ingredient in many products designed to cure various skin and nail conditions. You can prepare a mixture of tea tree oil and olive oil using equal amounts of both. Apply it on your toenail twice daily and leave it on for 10 minutes. After the morning treatment, before you put your socks and shoes on, scrub the nail with a small brush. Gradually, the infected layer of your nail will be removed and replaced with a new, healthy one. For better results, add a few drops of orange oil to the solution you apply on your nails. Thanks to its slightly acidic character it boosts the antibacterial properties of the solution. Remember not to use orange oil on its own, though, because it can change the pH level of the skin and create better conditions for fungus to develop.
Apple Cider Vinegar
You can get amazing results in the toenail fungus treatment by soaking your feet every day in a solution of water and apple cider vinegar. Again, use equal parts of both liquids and soak your entire feet or just the affected nail for 30 minutes. Make sure you dry your feet well after the treatment. You may also prepare a scrub of apple cider vinegar and ground rice flour. Use it to exfoliate the infected area 3-4 times a week. Apple cider vinegar has strong anti-bacterial and antifungal properties and is a great help in fighting and preventing the spreading of nail fungus.