How to Treat Toenail Fungus:
The weather has cooled. Sandals are put away and that last of summer toenail polish is removed. OMG! What is that white color on my nails? Yuk! There is also some weird greenish discoloration. Unfortunately, it’s not a Halloween trick. It is toenail fungus. Toenail fungus is one of the most common complaints of women and men in their prime. It is estimated that the majority of us will have toenail fungus at some point in our lives. For the most part, toenail fungus is mainly cosmetic. However, medical problems, such as painful ingrown toenail and infection, can arise as a result of toenail fungus.
When fungus takes residence in the nail, it causes the nail to become very thick. Once you contract toenail fungus, you are very susceptible to recurrence and ongoing nail care is the best way to control it. But, how did you get it in the first place? Causes include: pedicures from instruments that are not properly disinfected between clients or any trauma that causes a lifting of the toenail to allow moisture under the nail such as running, tennis, aerobics, even stubbing your toe. Furthermore, as you age, it seems your immune system is not as effective at fighting off the fungus, which is why it is seen so commonly in older age groups.
OK, how do we get rid of it?
Prescription oral medication for toenail fungus usually has to be taken for three months, takes another 9 months for the toenails to grow out normal, and, after two years, the majority of time, it returns. The medication is expensive and can have side effects for the liver. However, if the nails are really thickened, it will jump-start the treatment. Once you’ve gotten it under control, be prepared for it to come back and take action at the first sign of recurrence.
For recurrences and early signs of toenail fungus, follow these steps:
- Soak nails in water to soften them. If they are greenish, add 1/4 tsp. of Clorox or 1 tbs. of white vinegar to a footbath.
- Trim the ends of nails to shorten them. Use a blunt instrument to gently remove whitish material under the nail.
- Use a metal nail file or strong/coarse emery board to file the tops of your nails in order to thin the entire nail. The goal is to get them as thin as possible. This is easier to do if the nail has been softened with footbath. Applying an agent like Kerasal Nail Renewal also helps to soften the nail and makes it easier to trim and thin.
- Step 2 and 3 are the most important, as the fungus is being removed by trimming and thinning the nails, which is the best way to get rid of toenail fungus. Thinning of the nails may take several attempts, but over time, it can be achieved.
- One can also apply an over-the-counter topical anti-fungal cream or polish but the key to improvement is keeping those nails short and thin.
Working on your nails in the fall will have them ready for sandals when summer returns.