Toenail fungus, also called Onychomycosis, is fungal infection of the toenail.
While this fungus can also infect fingernails, it is much more common on toenails.
Following is everything you want to know about toenail fungus…
How do you know if you’ve got it?
How do you get it to begin with?
How do you treat a toenail fungus?
Plus, how to prevent toenail fungus — from someone who’s had it before (me).
How Do You Know If You Have Toenail Fungus?
If you have naturally thick toenails (like myself) it’s hard to determine if you are getting toenail fungus.
If you have a noticeable change in your toenail, however, then you may have a problem.
The symptoms of toenail fungus are:
- Thickening and yellowing of the nail plate; and
- Crumbly breakage and separation from the nail bed.
How Do You Get Toenail Fungus In The First Place?
The most common fungus is Trichophyton rubrum. Other forms of toenail fungus are Trichophyton interdigitale, Epidermophyton floccosum, Trichophyton violaceum, and even candida.
These germs can be picked up in pedicure spas, in gym locker rooms, or from wearing shared shoes.
Fungus grows on toenails when the nails are in a prolonged moist environment where bacteria can grow and infest the nail. Once the fungus is established in and under the toenail, it is hard to get rid of.
How Do You Treat Toenail Fungus?
Toenail fungus can take a year or more to treat using antifungal medications that are taken internally.
For mild infections, there are also topical treatments that need to applied daily for a year. Many people (including myself) prefer natural remedies — because the thought of taking or applying any medication for a whole year is quite off-putting. Some of the natural remedies for toenail fungus include:
- Using Tea Tree Oil on and around the toenail.
- Grapefruit Seed Extract is also known to have antimicrobial activity.
Here are more toenail fungus treatments.
My Personal Experience With Toenail Fungus
A few years ago, I had a habit of getting regular pedicures. That was until I noticed that a corner of my toenail was beginning to lift up and turn white.
As I have naturally thick nails, it was not apparent to me what the problem was, but the pedicure technician suspected it was fungus. She cleaned under the toenail thoroughly while talking loudly in another language and insisting to me that I must have been getting pedicures somewhere else. I would have never thought to blame the toenail fungus on the salon if she had not brought that up.
After she cleaned under the nail, she emptied a small bottle of vinegar onto and under my nail with a squirt bottle and instructed me to repeat the treatment at home. She also said to get rid of any tight shoes that I might have, becuase tight shoes were lifting my toenail and allowing germs to get underneath.
Fortunately, I live in Atlanta and was able to wear open-toe shoes most of the winter. My toenail cleared up in a matter of months by keeping them trimmed and cleaning regularly with vinegar. I prefer to do my own pedicures now, as a result.
For me, the key was an early diagnosis. When I noticed it, only the edge of my toenail was infected, and the fungus had not established itself under my nail yet. By keeping the toenail trimmed and using a natural treatment as simple as vinegar, I was able to avoid a year of expensive prescription medication.
How To Prevent Toenail Fungus
- Keep feet clean and dry.
- Do not wear someone else’s shoes.
- Wear shower shoes in locker rooms.
- Wear socks inside your shoes, and don’t wear the same socks twice without cleaning.
- Do not wear tight shoes.
- Inspect your toenails regularly, and keep them trimmed.
Here’s more about toenail fungus. You can even speak to others who may have the same problems.