What Can Be Done About Fungal Toenails at Home?

Given the present circumstances under COVID-19, we do understand if receiving treatment for a fungal toenail infection (aka mycotic nails) is not at the top of your priority list at this time.

Fungal nails are not necessarily an urgent or emergency need (although please do contact us if they are causing you pain, as that is something that should be promptly addressed). If you have had them for a long time, a tiny bit longer is unlikely to make an enormous difference.

However, it is also true that the sooner treatment starts on a fungal infection, the faster and more easily it tends to clear up.

Quicker action can be especially beneficial to you if you have just discovered what you think may be toenail fungus. This tends to take the form of white lines or spots on the nail, which are easy to mistake for general wear and tear on your nails—except these marks don’t go away and start to grow or change over time. You should definitely give us a call if you think this might be happening, because you could save yourself a lot of trouble if you’re lucky enough to catch an infection this early!

It is also very important to call us about your fungal nail problem if you are also living with diabetes. The effects of diabetes can make infections and conditions of many types more problematic, and the feet can get hit especially hard by these consequences. We should step in professionally and make sure there are no underlying dangers.

But let’s say neither of the above factors apply to you. You have had fungal nails for quite a while, and don’t have any accompanying conditions that might increase your risk of complications. What then?

You really should come to see us about your fungal nails at the best opportunity, there is no doubt. But if the current COVID-19 situation is making that unfeasible right now, are there ways you can help yourself at home?

Let’s take a look at that.

A Home Cure for Fungal Nails Probably Isn’t in the Cards

There are plenty of “home remedy” suggestions out there for taking care of fungal toenails. Head onto Facebook or Instagram, and it likely won’t take long before you find treatments involving stuff like garlic, mouthwash, olive leaf extract, and vinegar (is apple cider still the ultra-popular variety?).

While there is some anecdotal evidence for some of these home remedies (they wouldn’t spread around social media so well otherwise), the scientific backing just isn’t there.

So should you actually try them? There isn’t really much wrong with giving them a try, if you’re so inclined. Just don’t be surprised if results are not what you had hoped.

However, immediately stop any home remedy if it asks you cut into your nails, or if it causes you pain, discomfort, or dryness. You don’t want to leave your feet in worse shape than you started!

Until you can get professional treatment, your efforts might me better invested into keeping the spread of your fungal infection to a minimum.

Slowing Fungal Nail Spread at Home

The good news is that nail fungus is not terribly contagious. The bad news is that it still can spread to other nails, your skin (causing athlete’s foot), or to other people around you in some cases!

With that in mind, taking steps at home to help prevent the spread of your fungus can benefit you greatly in the long run—both in terms of treatment needs and not getting your family mad at you.

Here are some tips to help keep your toenail fungus confined to where it currently is:

  • Use your toenail clippers only on your toenails. Using your toenail clippers on your fingernails can help transfer fungus between your hands and feet. Besides, toenail clippers are too big for your fingernails, anyway. Do not let anyone use your trimmers, either—for anything!
  • Don’t share socks, shoes, or towels. You shouldn’t be sharing any of these anyway, but warm, damp items such as these are places where fungus can thrive.
  • Use antifungal powders and sprays in your shoes. This will of course help kill fungus within your shoes. And, after treatment, it can help prevent re-infection (although getting new shoes is an even better bet).
  • Wear clean, comfortable socks to bed. If you share a bed with someone else, this can help shield them from exposure. It also helps to wash your sheets regularly.

Call Us for Fungal Toenail Help!

Don’t put off getting treatment for your toenail fungus any longer than you have to. Even if you have had brittle, thick, discolored nails for a long time, we can still help you get on the path to improved nail health.

Call our Palm Desert office at (760) 568-0108 if you have questions about your fungal nails, or wish to know if an appointment would be best at this time. You can also reach us by filling out our online contact form. We are more than happy to help you however we can.

Stay healthy, stay safe, and keep those fungal nails in check!

Dr. Harvey Danciger
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Dr. Harvey Danciger is a podiatrist and foot surgeon in Palm Desert, CA specializing in the foot and ankle
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