How to treat toenail fungus and the reasons for it

fungus on toenails

Onychomycosis, like other fungal diseases, is contagious and spreads from person to person.

Skin and toenails are most affected by fungus. This is due to the favorable environment for the growth of fungi (neutral or alkaline) that occur during the sweating process of the feet when wearing indoor shoes.

The risk of fungal infection depends on age, occupation, health status, as well as social and climatic conditions.

The disease usually begins on the skin of the feet, most often develops between the toes, and then spreads to the nails.

The main causes of nail fungus are:

  • poor foot hygiene;
  • lack of removable shoes in baths, swimming pools, public showers;
  • long-term wearing of closed (wet) shoes;
  • increased sweating of the feet;
  • reduction of immunity;
  • injuries to nails and toes (cracks, wounds);
  • frequent use of oral contraceptives or antibacterial drugs;
  • A number of diseases, including diabetes, obesity.

It should be noted

The fungus is difficult to treat because it easily migrates from diseased parts of the body to healthy ones. And therefore, it is important to be especially careful in the treatment of this disease, when caring for the affected areas of the nails and skin, when using individual means and care products for their treatment, or when disinfecting them after use.

The external manifestation of onychomycosis and how to most effectively treat toenail fungus depends on the type of pathogen, as well as the depth and degree of its spread.

There are the following types of onychomycosis:

  • Normotrophic, which changes the color of the nail plate, preserves its structure and shine.
  • Hypertrophic - dullness, deformation of the nail plate, sunken nails are added to the color change.
  • The onycholytic type is characterized by destruction of the nail and rejection of the nail bed.

With the slightest suspicion of nail fungus, you should contact a specialist for a medical examination and undergo the necessary tests to determine the type of pathogen. In addition, the attending physician develops a therapeutic program for the treatment of the fungus and gives recommendations.

Treatment of onychomycosis is complicated. Medications are used for topical effects on fungi (creams, ointments, varnishes) and systemic medications are also taken. In the early stages of the disease, in which the nail is affected by no more than 2/3, it is possible to treat onychomycosis with local agents without internal drugs. The duration of treatment is from 3 months to 1 year.

How to treat fungus between toenails and toes using local remedies:

  • It is necessary to take a foot bath before using local remedies. Ingredients such as laundry soap, soda, salt can be added to the water.
  • Softened nails are treated with nail files to remove as much of the fungus-affected surface as possible. The infected surface of the skin between the fingers is treated with a brush. You cannot use the same tool for sick and healthy nails at the same time to prevent the spread of infection. The same goes for the tool that processes the skin between the fingers.
  • After the procedure of cleaning the affected surfaces of the legs, they should be thoroughly dried.
  • Nail polish is applied to prevent nail fungus. You must strictly follow the instructions when working with varnishes.
  • The skin between the fingers is lubricated with antifungal cream or ointment.

The treatment of nail fungus on the hands is similar. Many women with onychomycosis are disappointed with the non-aesthetic appearance of the nails, especially when it comes to the hands.

Some antifungal varnishes allow you to apply a decorative coating on the drug. The appropriateness of the use of such means, depending on the form and stage of the disease, in any case can be said only by a doctor.

It is an effective tool for nail fungus in traditional and folk medicine

Nail fungus is not easy to treat. In advanced cases, it may even be necessary to remove the nail plate. Therefore, the effectiveness of treatment depends directly on the stage of development of the disease.

The sooner treatment is started, the shorter the duration and the better the result.

There are many drugs for the treatment of onychomycosis, as well as folk remedies.

Their main purpose:

  • fight against a fungal pathogen;
  • softening of the nail tissue to remove the affected surface;
  • increase in local immunity;
  • accelerating the growth of the nail plate;
  • nourishment and healing of living tissues.

To choose an effective remedy for nail fungus, you need to know the type of pathogen, as well as how deep it penetrates the nail plates and nail bed.

Therefore, when self-medicating, people are sometimes surprised that the same drug cures one person and is useless for another.

Modern drugs and medicines to combat onychomycosis

Systemic medications are needed to treat the fungus quickly and effectively. Modern antifungal drugs of general activity can cope with any pathogen of the fungus and provide complete recovery in about 90% of cases.

However, taking such drugs can adversely affect the functioning of some internal organs, so their use is contraindicated.

It should be noted

When it is not possible to take medicine inside, local medicines are prescribed. Such treatment is longer and more expensive, but in many cases the right tool leads to complete recovery.

Modern and effective means for local treatment of onychomycosis without oral medication are nail fungus varnishes.

Antifungal varnishes are prescribed in the following cases:

  • the disease is at an early stage;
  • there are contraindications to systemic medication;
  • The root of the nail is not affected by the fungal infection.

Antifungal varnishes are oil or alcohol based. For successful treatment of onychomycosis, it is important to choose the right varnish according to its active ingredient and concentration. Varnishes easily penetrate the nail layers and prevent the development of infection, have a detrimental effect on the pathogen and prevent its proliferation.

When there are not enough varnishes to treat the fungus and there are no contraindications to systemic medication, oral tablets are prescribed for quick and effective treatment of onychomycosis. Such drugs are selected individually by the attending physician.

Systemic preparations in tablet form are produced on the basis of the following active ingredients:

  • Terbinafine. A powerful substance and therefore the most effective. It is used in a daily dose of 250 mg. Terbinafine-based tablets have many side effects and should therefore be taken with caution.
  • Ketoconazole. Taking 200 mg tablets. Daily for 3 months. Due to the high toxicity of the substance during treatment, it is necessary to monitor the condition of the liver and kidneys.
  • Fluconazole. 150 mg once a week for 3-6 months. It has a detrimental effect on almost all types of fungi and is therefore considered universal.
  • itraconazole. Take 200 mg. per day 1. The course of treatment is 3 months. Such a rapid treatment is explained by the high absorption of the active substance by the body, but there are many contraindications.

The nail must be removed with complete damage, deformation and delamination of the nail plate. Special drugs are used for this purpose.

Folk remedies for the treatment of nail fungus

kombucha for nail fungus

Despite the variety and high effectiveness of drugs for nail fungus, folk remedies are no less popular.

Each of them, properly selected and used in the early stages of the disease, will help to get rid of the disease.

The advantage of this treatment over antifungal therapy is that there are few or no side effects when the drug is used properly.

The disadvantage of treatment of onychomycosis with folk remedies is the lack of positive effects and aggravation of the condition due to loss of time. During this time, the fungal infection can spread and make it difficult for the nails to heal. Therefore, you cannot cure yourself. It is important to consult a specialist before using the selected folk remedies for nail fungus.

What does traditional medicine offer for the treatment of onychomycosis:

  • vinegar. It is so effective in the advanced form of the disease. This is due to the fact that the fungus grows in an alkaline environment and the acid damages it. This drug is used as an ingredient in the form of lotions, foot baths, creams. Use wine, apple cider vinegar and vinegar essence in a concentration not exceeding 9%.
  • Iodine. It is an excellent antiseptic with fungicidal properties. However, the effectiveness of its action is high only in the early stages of onychomycosis, when the fungus does not penetrate deeply and affects less than half of the nail. It is applied to the affected surface of the nails, as well as by applying a component to the bath.
  • Hydrogen peroxide. Opinions vary on the benefits of this fungicide. In any case, in the treatment of onychomycosis, hydrogen peroxide will help to disinfect the nails during the procedure, because it easily penetrates into the deeper layers of the nail plate.
  • Celandine. A powerful tool that can be used in advanced forms of the fungus. Treatment should be correct, acceptable, because this plant is poisonous. Tincture (oiled nails) is also used as an ingredient in the preparation of ointments and baths.
  • Tea fungus. It can kill pathogenic bacteria and delay their growth. Used as a compress or rub.

Creams and ointments for nail fungus and foot skin

Onychomycosis is often accompanied by a fungal infection of the skin on the toes.

In this case, it is recommended to apply an ointment or cream for nail fungus for local treatment.

It is not only a universal tool, but also cheaper than antifungal varnishes.

Another advantage of this topical remedy for the disease is that the ointment for nail fungus is easily applied.


Salicylic, sulfur, zinc ointments are also used successfully against fungal infections of the nails.

Any ointment or cream for nail fungus is applied not only to the affected surfaces of the nails and skin, but also to the healthy tissues adjacent to them. Thus, the spread of infection is prevented.

Features of treatment and prevention of fungi in advanced form

If the fungus is not treated, the entire surface of the nail plate becomes infected, causing the nail to deform and separate from the nail bed.

It is very difficult to treat a fungus in an indifferent form. Local therapy alone is not enough and systemic medications are required.

In some cases, the treatment is useless and the nail plate is removed using the following means:

  • nail polish removers;
  • surgical scalpel;
  • laser.

Removal of the nail plate can lead to various complications, for example, a violation of the proper growth of the nail (curvature or nail plate). To avoid exposing yourself to such a problem, the fungus should be treated in a timely manner, and it is better to prevent its occurrence.

Prevention of fungal diseases of toenails:

  • to observe foot hygiene;
  • mandatory wearing of removable shoes in public showers, baths, swimming pools;
  • to refuse to share clothes, shoes and body care products (towels, clothes) with other people;
  • treatment and disinfection of wounds and cracks on the fingers and toes;
  • if you suspect a fungal infection, consult a doctor in a timely manner;
  • prevention of immunosuppression.