Fungal infections affect both finger and toe nails, such infections are technically referred to as ‘paranoychia’ or ‘onychomycosis’. In ‘paranoychia’, soft tissue of the nail is mostly affected. Keratin, the protein layer which forms the surface of nails is damaged due to fungal development. Any component of the nail (be it nail bed, nail plate, etc.) can be infected. Amongst the five toes, the first and last small toe is mostly affected by ‘paranoychia’. Changes occur in the nails as a result. Discoloration and deformities due to crumbling, in- grown nails, changes in the texture of the nails can be noticed. This fungal infection can spread from one person to another and also has a genetic predisposition. The best treatment for such infections is a combination of home remedies along standard treatment (using topical creams).
Why Home remedies are the most preferred to cure such infections?
Home remedies for toe nail infection are effective when the infection is mild or in the initial stages. However, instant effects are not seen and it is essential to continue these remedies till you find a considerable improvement else you risk for a stronger infection in future. Home remedies are most preferred for treating toe nail fungus for reasons like easy availability, reduced cost and being equally effective.
Natural treatment options for toe nail fungus
Best available home remedies
These remedies are effective for treating fungal infections for reasons mentioned earlier and listed below are few tried and tested ones:
1. Garlic is well known for its innumerable benefits and garlic extract is found to be effective when applied to the affected areas thrice a day. Even better if you can use garlic powder as it lacks moisture.
2. Lemon grass tea and ginger tea are found to be effective, if taken on a regular basis along with topical application of the used tea-bags on the infected areas.
3. Bleach, hydrogen peroxide, baking soda in paste form have shown results in many when applied.
4. Iodine and vinegar have been found to be effective in some people. Soaking feet in vinegar reduces such infections.
5. Some people swear by this home remedy – soaking feet in Listerine-antiseptic mouthwash.
6. Applying olive leaf or aloe vera extracts on the affected areas works for few.
7. Turmeric paste or oil works wonders when applied due to its potent antiseptic properties.
8. OTC (over-the-counter) anti-fungal creams can also be applied for treating fungal infections and can be kept handy for use.
1. Use of this tea tree oil has been found to be very effective, it being a natural fungicide and antiseptic. Application with slight scrubbing of concentrated oil on the affected areas helps to ward off the fungus. Soaking of feet in warm water to which 10 drops of this oil (thrice a day) has been found to be benefit table. This remedy work best for mild and moderate stage of infection. It is important to dry nail thoroughly, soon after.
2. Soak feet in warm water to which 10 drops of myrrh oil or tincture form of the same oil has been added for twenty minutes thrice a day. Dry feet soon after.
Natural supplements can be taken on a daily basis to correct nutritional deficiencies and to improve overall-health.
1. Having zinc supplements (50 mg daily) boosts immunity, prevents the growth of fungus and aids in healing of the damaged tissues, if any.
2. A multivitamin daily can be taken to correct dietary imbalances. Vitamins A, B, E are proven to be more beneficial to others. Vitamin C helps to increase resistance against various infections.
3. Supplements of acidophilus can be taken as they aid in digestion and maintain a required balance of the microbial flora in the body and further prevent fungus to invade the body.
Some general precautions can be included in your routine in order to prevent or manage such infections and improve general hygiene.
1. It is important to wash, clean feet daily and especially after visiting public places. Avoid direct contact of feet in such places, cover them well. Equally important is to dry them thoroughly, if necessary use cotton balls between toes.
2. Avoid closed footwear especially when prone to such fungal infections and for exposure to air (as humid or wet conditions favor microbial growth).
3. Prefer cotton socks and prior to wearing them, dust feet with anti-fungal powder. Change them regularly and use a disinfectant for washing them.
4. Avoid scratching the feet when itchy, as infection tends to spread.
5. Keep toe nails short and slough off any dead skin around the sides of the nails.