7 Ways to Treat Toenail Fungus 

May 5, 2023

Are you dealing with toenails that are miscolored or brittle? Or maybe they have become thick or misshapen? You could have a case of toenail fungus.

The good news is that toenail fungus is treatable. The bad news is that the longer you wait to get them treated, the harder and longer it takes to be rid of them. The even better news is that there are several different options you can try to treat your toenail fungus.

What is Toenail Fungus?

Fungi are a diverse group of microscopic organisms that can cause infections. In the case of toenail fungus, a specific type of fungus (dermatophytes) enters the body through cuts or abrasions in your skin or openings between your nail and nail bed. When fungal spores grow and multiply, you will notice symptoms of toenail fungus, a common infection that affects the toenails. 

Toenail fungus forms after direct exposure to fungal spores, which thrive in warm, moist environments. If you recall walking barefoot in a public area such as a locker room, swimming pool deck, or public shower, you may have contracted toenail fungus in one of those places. 

Or perhaps you contracted toenail fungus by sharing personal items with someone with a toenail fungus infection; examples of items that can harbor contagious fungal spores include towels, nail clippers, and shoes. 

Feet after toenail fungus treatments

Why Does Toenail Fungus Form?

Toenail fungus, also known as onychomycosis, forms because the spores grow and spread when they invade your toenails. When this happens, your toenails become thick, brittle, and/or discolored. 

What makes toenail fungus particularly prone to forming is the environment—socks and shoes create a warm, moist environment ideal for fungal growth. The fungi feed on the keratin protein that makes up the nail and, over time, the infection can spread to other toenails and even the surrounding skin. 

If left untreated, toenail fungus can cause pain and discomfort and, in severe cases, lead to permanent nail damage. 

Ways to Treat Toenail Fungus

If you have or suspect you have toenail fungus, keep in mind that one of the first signs of infection is discoloration of the nail. As frustrating and embarrassing as toenail fungus can be, the good news is that there are effective ways to treat it. 

Here are seven ways to treat toenail fungus as recommended by our podiatrists at Michigan Foot & Ankle Specialists. If you have any questions about any of these toenail fungus treatments, please contact our office.

Oral Antifungal

Oral antifungal medication is taken by mouth and comes in the form of capsules or liquids; there are several medications available and our doctors will prescribe the one that will be most suitable for you. The oral antifungal medication will get to work right away targeting the contagious fungal cells, and inhibiting their growth and reproduction so the infection can recede. 

Medicated Nail Polish

When it comes to toenail fungus treatments, medicated nail polish is another option worth considering. A topical antifungal treatment, medicated nail polish is available over the counter or by prescription. It can be applied directly to the affected toenails to treat toenail fungus. The antifungal agent within the polish kills the fungus causing the infection.

Medicated Nail Cream 

Medicated nail cream is similar to medicated nail polish. It’s a topical medication containing antifungal agents that kill the fungus and prevent it from spreading. Available over the counter or by prescription, medicated nail cream can be applied directly to the infected toenail once or twice daily.  

Tea Tree Oils 

Extracted from the leaves of the tea tree, tea tree oil is a natural essential oil that has antifungal and antimicrobial properties. Tea tree oils made our list of effective toenail fungus treatments due to their proven medicinal properties. 

When purchasing tea tree oils, select a pure, high-quality oil, or purchase pre-made tea tree oil products designed explicitly for toenail fungus, such as antifungal nail creams or nail polishes containing this ingredient. You can add a few drops of the oil to a warm bath and soak your feet for 15-20 minutes. Before applying tea tree oils directly to the affected area, dilute the oil with a carrier oil, such as olive oil or coconut oil. 

Eucalyptus Oils 

Similar to tea tree oils as described above, eucalyptus oil is a natural essential oil extracted from the leaves of the eucalyptus tree. These oils have been shown to have antifungal and antimicrobial properties and can be applied topically after being diluted with a carrier oil. Eucalyptus oils may also be used for foot soaks. 


If you aren’t bothered by the smell of vinegar, consider this popular food ingredient and cleaning agent as another viable option to treat toenail fungus. The acidity in vinegar can help to kill the fungus. If you’d like to try soaking your feet in vinegar, mix equal parts of white vinegar and water and soak your toenails in this solution for up to 20 minutes. 

Ozonated Oils 

Have you ever heard of ozonated oils? This type of oil has been infused with ozone gas. Ozone is known to have powerful antifungal, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties. Ozonated oils (including ozonated olive oil) can be used as a topical remedy for toenail fungus. If you’re interested in trying ozonated oils, apply a small amount to the affected areas and then massage it gently to ensure that the oil penetrates the skin and nails.

Feet in grass without toenail fungus

When to Schedule an Appointment with a Doctor? 

The duration—and success—of each of these seven treatment methods depends on the severity of your toenail fungus infection. If one or more (or a combination of these toenail fungus treatments) are not eradicating the infection, we encourage you to schedule an appointment with our doctors. 

Our doctors will be able to closely evaluate your toenail fungus infection and create a personalized treatment plan designed to kill the fungus and, ideally, prevent it from returning.

Are You Ready to Be Free of Toenail Fungus?

Our podiatrist, Dr. Alexander Thomas, will do everything possible to eradicate your toenail fungus and restore the health and appearance of your toenails. They possess extensive knowledge and expertise in treating toenail fungus and have helped countless patients get rid of their fungal nails.

Our office is located at 7243 Chase Road in Dearborn. You can book an appointment online or by calling 313-582-6222. In addition to treating toenail fungus, we treat a variety of other common skin and nail issues. Rely on us to provide the personalized care you need and the effective treatments you deserve!



7243 Chase Rd.
Dearborn, MI 48126


(313) 582-6222


Monday - Friday: 9am - 5pm


© Michigan Foot & Ankle Specialists. All Rights Reserved. | Privacy Policy.  Legal Disclaimer.

Web Design by CP Solutions. Marketed by VMD Services.