Fungal Nail Preventions and Treatments

Jun 28, 2023

Fungal nail infections, also known as onychomycosis, can be an unsightly and uncomfortable foot condition. They are caused by various types of fungi that thrive in warm and moist environments. If left untreated, fungal nail infections can worsen over time. 

However, with proper prevention strategies and effective treatments, you can maintain healthy and beautiful nails. If you have a fungal nail infection, reach out to our office and let us help you get rid of it for good! 

What is a Fungal Nail?

A fungal nail infection occurs when fungi enter the nail bed and begin to grow, leading to discoloration, thickening, and brittleness of the nail. It is a common condition that affects millions of people worldwide. 

The fungi that cause toenail fungus infections thrive in warm, damp environments like public showers, gyms, and swimming pools. If you happen to walk barefoot in these areas, you are at an increased risk of fungal nail infections.

How to Diagnose a Toenail Fungal Infection?

If you suspect a fungal nail infection, it is important to seek a professional diagnosis. Our podiatrists at Michigan Foot & Ankle Specialists can examine your nails and perform tests to determine the presence of a fungal infection. These tests may include nail clippings or a scraping of the affected area for laboratory analysis, while also paying close attention to any symptoms.

Fungal nail infections can present a range of symptoms, including:

  • Discoloration of the nail, typically yellow, brown, or white.
  • Thickening and distortion of the nail.
  • Brittleness and crumbling of the nail.
  • Separation of the nail from the nail bed.
  • Foul odor.
Doctor inspecting foot for Fungal nails

How Do You Prevent Fungal Nail Infections from Developing?

Preventing fungal nail infections is essential for maintaining healthy nails. Here are some prevention tips:

    • Keep Your Feet Dry: Moisture provides an ideal environment for fungal growth. After showering or swimming, thoroughly dry your feet, including the spaces between your toes.
    • Wear Breathable Shoes: Opt for shoes made of breathable materials that allow air circulation. Avoid tight-fitting shoes that squeeze the toes, as they can create a warm and moist environment conducive to fungal growth.
    • Maintain Proper Nail Care: Trim your toenails straight across and avoid cutting them too short. Regularly clean and inspect your nails for any signs of infection.
    • Practice Good Hygiene: Wash your hands and feet regularly with soap and water. Dry them thoroughly afterward.
    • Avoid Nail Polish and Artificial Nails: Nail polish and artificial nails can trap moisture and create an environment where fungi can thrive. Allow your nails to breathe freely.
    • Always Wear Foot Protection in High Infectious Areas: Wearing sandals or water shoes in public showers, locker rooms, or around pools will protect your feet from fungal infections. 


    laser treatment for fungal nail

    Are There At-Home Remedies Available?

    While several at-home remedies claim to treat fungal nail infections, it is essential to note that they may not always be effective in completely eradicating the infection. Here are a few commonly suggested remedies:

    Vicks Vapor Rub

    Some individuals apply Vicks Vapor Rub to the affected nail, as it contains antifungal ingredients. However, scientific evidence supporting its effectiveness is limited.

    Tea Tree Oil

    Tea tree oil has natural antifungal properties. Applying it to the affected nail may help inhibit fungal growth. However, consistent and long-term use may be required for noticeable improvement.

    Olive Leaf Extract

    Olive leaf extract is believed to have antifungal properties. While some people have reported success in treating fungal nail infections with this extract, more research is needed to determine its effectiveness.


    Soaking the affected nail in a solution of vinegar and water may help inhibit fungal growth. However, consistent and diligent use is necessary for potential results.

    Listerine Mouthwash

    Listerine contains antifungal ingredients like thymol and menthol. Some individuals soak their feet in a diluted Listerine solution to target fungal infections. However, clinical evidence supporting its efficacy is limited.

    Apple Cider Vinegar

    Soaking the affected nail in a mixture of apple cider vinegar and water may help inhibit fungal growth. The acidic nature of vinegar creates an unfavorable environment for fungi. Consistent and diligent use is necessary for potential results.

    Baking Soda and Borax Soak

    Another at-home remedy involves soaking the affected nail in a solution of baking soda and borax. These ingredients have antifungal properties and may help control the growth of fungi. Regular soaking and proper hygiene are essential for optimal results.

    Snakeroot Extract

    Snakeroot extract, derived from a plant called Ageratina pichinchensis, has shown antifungal properties in some studies. It may be used as a topical treatment for fungal nail infections, although further research is necessary.

    Ozonized Sunflower Oil

    Ozonized sunflower oil is a potential treatment for fungal infections. It has been found to have antifungal properties and can be applied topically to the affected nail.

    Oregano Oil

    Oregano oil contains compounds with antifungal properties. Applying it to the affected nail may help inhibit fungal growth. However, it should be diluted before use and used cautiously.

    Cornmeal Soak

    Some people find soaking their feet in a solution of cornmeal and water helpful for treating fungal nail infections. While there is limited scientific evidence supporting its effectiveness, anecdotal reports suggest positive results.

    It’s important to note that at-home remedies may not work for everyone and are not a substitute for professional care. If symptoms worsen or persist, it is crucial to seek the expertise of our podiatrists at Michigan Foot & Ankle Specialists for a comprehensive evaluation and appropriate treatment options.

    treating fungal nails

    Professional Treatment for Fungal Nails

    If at-home remedies don’t provide satisfactory results in treating fungal nail infections, it may be time to consider professional treatment options.

    Oral Medications

    Prescription oral antifungal medications are often the go-to treatment for severe or persistent cases of toenail fungus. These medications work from within the body to eliminate the infection and promote the growth of healthy nails.

    Treatment duration typically ranges from several weeks to a few months, depending on the severity of the infection. Regular monitoring by our podiatrists is essential to ensure the medication’s effectiveness and monitor for any potential side effects.

    Topical Medications

    Topical antifungal medications are applied directly to the affected nails and surrounding skin. While they are generally more effective for mild cases of toenail fungus, they can also be used in combination with oral medications for more severe infections.

    Topical treatments come in the form of creams, ointments, lotions, or nail lacquers. It’s important to follow the application instructions provided by our podiatrists and apply the medication consistently to achieve the best results.

    It’s Time to Get Rid of Your Fungal Nail Infection

    Fungal nail infections can be an unpleasant and persistent problem. While at-home remedies may provide some relief, they may not completely eliminate the infection. To effectively prevent and treat fungal nail infections, it is important to follow proper prevention strategies and seek professional care when needed. 

    Michigan Foot & Ankle Specialists offers expert diagnosis and customized treatment plans to help you achieve healthy and beautiful nails. Don’t let fungal nail infections hold you back—schedule an appointment today to take the first step towards optimal foot health.



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    Dearborn, MI 48126


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