A large portion of problems involving toenails is associated with fungal infections. Fungus needs warm and moist environments in order to live and breed, and feet, trapped in socks and shoes all day long, make a perfect breeding ground.
The fungal nail infection
The fungal nail infection, which is called onychomycosis, can affect both fingernails and toenails, but infections on toenails, especially on the big toe, are far more common. This is not a dangerous condition, nor it presents a medical emergency, but it still should be treated as soon as it is spotted and diagnosed, because the infection may lead to the loss of the entire nail or spread to the other nails.
The symptoms of fungal toenail infection include discoloration of the nail, which becomes yellowish and then progressively turns dark, usually brown and even black, thickening of the nail plate, brittleness, distortion of the plate and dull appearance.
Home remedies for toenail fungus
It is very important to start the treatment as soon as toenail fungus is diagnosed. This infection can be persistent and it may take several weeks for it to clear, but it is important not to give up, especially if using natural or home remedies. All remedies work best if they are applied early on, not in advanced stages of the infection.
Hydrogen peroxide is one of the classic home remedies for toenail fungus. It is recommended to use 3 percent solution for soaking the affected toenail twice a day for 20 minutes. Those who want to use concentrated hydrogen peroxide must make sure to dilute it before soaking the feet.
Vinegar and tea tree oil
Vinegar is another great remedy for this kind of infection, especially pure apple cider vinegar. It should be mixed with equal amount of water and used for soaking the affected toe every day until the infection is gone.
Tea tree oil is a potent natural remedy with strong anti-fungal properties. It should be massaged into the infected toenail, in concentrated for or diluted with carrier oil, such as grapeseed or olive oil. Oregano essential oil is also very good against fungus.
Other home remedies
Other effective home remedies that can be applied topically on toenails infected with fungus include Listerine mouthwash, Vics Vaporub, rubbing alcohol, turmeric, garlic, onions and yogurt.
Importance of personal hygiene
During the treatment of toenail fungus with home remedies, it is important to improve personal hygiene, to wear 100 percent cotton socks that allow the skin to breathe, to frequently wash the footwear and to make sure the feet are dry at all times.