how to get rid of toenail fungus


Toenail fungus, also known as onychomycosis, is a common condition that can cause discoloration, thickening, and brittleness of the toenails. While toenail fungus can be persistent, there are various effective strategies for treatment and prevention. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore a range of methods, from home remedies to medical interventions, to help you achieve healthier and fungus-free toenails.

I. Understanding Toenail Fungus:

a. Causes:

  • Toenail fungus is often caused by dermatophytes, a type of fungi that thrives in warm and moist environments.
  • Factors such as poor foot hygiene, damp shoes, and compromised immune function can contribute to fungal growth.

b. Symptoms:

  • Common symptoms of toenail fungus include discoloration (yellow, brown, or white), thickening of the nails, brittleness, and a distorted nail shape.

c. Risk Factors:

  • Factors such as age, weakened immune system, diabetes, poor circulation, and frequent exposure to moist environments increase the risk of toenail fungus.

II. Home Remedies for Toenail Fungus:

a. Tea Tree Oil:

  • Apply tea tree oil, known for its antifungal properties, directly to the affected nails.
  • Mix a few drops of tea tree oil with a carrier oil like coconut oil for dilution.

b. Vinegar Soaks:

  • Soak the affected foot in a solution of equal parts water and white vinegar for 15-20 minutes daily.
  • Pat the foot dry thoroughly afterward.

c. Baking Soda Paste:

  • Create a paste using baking soda and water and apply it to the affected nails.
  • Leave it on for 10-15 minutes before rinsing.

d. Garlic:

  • Crush garlic and apply it directly to the affected nails.
  • Garlic has natural antifungal properties.

e. Oregano Oil:

  • Dilute oregano oil with a carrier oil and apply it to the affected nails.
  • Oregano oil contains antifungal compounds.

III. Over-the-Counter (OTC) Treatments:

a. Antifungal Creams and Ointments:

  • Topical antifungal treatments containing ingredients like terbinafine or clotrimazole can be applied directly to the affected nails.

b. Antifungal Nail Polish:

  • Specialized antifungal nail polishes are available that can be applied like regular nail polish.

c. Antifungal Powders:

  • Powders containing antifungal agents can be used to keep the feet dry and prevent fungal growth.

IV. Prescription Medications:

a. Oral Antifungal Medications:

  • Prescription oral medications such as terbinafine (Lamisil) and itraconazole (Sporanox) may be prescribed by a healthcare professional for severe cases.
  • These medications typically require a longer treatment duration.

b. Topical Prescription Medications:

  • Prescription-strength topical treatments may be recommended for more stubborn cases.
  • These medications may include efinaconazole (Jublia) or tavaborole (Kerydin).

V. Laser Therapy:

  • Laser therapy is a medical intervention that uses laser light to penetrate the nail and kill the fungus.
  • Multiple sessions may be required for optimal results.

VI. Professional Nail Care:

  • Regular visits to a podiatrist or a nail care professional can help maintain healthy toenails.
  • Professional treatments may include debridement (thinning and trimming) of the affected nails.

VII. Preventive Measures:

a. Proper Foot Hygiene:

  • Keep your feet clean and dry, paying attention to the spaces between the toes.
  • Use an antifungal soap when washing your feet.

b. Regular Nail Trimming:

  • Trim your nails regularly and keep them short to reduce the risk of fungal growth.

c. Choose Breathable Footwear:

  • Wear breathable shoes made of materials like leather or mesh to allow air circulation.

d. Rotate Shoes:

  • Avoid wearing the same pair of shoes every day. Rotate your shoes to allow them to air out.

e. Use Antifungal Sprays or Powders:

  • Apply antifungal sprays or powders inside your shoes to help prevent fungal growth.

f. Avoid Walking Barefoot in Public Areas:

  • Refrain from walking barefoot in public places, especially in communal areas like swimming pools or locker rooms.

g. Choose Moisture-Wicking Socks:

  • Opt for socks made of moisture-wicking materials to keep your feet dry.

h. Consider Antifungal Inserts:

  • Antifungal shoe inserts can help control moisture and inhibit fungal growth.

VIII. Lifestyle Changes:

a. Maintain a Healthy Diet:

  • Consume a balanced diet rich in nutrients to support overall immune health.

b. Manage Chronic Conditions:

  • If you have underlying health conditions like diabetes, work with your healthcare provider to manage them effectively.

c. Avoid DIY Removal:

  • Avoid attempting to remove the affected nail yourself, as this can lead to injury and potentially worsen the condition.

IX. Persistence and Patience:

a. Consistent Application:

  • Be consistent in applying topical treatments or following prescribed medications.
  • Results may take time, and patience is key.

b. Monitor for Recurrence:

  • Even after successful treatment, monitor your toenails for any signs of recurrence.
  • Promptly address any new symptoms to prevent the spread of fungus.

c. Consult a Healthcare Professional:

  • If home remedies or over-the-counter treatments do not show improvement, consult a healthcare professional for a personalized treatment plan.


Toenail fungus can be a persistent condition, but with a comprehensive approach that includes home remedies, over-the-counter treatments, prescription medications, preventive measures, and lifestyle changes, you can effectively manage and prevent its recurrence. Consistency, patience, and proper foot hygiene are essential for achieving and maintaining healthy toenails. If in doubt or if the condition persists, seek professional advice from a healthcare provider or a podiatrist to ensure the most appropriate and effective treatment plan for your specific case.