There are many places to go and things to do in Berkeley all year long, and especially in our summer months. No matter if you enjoy visiting the Berkeley Rose Garden or revisiting your childhood with a ride on the Tilden Park Merry-Go-Round, it’s always a little better when you’re wearing sandals or open-toed shoes to air out your feet and keep them cool. You may disagree, though, if you have a case of fungal toenails!
Whereas some people are quite comfortable sporting open-toed shoes, others feel the need to keep discolored, distorted toenails hidden from the world. If you are one of those individuals, you should know there are fungal toenail treatment options that can help.
When it comes to treatment for fungal toenails, the best place to start is with methods you can try on your own at home. We will certainly provide professional treatment if you need it, but you may want to try any of the following remedies first:
- Apple cider vinegar. This particular type of vinegar has a mild acidity, which both prevents the fungal infection from spreading and eradicates the offensive fungus (along with other microorganisms, like odor-causing bacteria). To correctly perform this form of treatment, mix apple cider vinegar with an equal amount of water in a basin. Soak the affected foot (or feet) in the solution for about thirty minutes.
- Baking soda. Baking soda is a versatile product. In addition to treating the fungal infection, it can also help with neutralizing foot odor. To use baking soda correctly as a treatment for toenail fungus, start by mixing a half-cup of it—along with a half-cup of Epsom salt and a quarter-cup of hydrogen peroxide (3%)—in four cups of hot water. After mixing those ingredients, add a quarter-cup of white vinegar and then soak your feet in the solution for about ten minutes. When you’re done, rinse off your feet with clean water and dry them completely.
- Tea tree oil. This essential oil contains both antifungal and antiseptic properties. To use this for treating a fungal nail condition, start by mixing a few drops of tea tree oil with a teaspoon of either coconut oil or olive oil. Apply this mixture to any infected toenails with a cotton ball. After letting it sit for about ten minutes, gently scrub the treated nails with a clean toothbrush. For optimal results, repeat the process two or three times a day.
Home care is a good starting point, but there is certainly a chance you will benefit from professional treatment. In these cases, you may need:
- Topical medication. More commonly used for mild infections, topical medications include creams, lotions, powders, sprays, and nail lacquers. These topical solutions attack the fungus from the outside in, which means they might not be able to reach fungus residing under infected nails.
- Oral medication. Sometimes, we prescribe pills which deliver antifungal medication via the bloodstream. This can reach the fungus topical medications cannot, but may come with side effects.
An important consideration with all types of toenail fungus treatment is the fact you have a role to play as well. We can put together the plan, but it is up to you to follow the directions for consistent use of medication and taking measures—keeping feet dry and clean, trimming toenails properly, protecting feet in public areas—to prevent reinfection.
As with most lower limb conditions and issues, it’s best to treat fungal toenails early for optimal results (especially because the infection can be rather stubborn). You don’t have to live with embarrassment or be self-conscious because of unsightly nails. Instead, come see us here at the office of Yuko Miyazaki, DPM.! We will work with you to restore your toenails back to their healthy, clear selves.
In the event you, or one of your loved ones, have a fungal toenail infection, simply contact us online or call (510) 647-3744 to request your appointment.