That awful itching and burning, the pain, the unsightliness… Nail and foot fungus isn't pretty or comfortable.
But, what can you do about it?
Once you know what you have, a few home remedies can work to help you overcome this problem and maybe prevent it from coming back in the future.
What Is Nail Fungus?
It's rather a common condition affecting your fingernails and toenails. Nearly half of all people will have nail fungus at some point in their lives.
Onychomycosis, as the doctors call it, is the fungus under your nails. Tinea Petis, or athlete's foot, infects the areas between your toes.
You might have noticed your nails getting dry and brittle, white marks moving down through the nail. That's the fungus. In nasty infections, the nail can become thick and distorted.
Athlete's foot will give off a particularly foul odor and cause redness and burning.
It's not fun, but it is treatable.
How Did I Get This Fungus?
Most of the time, you probably won't know exactly where you got it from. But, you could probably guess. Damp, communal areas such as swimming pools, gyms, and locker rooms usually carry some form of fungal issue.
But, your own health can determine whether you can fight it off or not. People who have reduced blood flow into their extremities, sweat heavily, have minor skin injuries near the nail, or diabetes risk tends to have nail fungus more often.
Keeping your feet clean and off damp surfaces that others may walk on is one of the best ways to avoid picking up the fungus unintentionally.
See Your Doctor First – Nail Fungus Could Be Part of a Bigger Problem
Most of the time, nail fungus is a nuisance, something easily treatable and benign. But, in some instances, it can be a big problem.
For people who have low circulation or diabetes risk, nail fungus can turn into serious infections quickly. As part of your regular self-care routine, you should inspect your feet regularly. Taking pictures or making marks on your nail can show if a problem is spreading or changing.
Even if you are diagnosed with nail fungus, it doesn't automatically mean antibiotics or creams to put on your feet. Some natural treatments work just as well for some instances. Even the doctors are recommending more natural therapies.
Basic Nail Fungus Care And Prevention
If you're susceptible to nail fungus, you can take some time to really care for yourself to prevent an outbreak.
- Wash your feet twice per day
- Dry your feet thoroughly
- Put on clean socks each time you need to wear them
- Clean your foot care tools (clippers, files, etc.) with alcohol before and after each use – especially when you have an outbreak
- Go barefoot more often (but not when you have the fungus or where you could pick it up)
- Eat fewer carbs – it stops feeding the fungus
- Exercise more to bring more blood into your feet
Five Natural Remedies You Probably Already Have In Your Kitchen
After you've been to the doctor, you can try these natural remedies. They're not guaranteed to work, as certain ones work better on different types of fungus. But, it can be a good start.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Fungus thrives in moist, alkaline environments. Apple cider vinegar, particularly the acetic acid in it, tends to dry things out and drop the pH to a level the fungus can't stand.
Generally, you can add one cup of vinegar to one gallon of water and soak your feet in that bath for approximately 20 minutes. Many people report mild cases go away in about two weeks.
Where the vinegar is acidic, baking soda is extremely alkaline, far too alkaline for fungus to survive. Baking soda baths are a great way to help soften the skin on your feet and exfoliate.
Baking soda can be used in your socks to help wick away moisture and provide odor control.
Black tea contains tannins, which increase acidity and are incredibly astringent. Many forms of bacteria, viruses, and fungus wither when exposed to tannins.
After enjoying a nice cup of black tea, you can place the tea bag on the nail that's infected. Be sure to wash and dry your foot well afterward.
Oxygen is the giver of life, but too much of it is a destroyer. Soaking in a dilution of hydrogen peroxide exposes your feet to an extremely oxygen-rich environment, destroying the fungus. Fortunately, our skin protects us from the oxygen.
Make up a foot bath of one-half hydrogen peroxide and one-half plain water. Soak your feet for about 20 minutes, then wash and dry well.
The allicin in garlic is exceptionally toxic to bacterial life. Garlic is highly beneficial to us but destroys fungus. This one we recommend you eat. A few cloves of fresh garlic diced up can help put allicin through your system and help your body to eliminate the fungus from within. If you have bleeding issues or are on blood thinners, don't use this recommendation, as it can cause an adverse reaction.
We hope you try some of these recipes and share with your friends so they can benefit from natural remedies as well.