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That Unsightly Nail Fungus

Updated on March 17, 2010

Nail Fungus

Nail fungus is a fungal infection that is more common in toe nails than fingernails but can be found in both. It is an unsightly infection that distorts the nail, making it yellow in color and can become very thick and hard to cut, especially on the toe nails.The edges of the nail can also develop a crumbling. The bed underneath the nail can become very painful if bumped as well. Nail fungus is a living organism that lives beneath your nail in the nail bed where it is damp and dark. This is just the way the fungus likes it. The nail becomes the protector of the fungus allowing it to grow and thrive. The nail also makes it almost impossible to treat the fungus. The fungus is very hard to treat and may reoccur after you have gotten rid of it. There are several medications that your doctor can prescribe but there are side effects and you should consult your doctor about these options. There are also over the counter medications you can use such as ointments and creams but Mayo Clinic states they are mostly ineffective. There are also topical medications that your doctor can prescribe. Then there are the home remedies that some people swear by such as using vinegar and Vicks VapoRub. There are people who claim these home methods work. A friend of mine even told me to try soaking my toe in Listerine mouth wash. What have I got to lose. The most drastic way to treat your nail fungus is surgery to remove the infected nail.

Symptoms and Treatment

Symptoms of nail fungus are:

  • Thickening of the nail
  • Brittle or crumbling nails.
  • Distorted shape of the nail.
  • A yellowing or dark coloring of the nail.

When these thing occur on your nail you most likely have a fungus infection. Bumping or stubbing this toe will induce extreme pain, more so than bumping an uninfected toe or nail. Most people who have nail fungus on their toe nails won't go barefoot because the look of the toe nail is so awful.

The treatment of this fungus is difficult because the nail that is infected now becomes the protector of the fungus allowing it to grow and thrive. Also just getting to the infection is difficult because of the nail. So you need to talk to your doctor if you want to take oral medications for this problem. Some of the medication you doctor can prescribe can take up to several months to work and this can cause side effects. I have nail fungus and I don't want to take an oral medication for this problem so I have decided I will first try the home remedies that I have read about. I have recently started to soak my toe in one part vinegar and one part warm water. We shall see if this works. Some people swear by Vicks VapoRub and I am going to be trying that method as well. I am not a barefoot type of person but I don't want to be embarassed by my toes either. I have also heard that using an antibiotic for six months or more could possibly help with this fungus but I don't want to take an antibiotic for that long as it play havoc with your digestive system. So for now I soak in vinegar 2 times a day.


There are some things you can do to help prevent this from happening to your nails.

  • Keep your nail cut short and keep them dry. By keeping your nail short and filing the thick parts helps prevent the fungus from taking hold. Also when you bathe make sure you dry your feet very well, in between you toes as well. Never put on socks until your feet are very dry.
  • Wear Synthetic Socks. Cotton and wool socks don't keep your feet as dry as do synthetic socks that can wick away moisture on your feet. Taking off your shoes also helps to keep your feet dry. If you have sweaty feet change your socks often.
  • Use Antifungal powders in your shoes and on your feet. This will help prevent any fungus taking hold.
  • Don't trim or pick at the skin around your nails. This prevents any damage to your skin where a fungus can gain access to your nail beds.
  • Don't go barefoot in public places. This is where the majority of fungus's are caught.
  • Don't use nail polish on an infected nail. This can cause even more protection to the fungus already living under your nail.
  • Always wash your hands after you have touched an infected nail. Another great way to spread the fungus.

Older people are more susceptible to nail fungus because their nails grow slower and gives the fungus more time to grow while remaining unnoticed and older people often have a thickening of the nail due to age. So take care of your feet and maybe you won't have to deal with this terrible problem that so many of us have to.


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    • fishtiger58 profile image

      fishtiger58 6 years ago from Momence, Illinois

      Thanks for reading my hub greatlove, and no the vinegar didn't work and I haven't tried the tree oil.

    • greatlove profile image

      greatlove 6 years ago from Beaufort, NC

      So did the vinegar work? Did you try the tree oil? Thanks for sharing

    • fishtiger58 profile image

      fishtiger58 7 years ago from Momence, Illinois

      Tea tree oil, hmmmm never heard of it but I will have to give it a try. Thanks so much for viewing my hub 1arnold1.

    • 1arnold1 profile image

      1arnold1 7 years ago from Florida

      hey guys I started blogging today for the first time and this is going to be the third time already when I mention Tea tree oil..get it and I am sure it will get rid of the fungus...It works a little slow and you have to put it on your nails every night but in the morning you will see the results!It works me!

    • fishtiger58 profile image

      fishtiger58 8 years ago from Momence, Illinois

      LOL yup Sandy it is gross and very very hard to get rid of.

    • Sandyspider profile image

      Sandy Mertens 8 years ago from Wisconsin, USA

      I haven't tried the vinegar. I admit getting grossed out with that photo.

    • fishtiger58 profile image

      fishtiger58 8 years ago from Momence, Illinois

      Thanks Patti, yes I would be interested to know if that works.

    • Patti Ann profile image

      Patti Ann 8 years ago from Florida

      My husband has this problem - he is trying Fungi Cure - a liquid that you put on the nail. I'll let you know if it works. Happy New Year to you!!

    • fishtiger58 profile image

      fishtiger58 8 years ago from Momence, Illinois

      Ok I will give that a try today. I will let you know how it works.

    • wyanjen profile image

      Jen King 8 years ago from Wyandotte Michigan

      My research taught me that ACV is used more for home health remedies than white vinegar. I used it to help a wart on my foot, that's why I was curious. :-)

    • fishtiger58 profile image

      fishtiger58 8 years ago from Momence, Illinois

      Right now I am using just white vinegar wyanjen. Do you think it should be apple cider vinegar?? I do know that white vinegar will take lime deposits out of my tea pot so am hoping the vinegar helps with the darn nail fungus.

    • wyanjen profile image

      Jen King 8 years ago from Wyandotte Michigan

      If the vinegar works, that would be wonderful. Are you using apple cider vinegar?

      I'll check in later to see the progress :-)


    • fishtiger58 profile image

      fishtiger58 8 years ago from Momence, Illinois

      Yes for sure mpurcell I will let you know how it works out. I want this mess gone. And no drugs for me.

    • mpurcell10 profile image

      mpurcell10 8 years ago from Arkansas

      I've tried the vinagar and it helps with dried heals but didn't do anything for my nails. I only did once a day for about 2 1/2 weeks. Try longer and please let me know I really hate the way it looks. I don't want to take med either don't like drugs or side effects.