It’s the monsoon, and we know that mushrooms love humidity! Fungal infections can appear anywhere. Even your nails are not spared. In fact, research published by the National Library of Medicine found that fungal infections are believed to be the cause of 50% of nail ailments in people seen by dermatologists. Also, by researching what kills toenail fungus fast online, we can say for sure that it is a problem that bothers a lot of people. There are many home remedies for toenail fungus. Soaking feet in vinegar is one, but people often don’t know what to use: white vinegar or apple cider vinegar for toenail fungus!
To help you decide, Health Shots consulted Dr. Vaishali Lokhande, Internal Medicine Consultant, Apollo Hospitals, Navi Mumbai.
What is toenail fungus?
Toenail fungus is technically called onychomycosis and is a common fungal infection that affects toenails, says Dr. Lokhande. Different types of fungi such as dermatophytes, yeasts and molds cause this infection. It’s not pretty because it usually starts at the edge or base of the nail and gradually spreads, resulting in thickening, discoloration, brittleness, and sometimes a foul odor.
Causes of toenail fungus
The most obvious cause is poor hygiene. If you don’t keep your feet clean and dry, wear dirty or sweaty socks, and use dirty shoes, all of these can create a comfortable environment for fungal growth. Toenail fungus can be caused by several factors. Let’s check them!
1. Fungal overgrowth
Fungi thrive in warm, humid environments, such as public swimming pools, gymnasiums, and showers. Walking barefoot in these areas can increase the risk of fungal infection, says Dr. Lokhande.
2. Damaged nails
Injuries or trauma to the toenails, such as cracks or separation from the nail bed, can allow fungus to enter and cause infection.
3. Weakened immune system
Certain medical conditions such as diabetes, HIV/AIDS and immunodeficiency disorders can weaken the immune system and make people more susceptible to fungal infections.
Read also : Diabetes and fungal infections: discover the link
White vinegar as a treatment for toenail fungus
White vinegar has often been suggested as a home remedy to help manage toenail fungus due to its acidic properties. They can create an unfavorable environment for fungi.
Here’s how to use it:
• Mix equal parts white vinegar and lukewarm water in a bathtub.
• Soak the affected foot(s) in the solution for 15-20 minutes.
• After soaking, dry your feet properly, including your nails.
The expert suggests doing this once or twice a day for several weeks or until improvement is seen.
Apple cider vinegar for toenail fungus
Apple cider vinegar is another popular home remedy for treating toenail fungus. Like white vinegar, it has antifungal properties.
Here’s how to use it:
• Take some apple cider vinegar and dilute it with an equal amount of lukewarm water.
• Soak the affected foot(s) in it for 15 to 20 minutes.
• Dry your feet thoroughly.
Repeat this process once or twice a day for several weeks.
White vinegar or apple cider vinegar to kill toenail fungus
White vinegar and apple cider vinegar have been suggested as home remedies for toenail fungus, but there is no clear scientific evidence to show one is superior to the other, says the expert. The acidic nature of both vinegars could create an inhospitable environment for fungi. Some people may have personal preferences or anecdotal experiences with one type of vinegar over another, but it’s important to remember that these remedies may not work for everyone. The expert claims that vinegar can facilitate therapy, but it is not a complete treatment on its own.
Ways to treat toenail fungus
Over-the-counter antifungal creams, ointments, or nail polish containing ingredients such as clotrimazole, terbinafine, or ciclopirox are readily available. They can be applied directly to the affected nails. Here are other ways to treat toenail fungus:
1. Oral antifungal medications
For more severe or widespread nail fungus, oral antifungal medications may be prescribed. Medications like terbinafine and itraconazole need to be taken for several weeks or months, the expert explains. They help eliminate the infection as a new nail growth replaces the infected one.
2. Surgical or procedural interventions
If the toenail fungus is particularly stubborn or causes significant nail deformity or discomfort, your doctor may recommend surgical or procedural intervention. This may involve partial or complete removal of the affected nail, laser treatment, or photodynamic therapy. These treatments aim to remove the infected nail and allow the growth of a healthy nail.
It is better to take preventive measures even after the end of treatment so that you do not have to deal with toenail fungus again. This means keeping your feet clean and dry, changing your socks regularly, wearing well-ventilated shoes and avoiding going barefoot in public places.