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The Fungus Among Us

Updated: Jan 12, 2023

Fungal Toenails thick and yellow? Tired of them looking terrible? Read up on helpful suggestions to treat and possibly cure nail fungus.

Discolored and thickened nails are quite common. Here are 6 common situations that can cause thickening and discoloration of nails:

  • Fungus

  • Trauma

  • Yeast

  • Mold

  • Bacteria

  • Inflammatory diseases

Overall, fungus and trauma cover the lion's share of nail discolorations that are seen. So lets look at some tips to help fungal nails.

Tip #1: Keep feet dry!

The #1 most common misconception is that fungus is the root of all problems. This is not always true! Most fungal nail infections begin because retained moisture allows the fungus to grow. Fungus is like a plant - it must have water to grow. If you use a hair dryer on your toes after a shower or bath, you will prevent up to 50% of nail fungus. Athletes foot powder also helps keep your feet dry.

Tip #2 - Keep your feet, shoes, and socks clean!

Use anti-fungal spray in your shoes each month. If you struggle with smelly feet or fungal nails, it would be better to use a spray weekly. Washing socks in hot soapy water is good. If you can use bleach to wash and clean white socks that is even better to kill fungus. Keeping the shower or bath floor clean/dry will also help prevent fungus. When bathing, use tea tree oil-based soap on your feet. Tea tree oil is a natural antifungal.

Tip #3 - Don't be fooled by "anti-fungal" solutions

Over the counter antifungal solutions for nails are not FDA approved! These treatments are known to have the lowest cure rate. If you want to try something off the shelf, I recommend Nonyx. It is not the best, but it can help with moisture control by removing a lot of the built-up keratin under the nail and controlling fungus by keeping the nail drier.

Tip #4 - There is no 100% guarantee!

One of the most frustrating things about nail fungus is that it can be hard to treat - even with someone who is incredibly good at treating nail fungus. Oral antifungals (such as terbinafine) are the best treatment but still have a cure rate of around 80%.

Tip #5 - It is OK to see a physician

Many patients feel silly seeing a primary care doctor or a podiatrist about nail fungus - do not be embarrassed! Stopping the spread of infectious fungus to those around you is important. Some fungi, and sometimes yeast are resistant strains which could be a problem later (one example is candida auris).


Hopefully, you have some promising ideas to get your nail fungus under control. It takes a lot of consistency and discipline to treat... but it can be done! Do you have Questions? Feel free to comment below!

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