One day I looked down at my toes and noticed something yukky about one of my nails. “Eeeuw,” I thought, ” could that be a toenail fungus?”
If you see something like this on one of your toenails you might (like me) start searching online for information about ‘nail fungus treatment over the counter’.
During my search, I also found out what causes nail fungus and how best to prevent it, and found (for me) the best over the counter solution I could buy to get rid of it.
For the best advice seek professional help. Obviously, the wise course of action is to visit your Doctor. You could also ask your pharmacist, or otherwise try one of the online nail fungus treatments – if you are sure it’s a nail fungus.
Toenail fungal infection
If you’ve noticed that one, or more, of your toenails looks thickened or yellow and is cracked, you could have a fungus.
When I first noticed I had a toenail fungus it was already quite pronounced – the thing was I’d been wearing nail varnish for about two months, and (naughty) I’d just kept touching it up, so I didn’t notice the toenail fungus had taken hold until I removed the nail varnish and saw that the infection had set in.
I was horrified to see the state of my two big toenails! So horrified in fact that I didn’t take a photograph until about a month after starting treatment. Firstly I didn’t believe that an over the counter fungus treatment would work, and secondly I just thought, “Yuk!”
Then I got busy learning more, as well as looking around for the best nail fungus treatment over the counter I could find.
What does nail fungus look like?
To begin with you might not notice anything. But if you look closely you might notice some signs of nail fungus such as white or yellow streaks on the nail, or the top of the nail might start to look more brittle or thicker and start to crumble in places. There might be flaking, there might be white areas on the surface of the nail, or you might notice yellow spots and discoloured yellow patches on the nail.
Embarassing confession …
This is what my big toes looked like about a month after starting the toenail fungus treatment. Already there was an improvement as to how they looked at the beginning, and I had chopped the worst of the nails off already!
These pictures show how they improved over time with daily treatment and regular trimming.
It took about 7 months for them to look just about normal again.
How to get rid of toenail fungus
Going to see your doctor is the best and most sensible route and I recommend it to everyone as the first course of action if you notice anything odd about your nails.
Nail fungus treatment over the counter
However, after looking at options online, I decided to go to a pharmacist for advice. She suggested, an over the counter medication which I had to paint onto the infected nails once a day.
As I said, I didn’t think nail fungus treatment over the counter would work because by then I’d done some research, and also the pharmacist advised me that I should go to see my doctor if I didn’t start to see an improvement soon.
It took about a month for me to see an improvement, and about 7 months for the toenail fungus to clear. I was very careful at home so that I didn’t infect anyone else, and I didn’t go for a manicure or pedicure for about a year, because that was the length of time I was instructed to use the over the counter medication – and I did keep on using it for a year.
What is Fungus?
I’ve learnt that Fungi occur inside and on our bodies with other bacteria but when a fungus begins to overgrow you can get an infection. A fungal infection normally develops over a period of time, so you might not notice it at first.
What causes toenail fungus?
Toenails are more prone to nail fungus because they are generally confined in socks and shoes which provide a moist, warm environment – an ideal situation for fungus.
Older people are more likely to get fungal nail infection because they may have poorer circulation, and their nails grow slower as they get older, and nails also thicken as we age.
Who’s most at risk of developing toenail fungus?
Chatting to people and researching online I found out that you’re more likely to develop a toenail infection if you have poor circulation, if you have diabetes, if you’re over 65 years old, if you swim in public swimming pools or use public showers, if you wear artificial nails all the time, if your feet are moist for long periods of time.
Sportspeople such as runners may have an increased risk of getting a toenail fungal infection because they can do damage to their nails, and damage to the nail provides a chance for infection to get under the toenail. Also their feet are subject to warm moist conditions as they are confined to running shoes for long period of time.
In the course of my research I found out that toenail fungus can potentially spread, so if other family members have it, you could get it too. If you come into contact with someone else who has it, it could spread to you.
How do you get Toenail fungus?
I’ve been told that sporting venues such as swimming pools and gym showers may contain organisms that can contribute to fungal nail infections.
Other factors could include wearing tight shoes, injury to the nail, advancing age and pre-existing medical conditions. Early treatment of a fungal nail infection is important so that the condition does not progress and cause pain and discomfort.
How do I know my nail is infected?
Nails can become infected with other infections, so my advice would be to first confirm if you really do have a nail fungus – visit your doctor who will probably take a scraping of the nail, which may be sent away for identification.
The infected nail might look yellowish-brown. Fungal-infected nails might become thicker and crumble at the tip, and may cause pain when wearing shoes.
Best over the counter toenail fungus treatment for me
I found an over the counter toenail fungus treatment by asking my pharmacist what was the best over the counter toenail fungus treatment for me. I bought this brand from a pharmacy on the advice of a pharmacist.
I believe it cured my toenail fungus – but it took about 7 months, and the advice I received was to continue with the treatment for a year, which I did – and so far the fungus hasn’t come back.
Some people say that topical solutions aren’t effective for getting rid of toenail fungal infections. However, I followed the instructions and used the topical ointment on my nails for 12 months in total and I believe my fungal infection has been cured.
Making a few simple lifestyle changes can help prevent a fungal infection of the nails. Taking good care of your nails by keeping them well trimmed and clean is also apparently helpful in preventing infections. You should also avoid injuring the skin around your nails.
Look after your feet and nails!
How to prevent nail fungal infections
Having had a toenail fungal infection, here’s what I’ve found out to help you prevent getting one …
- Pay attention to your nails and keep them clean and well trimmed.
- Don’t allow your nails to be moist or damp for long periods of time.
- Buy an anti-fungal spray or an anti-fungal powder to use if you do a lot of sport and your feet are hot and moist in trainers for a lot of time.
- If your toenails are already infected with a fungus then wash your hands with an anti fungal soap after touching or treating them.
- When you shower or swim make sure you dry between your toes, as well as all around your foot
- Don’t go to dodgy nail salons for manis and pedis. Go to a respected beauty salon where they sterilise the equipment they use, or use your own items for manicures or pedicures – manicure and pedicure kit.
- Buy moisture minimising socks,
- Do wear shoes in public places – such as communal showers and around swimming pools. Take a pair of cheap flip flops with you perhaps.
- Don’t wear artificial nails, or nail polish all the time.
Top Tip: These days, when I go for a manicure or a pedicure at a nail salon I make sure that the staff disinfect and sterilise their tools. Don’t be afraid to ask. I do! Nail clippers, emery boards and other manicure and pedicure equipment can spread fungal infections from client to client if they are not sanitised between treatments.
Natural remedies to treat toenail fungus
Although the best course of action is to see a doctor and get professionally diagnosed, some people prefer to go the more alternative route and seek out more natural medication.
You could look into some of the natural remedies, listed below, which are suggested by some as an alternative way to treat toenail fungus …
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- Olive Leaf Extract
- Tea Trea Oil
- Orange Oil
- Baking Soda and Sodium Borate
- Coconut Oil
- Lavendar Oil
- Oregano Oil
Is a fungal infection difficult to cure?
Sometimes toenail fungal infections can be difficult to cure. Whatever treatment you use must be used correctly and for the prescribed time. Doctors may prescribe oral treatment.
Best over the counter nail fungus treatment to look for
Toenail fungus medication you buy over the counter might be an antifungal nail lacquer, a solution which can be brushed onto the nail in the same way you’d apply nail varnish.
Check out the reviews before you buy and see what results other people have had.
Your first round of medication may not work, and the nail infection is not really cured until you can see new nail growth that remains healthy and doesn’t show any new signs of infection.
Nail infections can re-occur, so be on the look out for any discolouration of your nails, and practice good hygiene in the meantime.
I’ve read that if left to get worse complications can set in which could result in the loss of the nail, or spread of the infection to other areas of the body.
N.B. As with all medical conditions, and queries you may have about fungal nail infections it’s best to see you doctor before you decide to self medicate. I’ve read that if you have diabetes and a nail infection it’s even more important to consult your doctor.
Risk factors for developing a toenail fungus infection
From the reading I’ve done I found out there are several factors that may increase the risk of developing a fungal nail infection, which can include.
- poor circulation
- being elderly
- wearing footwear that is closed-in and has poor ventilation
- working in a humid or moist environment
- swimming pools
- repeated nail trauma
There’s no need to suffer in silence. The best thing to do is to visit your Doctor or health professional if you suspect you have a nail fungus.
When I found out I had toenail fungus I researched both on, and offline for information. During the writing of this article I also found the following sites helpful.
Disclaimer: This article is written about my own personal experience and is meant to be helpful in a general way. I am not a health professional and you should see a Doctor for advice concerning your nails and your general health rather than relying on my situation and the treatments I choose. I link to various websites in this post that I hope you find helpful, but I am not responsible for the advice or medications and solutions they offer. Lifestyle Fifty Website is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.