Are your toenails brittle, have a yellow-green, brown or black discoloration, and deformed? Well, if that’s so, you might be suffering from a condition known as toenail fungus. This is an infection often caused by overgrown fungus found inside your body. At the early stages of the infection, it may be difficult to notice it at first since the infection might be too subtle. Normally, fungal infections develop over time, and before symptoms are dire, it means the condition has been progressing for a while. Toenail fungus, also known as tinea unguium, develops in, under or on the nail itself. It is more common compared to fingernail fungus because most of the times your feet are in shoes or socks, which can provide a warm, moist environment, where fungus normally thrives. 
What Is The Most Effective Treatment For Toenail Fungus?
There are various fungal infections and other diseases can mimic characteristic of toenail fungus. Therefore, if you suspect any fungal infection on your toenails, visit a doctor for diagnosis, which will be useful in defining the best treatment for your condition. It can take weeks or months for toenail fungus to be fully cured. Nonetheless, repeat infections are common, even when the condition seems to be improving. So, a patient needs to faithfully follow treatment until the condition has cleared completely.
Toenail fungus can be treated with prescribed medication, over-the-counter drugs as well as antifungal creams and ointments. Depending on the severity of the infection, various approaches may be applied for better results. Oral antifungal drugs used to treat toenail fungus include; terbinafine (Lamisil), and itraconazole (Sporanox). These medication work by slowly replacing the infected nail and promotes growth of a new, healthy nail. Common side effects of these drugs are skin rashes and even liver damage, especially in patients with liver disease or with congestive heart failure.
To supplement the prescribed drugs, one may also use medicated antifungal nail cream or polish. The cream is best used on nails that have been thinned, which you can do by trimming and removing any debride from underneath and surface of the nail. This will help the cream get through the thickened, hard nail surface and into the areas where the fungus maybe hiding. A commonly prescribed antifungal nail polish is ciclopirox (Penlac), which you apply on the affected nails and surrounding skin daily. After a week, you can clean up the polish, clean your nails with alcohol and reapply it afresh. In cases where toenail fungus is severe and is resistant to medication, the doctor may suggest removal of the nail, through surgery. Then, application of antifungal cream can be done directly underneath the nail, where the fungus is growing. 
Home Remedies For Toenail Fungus
Toenail fungus can also be improved by using home remedies such as change in diet and use of vinegar among other substances with antifungal properties. Some of the best home remedies for toenail fungus include; baking soda, vinegar, garlic, snakeroot extract, mentholated topical ointment, and use of essential oils including tea tree oil and coconut oil. With baking soda and vinegar, you can create a bath where you soak your feat or a salve you can apply on affected toe areas. Garlic can be eaten raw or chopped and directly applied on affected nail. Snakeroot belongs to the same family as sunflower and is known to contain antifungal properties. You can apply the snakeroot extract on your toenails several times a week. Similarly, the essential oils can be applied directly on your tails several times a week. 
Treatment of toenail fungus can also be tackled by observing what foods one eats. First things first, one would need to cut off any foods that feed the fungus such as foods and drinks with sugar and yeast. Then, you’d need to eat foods that support growth of good bacteria. Such foods include sauerkraut, kimchi and probiotic foods including kombucha, kefir and yogurt. A food group that you need to avoid is grains, because most of them contain sugars and others have yeast, which support growth of fungus.
On the other hand, you should consume foods rich in fiber and proteins such as grass-fed meet, cage-free eggs, unpasteurized dairy and even wild-caught fish. Other foods you should include in your diet with antifungal and antibacterial properties are turmeric, cinnamon, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, cranberry juice and coconut oil. 
The most effective treatment for toenail fungus will depend on the severity of the infection and the extent to which the toenail has been infected. In mild and moderate cases, oral medication and application of antifungal cream can clear up the infection. However, in more serious cases, surgery may be required to remove affected nail and make a path for direct application of medication. Alternatively, you can naturally treat toenail fungus with various home remedies and a change of diet, which will help in fighting the fungus and promoting a balance of the good and bacteria in your body.
- Toenail Fungus: Causes, Symptoms, Risk Factors, Treatment, Home Remedies, Complications
- Healing Toenail Fungus With Natural Remedies
- How Ignoring Toenail Fungus Can Be Dangerous?