What are Your Options for Treating Toenail Fungus?

Mar 11, 2023

As your first line of defense, your skin and nails are vital to protect you from foreign invaders. Well-kept toenails contribute more to healthy feet than just good looks. Toenails are susceptible to fungal infections which may not always be life-threatening but are stubborn infections that do not usually go away on their own. 

With proper diagnosis and treatment, we can treat your toenail fungus so that your toenails become healthy again.

What is Toenail Fungus?

When fungus attacks your toenails, you can catch a toenail fungus infection also called “onychomycosis.” A condition commonly referred to as “tinea unguium” is the most common type of toenail fungus infection. Toenail fungus may affect about 14% of the general population or about one in ten people but it affects almost 50%, one in two people aged over 70.

The earliest symptoms appear as white streaks or spots, these subtle signs are the initial indicators. Treating these in the beginning stages is the best way to avoid the more advanced symptoms that target the whole nail or spread to other nails.

There are typical symptoms of fungal nail infections that you must know 

  • Discolored nails, mostly yellow, white, and brown
  • Cloudy or chalkiness in some areas of the nail
  • Thickened nails, that appear to have more layers
  • Weakened or brittle nails often cause crumbling of the outer nail layer 
  • Uneven or jagged appearance giving the effect of a misshapen nail plate
  • Foul smell in very rare cases

In most cases, the fungus that causes toenail infections (tinea unguium) is a dermatophyte that uses the keratin in your nails to grow and spread the infection. Keratin in your nails is vital in nail hardening hence the brittleness of your nails once the infection occurs. Other than this particular dermatophyte many other types of fungi may also cause toenail infections.

Nails with toenail fungus needing treatment

How to Get Rid of Toenail Fungus

The best way to get rid of your toenail fungus is by contacting one of our offices to evaluate your symptoms. Every case may be different, so getting your assessment is the best way to ensure you get the best treatment. Treatments will vary depending on the symptoms and seriousness of the infection.

Home Remedies and Over-the-Counter Medication

Treating toenail infections at home may ease the visible symptoms in minor cases of infection where the infection is still in its initial stages. Following a daily routine of cleaning over many months may help subdue the mild infection for some time.

Filing the white spots or streaks on the nails, and applying an over-the-counter (OTC) antifungal agent can be done as home remedies. In such cases, it is often observed that even the best OTC treatments do not stop the infection, ultimately causing the infection to reoccur sooner or later.

Professional Options

There is no better option than choosing to seek professional medical help and we are skilled and experienced to provide the best treatment to help you. In treating toenail infections, we could use three approaches to treating the infection, either the tropical method or the oral method, or a combination of both methods for best results.


This treatment approach involves applying medication to the affected area, that is your infected toenail. In mild cases, this approach may work as it helps prevent new fungus from growing further to worsen the infection. Since toenails take 12-18 months to grow out, you may notice that it seems like a long wait. It is important to note that the tropical medication prescribed must be used exactly as directed by our doctors.

Four US Food and Drug Administration (US FDA) approved drugs for nail fungus are Tavaborole, Efinaconazole, Ciclopirox, and Amorolfine.


For a more severe infection, our doctors may prescribe antifungal medicines that you should take orally, these medicines are slightly more effective as they work faster than just tropical treatments. An oral regimen for about three months can treat fungal toenail infections.

Four US FDA-approved antifungal oral medicines for nail fungus commonly prescribed by doctors are Terbinafine, Itraconazole, Griseofulvin, and Fluconazole.

Our doctors will monitor you as you take the medication and also order monthly blood tests as the medication may have some side effects.

Feet by pool with nails following treating toenail fungus

Combination of Tropical and Oral

Although you see symptoms on the nail, you must know that upon infection, the fungus lives in the layer underneath the toenail. Also, note that toenails take more time to grow out as compared to fingernails which grow in four to six months. Hence research has shown that a combination of tropical and oral treatments is best for fungal nail infections.

The study done by Sugiura et al., says that a combination method works best because anti-fungal agents are working directly to treat the nail in addition to the oral antifungal treatments that also act on the nail fungus. Thus, the type of synergistic antifungal effect and the dispersion of two antifungals at the right concentration is a perfect way to deliver effective and faster treatment.

When to Get Professional Help From Us?

Contact us as soon as you notice a persistent problem that includes symptoms such as discoloration, brittleness, and thickened or misshapen nails you must get help. As you now understand the obstinate nature of toenail fungus, the treatment may take time and so, the earlier you get help the better it will be to get easily treated faster.

In rare cases, untreated fungal infections can lead to developing athlete’s foot or even more serious problems such as cellulitis which is a bacterial infection needing antibiotics. 

Contact Us Today

If you’re worried about toenail fungus, if you’ve tried home remedies, and everything else that doesn’t seem to help, please reach out to us. Our podiatrists are here for you! We specialize in treating nail and skin conditions such as toenail fungus to restore them back to health. We’re here for you if you need treatment, helpful advice, or any kind of support.

Contact us to book your appointment, and let us alleviate your worries. You’ll have no more toenail fungus, only beautiful healthy nails and a happy you.