Foot Hygiene – Cleaning, Care and Treating Toenail Fungus

Toenail fungus might be one of the most irritating fungal infections around. The affliction cannot be cured by simple creams. You cannot really see where the fungus is. All you see are the effects on your nails.

Anatomy of toenail fungus

What happens to the toenails when brittle nail fungus comes in? The problem with this fungal infection is that it is nearly undetectable the first few weeks.

The first few weeks are vital in the treatment of all fungal infections. Remember that fungi operate through tissue colonization. Fungi establish and settle at a particular area.

What exactly does fungus do? First, the spores in the air or the live fungal matter find the perfect conditions for colonization. Usually it requires dark, moist and uncovered spots to thrive. The human feet satisfy all these requirements.

The human feet are often in the dark (in shoes). The feet are also almost always moist (sweat as a natural byproduct of the skin). Often the feet are also uncovered (taking a bath in public baths or walking in saunas).

We see now how seemingly innocent activities can lead to toenail fungus. Medical science teaches us that the enemy of fungi is dryness. However, how do you make the nail plates dry?

The truth is, you cannot make the nail plates or the human feet very dry for any one time. The skin is continuously producing moisture, either through sweat or natural oils.

A note on footwear

What you wear on your feet can either save your feet or plunge your pair into fungi purgatory. Just as we require clean and dry clothes, always wear dry footwear.

If you can, stick to sandals if you already have brittle nail fungus. Avoid shoes at all cost. Avoid thick socks and old rubber shoes too. These are hotbeds of fungus.

The point of prevention is to prevent the affliction from appearing by making the conditions unfit for the problem. The easiest way to evaluate any bad habits is by observing your daily routine.

Now, if you think all your footwear would not help, try buying a new pair of shoes or a new pair of open sandals. Remember that you need open air as well. Keep your feet dry and on open air. Do not use public baths.

Cleaning is also important. Using an old toothbrush and bath gel can be a great bath time habit. Use the brush to clean your nails, especially the undersides.

Make sure that after you clean the nails that you dry your feet completely with a towel. The towel should be exposed to heat after use.

Home treatment

If you want a home remedy that is light on the pocket and does not require much time, use Listerine or other alcohol-based mouthwash products.

Soak your affected toenails for 30 minutes to about an hour everyday. The alcohol in the mouthwash draws out excess moisture and kills the fungi.

Soaking is your best option in home treatment. The nails will soften and will allow the active ingredient in the mouthwash to penetrate the affected parts of the nail plate.