Lifestyle and home remedies

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Often, you can take care of a fungal nail infection at home:

  • Try over-the-counter antifungal nail creams and ointments. Several products are available. If you notice white markings on the surface of the nail, file them off, soak your nails in water, dry them, and apply the medicated cream or lotion.

    If you have athlete's foot as well as nail fungus, treat the athlete's foot with medicated powders or sprays and keep your feet clean and dry.

  • Apply Vicks VapoRub. Many people have had success with Vicks VapoRub. One study of 18 patients showed that 56 percent had partial improvement of signs and symptoms, and 17 percent saw no improvement. To use this method, apply a small amount of the product daily with a cotton swab.
  • Trim and thin the nails. This helps reduce pain by reducing pressure on the nails. Also, if you do this before applying an antifungal, the drug can reach deeper layers of the nail.

    Before trimming or using a nail file to thin thick nails, soften them. You can do this with the following nightly routine: Apply urea cream to affected nails, cover them with a bandage, and wash off the urea with soap and water in the morning. Repeat until the nails soften. Protect the skin around your nails with petroleum jelly.

    If you have a condition that causes poor blood flow to your feet and you can't trim your nails, see a health care provider regularly to have your nails trimmed.

July 21, 2015