Self-management

Lifestyle and home remedies

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 surfaces of the nails, file them off, soak your nails in water, dry them, and apply the medicated cream or lotion.
  • 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 with urea-containing creams. 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.

Prevention

The following habits can help prevent nail fungus or reinfections and athlete's foot, which can lead to nail fungus:

  • Wash your hands and feet regularly. Wash your hands after touching an infected nail. Moisturize your nails after washing.
  • Trim nails straight across, smooth the edges with a file and file down thickened areas. Disinfect your nail clippers after each use.
  • Wear sweat-absorbing socks or change your socks throughout the day.
  • Choose shoes made of materials that breathe.
  • Discard old shoes or treat them with disinfectants or antifungal powders.
  • Wear footwear in pool areas and locker rooms.
  • Choose a nail salon that uses sterilized manicure tools for each customer.
  • Give up nail polish and artificial nails.
July 26, 2017
References
  1. Onychomycosis. Merck Manual Professional Version. https://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/dermatologic-disorders/nail-disorders/onychomycosis. Accessed May 15, 2017.
  2. Goldstein AO, et al. Onychomycosis: Management. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed May 15, 2017.
  3. Toenail fungus. American Podiatric Medical Association. http://www.apma.org/Learn/FootHealth.cfm?ItemNumber=1523. Accessed May 15, 2017.
  4. Varade RS, et al. Cutaneous fungal infections in the elderly. Clinics in Geriatric Medicine. 2013;29:461.
  5. Gupta AK, et al. Improved efficacy in onychomycosis therapy. Clinics in Dermatology. 2013;31:555.
  6. Westerberg DP, et al. Onychomycosis: Current trends in diagnosis and treatment. American Family Physician. 2013;88:762.
  7. AskMayoExpert. Fungal nail infection (onychomycosis). Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2017.
  8. Nail care. Natural Medicines. https://naturalmedicines.therapeuticresearch.com/databases/medical-conditions/n/nail-care.aspx. Accessed May 17, 2017.
  9. Gibson LE (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. June 6, 2017.