Besides the cuteness that nails, both toenails and fingernails, add to our overall look, they serve the more important purpose of protecting the soft tissue of the nail bed. Therefore, they are very important parts of the body. Just like other parts of the body, nails face several problems especially as we age. Toenails often face more problems than fingernails. Some of the common toenail problems are discussed below:
1. Toenail fungus
Toenail fungus is the most prominent problem facing the toenail, accounting for about 50 percent of the entire problems facing the toenail. Also known as onychomycosis, toenail fungus is caused by an overgrowth of fungus. It begins as a white or brown spot underneath the tip of the toenail and quickly progresses to cause discoloration, thickening, and crumbling of the nail, leaving the toenails looking ugly, rough, broken, and rickety. Besides this ugliness, toenail fungus can also be very painful. This nail infection spreads very fast as well as easily and is very difficult to treat.
Symptoms of toenail fungus
It is very good to detect toenail fungus on time because early treatment will help to prevent it from spreading to other nails as well as the surrounding skin. It will also make the usually difficult treatment easier. The symptoms include:
- White or brown spot beneath the tip of the nail
- Discoloration of the nail
- Foul odor
- Thickening of the nail and
- Brittle and crumbling nail
Home remedies for nail fungus
The treatment of toenail fungus is not easy, it normally takes a few months for complete cure, yet the reoccurrence rate is alarmingly high. However, when diagnosed early, there are several effective home remedies for toenail fungus. These remedies will not just give you your clear nail back, they will also eliminate fungus from the toenail. Perhaps the greatest benefit of home remedies is that they are without the usual side effects of other treatment options such as medications. The home remedies include:
Tea tree oil
This oil gotten from the ancient Australian tea tree is one of my favorite home remedies for toenail fungus. It is very rich in antifungal and antiseptic properties. It is a proven antifungal agent and is one of the active ingredients in most over-the-counter products for the treatment of toenail fungus. This essential oil contains terpinen-4-ol, a component that fights fungus. To treat toenail fungus with tea tree oil, follow the process below:
- The first step is to dilute tea tree oil because it is a very powerful oil that could cause skin reactions. Dilute it with a carrier oil such as coconut oil.
- Then prepare the affected nail – trim the nail especially the infected part, wash the debris off thoroughly, and dry the nail.
- Apply a thin layer of the diluted tea tree oil to the prepared nail and leave it for about five minutes to dry.
This carrier oil is also a very formidable home remedy for toenail fungus, especially when detected on time. Coconut oil is a very popular and easy to get antifungal agent. It works both for the prevention and treatment of toenail fungus. consistent application of coconut oil to the nail bed as well as the surrounding skin will eradicate any trace of the fungus. This may not be as fast as medications but it will surely do the job and is safe, unlike medications.
Garlic is a powerful antifungal and antimicrobial agent. It is used in the treatment of several health challenges including toenail fungus. Its effectiveness in the treatment of toenail fungus is largely accounted for by the presence of allicin which fights on the most harmful component of fungus, tinea pedis.
Other home remedies include hydrogen peroxide, bleach, apple cider vinegar, etc.
Besides the above home remedies, other treatment options for toenail fungus include the use of over-the-counter products, laser treatment, and medications.
2. Curved toenail
A curved toenail is another common issue faced by the toenail fungus. The nail is expected to grow straight and upward but there are times when the nail grows in a rather awkward position, curving inward into the adjacent skin or the nail bed. This is a serious nail problem especially when infection sets in.
3. Toenail Trauma
Toenail trauma is another problem faced by the toenails. It can be caused by wearing tight shoes or hitting the toes against hard objects.
4. Clubbed nails
This happens when the toes look widened and club-like. It often caused by underlying health issues
5. Discoloration of the nail plates
Discoloration of toenails is often not something to worry about. It could be caused by some drugs you are taking or by the substances you come in contact with.
Paying proper attention to toe care is fundamental to the prevention and treatment of toenail problems, hence make it a point of duty.