Updated: Sep 17, 2019
Being a guru of fixing stinky shoes, I get a lot of folks who share their foot problems with me. While I am not a podiatrist, I have spent a lot of time dealing with my own foot problems, so I like to share what I have learned over the years.
Just the other day I ran into a friend who mentioned they caught some toenail fungus. She believes she got it from her husband while sleeping in the same bed and touching toes. Sure, it took a few years, but inevitably it latched onto her toe nails. Doh!
There are prescription remedies you can only get when you visit a podiatrist. I have used both oral and topical drugs, with the oral being quite effective. The side effect of oral remedies is damage to the liver, and most doctors will avoid prescribing oral remedies if you've already taken it once before. Yes this happened to me. So I agreed and limit my liver damage to wine drinking.
Over the Counter Options
There are numerous over the counter lotions and solutions targeted at fighting toe nail fungus, but to be honest, none of them gave me any noticeable results, and I used them as directed. In fact, I felt like it got worse over time.
What I have had luck with is essential oils. You are probably thinking Tea Tree oil, but I prefer Thyme oil and Oregano oil as they are known to be very effective antifungals. You have to be careful with these when they are concentrated as they will burn your skin. These oils must be diluted to be both effective and safe.
A solution of 10% Thyme or Oregano oil in a carrier oil, such as grapeseed oil or even olive oil, should suffice. As far as how much and how often, you will find a variety of recommendations on the internet with a common one being daily application for 2 weeks. I did this, but found that it really dried out my skin and nails.
My recommendation is to apply the 10% solution after a shower where you have scrubbed your toes with a scrub brush to remove any dead skin on and around the nails. I typically put the solution on my toes using a cotton swabbed then wait 15 minutes for the solution to soak in. Then I apply a clear topcoat or even a colored nail polish onto the toe nails. It takes about 6-9 months for toenails infected with fungus to grow out. So I do this regimen again when I see about 2 mm of new toenail grown in, which is super easy to see if you use a colored nail polish. In about 9 months my toes nails looked 90% better. At this point, I lay off the oil and use an oil based moisturizer on my toes and nails on a daily basis.
Throw away all your shoes!?
Yes, that is what my podiatrist told me before starting any treatments. She said that the toe nail fungus is inside my shoes and the liners of my shoes and every time I wear them, the fungus will try to reinfect my feet. So the most effective thing to do is throw them all away. For most of us, this isn't really an option as that would be $100's if not $1000's of dollars going into the garbage and then having to replace them all!
I found it very difficult to part with all my shoes, which is why I developed Shoe Defenders. They help keep the microbes in my shoes at bay and help prevent reinfection. They use a special blend of antifungal essential oils, including thyme and oregano. Shoe Defenders also dry out shoes fast, making it hard for shoe odor and foot fungus causing microbes to live.
If these remedies are not enough to help you with your toe nail fungus problem, stay tuned and in the next blog we will offer up a few more suggestions to help you out.