Green Toenails Fungus Primer
While unsightly, often embarrassing, and occasionally painful, toenail fungus is not at all uncommon. In fact, 25% of all adults will have been infected with one type of toenail fungus or another in their mid forties. One of the most common side effects of toenail fungus is a green toenail, which can be alarming. It’s not every day that someone compliments your feet for being particularly festive around Christmas.
You should make an appointment with your doctor if you notice anything out of the ordinary, especially in terms of coloration of the toenails, as discoloration can point to more serious underlying health issues, like melanoma. Once a doctor has diagnosed you with a fungal infection, you have one of two options.
- The first is prescription medication, an antifungal, much like an antibiotic, which combats the infection and helps you control the spread as you continue home care.
- The second is skipping the antifungal oral medication and going straight to the home care, as antifungal medication is not only expensive, but extremely taxing on the liver. Prescription medication should always be your last option.
With or without medication, your doctor will send you off with follow-up instructions. Here are some:
Try a baking soda soak. Fill a basin with warm water and baking soda. You don’t need a lot of baking soda, just enough to soften the water, as it softens the foot and affords water the opportunity to seep into the pores more quickly. Do this three times a day. After each soak, dry your foot thoroughly. Fungus enjoys warm, moist areas, and can spread quickly. Keeping your feet dry prohibits the fungus from spreading through moisture, if not contact, so be diligent about this.
After the morning soak, make a paste of equal parts lemon juice and baking soda, and rub it on the affected areas, leaving it to dry. This dries out the fungus and the surrounding areas, making it more difficult for the fungus to spread and affect other toes. Unless you notice pus, redness or swelling, avoid antibiotic ointments.
Over-the-counter antifungal ointments, on the other hand, can be very useful. In fact, they are the most effective treatment for nail fungus available to the public. Ointments usually come in a bottle with a little brush, so you can paint it on the affected areas like nail polish. Most ointments call for application three times daily, ideally right after a soak, though it’s important to dry the affected areas and the surrounding areas extremely well before applying the ointment.
If you don’t notice a significant change within a few months, follow up with your doctor for additional measures to control spread and to fight the infection. Left unaddressed, foot fungus can lead to tetanus, among other things.
For more information about properly identifying toenail fungus, consult our guide for details or make a selection after reading reviews of some common topical ointment suggestions.