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How do I get my fungus filled toenail healthy again?

Although there will be numerous answers passed around by your friends and neighbors, here is what we know can work:

  • If you want to go the "natural" route, melaleuca (or tea tree) oil is a strong antifungal and antibiotic as is oregano. Both work really well for athlete's foot in 2-4 weeks if applied twice a day. They are notoriously less effective on toenails because of the thickness of the keratin (ie it usually doesn't penetrate the nail and get to the root of the problem because nail fungus usually lives under the nail). This may be an option for you because you have no nail. Note: Lavender will work really well for an injured nail bed, but has no proven anti-bacterial or anti-fungal effectiveness.
  • Oral medications are also valuable. Most nail fungus are the form Trichophytum Rubrum and Diflucan is often not a good option for this. Terbenifine (or Lamisil) has a longstanding track record against most fungi that can infect nails, even yeast. This medication is taken once a day for three (3) months, with the biggest concerning side effect being it injuring the liver. This is so uncommon now that a liver function test is not required anymore (I still recommend the lab test before starting and six weeks in). A nail biopsy can be utilized to show exactly what bug (if any) infects the nail.
  • The one piece of the story not discussed is the possibility of no infection. A thick nail can also be traumatic. If the nailbed is injured, it will grow thick and medications don't fix it. Nail biopsy will prove infection or not.

Please note that when you have diabetes, yeast infections and bacterial infections can become more common because of the inability of the body to fight of infections as well.

Brandt R Gibson, DPM
Podiatrist, Neuropathy Doctor, Father of 11 and Founder of Mountain West Foot & Ankle Institute