If your toenail is yellow and opaque, you may have toenail fungus. Nail fungus is a contagious infection that grows in dark, wet places. You may develop nail fungus by walking barefoot in wet public areas like swimming pools and gym changing rooms. You can treat toenail fungus at home. In severe cases, you may need to see a doctor. Talk to your physician before attempting to cure toenail fungus yourself, especially if you have other health conditions or symptoms.
Cut your nails as short as possible, using nail clippers. The longer your toenails are, the more room the fungus has to grow and multiply underneath your toenails. Do not use the same nail clippers on your infected toenail and your healthy toenails. Wash the nail clippers thoroughly with hot water and soap every time you cut your nails.
Soak your feet in a vinegar solution for 20 minutes, once a day. Mix one part vinegar and two parts warm water in a large bowl. Although vinegar is not scientifically proven to kill fungus, some specialists recommend using it to keep the fungus from spreading. Continue to soak your feet in vinegar until the fungus grows out completely.
Wear 100-percent cotton socks every day. Fungus grows and spreads in damp areas, so keep your feet as dry as possible. Change your socks once or twice a day to keep your fungal infection from spreading.
Coat your infected toenail with anti-fungal lacquer once a day, or as directed on the package's instructions. You can purchase anti-fungal lacquer at the drugstore. The anti-fungal lacquer will stop the fungus from spreading as the infected nail grows out. Gradually, a healthy nail will grow in.
Take an oral anti-fungal medication if your doctor prescribes it. A physician may order prescription oral anti-fungal medications for severe cases of nail fungus that topical treatments cannot cure. Take the medication for six to 12 weeks, or as prescribed by your physician.
In rare cases, your doctor may remove part or all of the infected toenail to allow the healthy nail to grow in.
Side effects of oral anti-fungal medications include skin irritation and liver damage.