One of the common misconceptions is that toe fungus just appears but that is false.  In fact, there is a lot of different ways a person can get a nail fungal infection.  There are about a few main reasons why people get toenail fungus which we will address next.

Athlete’s Foot

One of the most common ways to contract a toenail fungus is from athlete’s foot which spreads from the soles of your feet onto your toes.  A person can get athlete’s foot a lot of different ways but most likely from having sweaty feet from playing sports.  Or you can get it from wearing shoes all day and having sweaty feet.  That humid environment allows for bacteria to thrive.

It is important to keep your feet dry and change your socks daily.  If you suffer from sweaty feet then invest in foot powder to keep them dry.  If you find yourself with athlete’s foot get a foot wash with tea tree oil in it and OTC cream.


Wearing ill-fitted shoes, whether they are too big or small can cause toenail fungus.  The back and fourth friction motion can cause trauma on the nails which can result in a fungal infection.  Also, if something heavy is dropped on your foot and damages the nail, it puts you at risk for a infection.  It is very important to have well-fitted shoes and to protect your feet from damage.

Public Showers and Pools

Showers and pools due to their humid environment become a breeding ground for fungus and bacteria.  This is where a lot of people contract toenail fungus.  Public showers are typically only cleaned once everyday that means the bacteria has a chance to grow strong and when a person comes across it they get it.  That is why it is important to wear flip flops and put a barrier between yourself and the fungi.


There are distinct signs that can determine that you have a nail fungal infection or athlete’s foot.  Toenail fungus tends to change the color and the texture of your nails.  A toenail may become textured differently and may have pits or ridges in the nail.  The changes in smoothness of the nail and discoloration generally means you have a nail fungal infection.  The following are common symptoms attributed to nail fungus:

  • Discoloration of the nail (typically white, black, yellow, and even green)
  • Change in texture of the nail (grooves or ridges in the nail)
  • Brittleness or chalkiness
  • Thickness
  • Foul Smell
  • Dry Skin
  • Itchiness

Here is a list of Athlete’s Foot symptoms:

  • Dry, flaky itchy skin especially on the sides of the feet
  • Foul odor
  • Redness
  • Irritation
  • Cracking of the feet
  • Stinging and burning primarily in between the toes
  • Blisters that itch
  • Crumbly toenails

Treatment Options

One of the most critical things I cannot stress enough is to not wait to treat it if you have a fungal infection.  That advice comes from my own personal experience because I know how difficult it can be to treat if not managed.  When it comes to treatments there are a few routes you can go.

At-Home Remedies

If caught early enough some cases of a fungal infection can be treated with everyday household items like vinegar or Vick’s Vapor Rub.  One of the most inexpensive treatment options on the market is to use home remedies, however, they vary in effectiveness.

I have had various success with at home remedies.  I would recommend to only use at home remedies if the fungus is caught early on or is a very mild case.  If you have a more severe fungus, I would suggest checking out what I consider to be the best nail fungal infection treatment.  I talk about what worked for me and the products I used along with what my dad used to cure his toenail fungus that he had for 15+ years.


If your toenail fungus is severe and one of the worst cases in the world then going to your doctor for a oral medication may be the best option.  Again, this is typically for extremely severe cases.  There are some downsides of the medication though.

One of the downsides of prescription medication for toenail fungus is that it requires you to get your blood tested constantly before, during and after you run the course of the medication.  This is because the medication can cause liver problems.  Oral medication is not a “silver bullet” for nail fungus either.  Just like all the other treatments out there some work for certain people and don’t work for others.

Another thing to consider is you are likely going to have to pay for the prescription because insurance doesn’t cover this.  That means you are going to have to pay for treatment out of pocket.

Over the Counter Creams

One thing I noticed when buying creams at drug stores is that I had success with them.  The problem was finding which ones got rid of the fungus completely.  Another problem was once I had found a cream that worked, how can I keep getting the cream on a budget?

Both my dad and I suffered from toenail fungus and had experimented with different creams.  We tried Lotramin for years.  I gave up and so did he.  Later, he resolved his yellow, fungus infected nails with a natural remedy that I will discuss later.

I went to my doctor and he prescribed me 3 tubes of clortizamole cream.  It worked while the tubes lasted but unfortunately they didn’t last long.  I went to the local drugstore and they we’re selling these creams for $10, $15, even $30 for a tube that barely lasted me a week!

I did more research and wrote a whole post on what creams I exactly used to clear up my nails.  Showing the exact products and tools I used to cure toenail fungus.  My personal expertise says YES, OTC creams do work but be sure to find the right ones.

Organic Remedies

In today’s world, we have become more conscious of the benefits and effectiveness of natural remedies.  I truly believe in organic treatment options and their eradication of toe fungus.

Although there is many effective natural remedies out there, still be wary of some products.  I tested multiple natural foot washes and oils and documented what I found effective.  From my analysis I think combining natural remedies with OTC cream is one of the best treatments out there.  If you would like to read more about natural remedies, click here.  You can also read about how I combined multiple products  for the most effective nail fungus remedy.