Never, never, never was this an issue for me in Wyoming, but apparently is a common problem in Texas. I’m not sure I understand why. In Wyoming we ladies have our feet cooped up in socks and shoes for most of the year When not in shoes, our feet are usually in house slippers, and I even wore sockies to bed. My poor feet rarely saw the light of day and rarely got a breath of fresh air except in the summer.
I confess that in Wyoming I used to get a pedicure maybe once or twice a year, usually in the spring and again sometime in the late summer, and that last nail polish job would (I’m kind of embarrassed to say) last for most the winter on my hibernating tootsies. Honestly, I didn’t spend too much time caring all that much about what my feet looked like in the winter; they were out’ta sight out’ta mind. The only housekeeping I did to my feet during the dark months was to keep the nails short and filed with no sharp edges, so they wouldn’t wear holes in my socks.
In Texas, where our feet are on display for ten months out of the year, I notice my feet need work just about once a week. And the little darlin’s breathe fresh air daily and get plenty of sunshine. So it is kind of a head-scratcher why I have had so much trouble with this nail fungus thing – whatever it is? Maybe it’s that mold spores and fungus have a greater survival rate in hot and humid climates than in the harsh winters and dry climates of the Rockies?
I first discovered this fungus on my big toe toenail (shown on the left foot in photo above) when I was removing toenail polish several months after moving to Texas. I freaked out, went crazy on Google researching this strange phenomenon, and then made a mad dash to the store to find my hopeful cure. I purchased the most expensive brand of Tea Tree Oil, a #1-rated toenail fungus medicine with brush applicator, and a tube of Lamisil, suggested by the pharmicist. I trimmed all my toenails close and sanded the tops to make them thin.
I soaked my feet in an epson salt solution, dried them off really well, and then gave myself a thorough pedicure, removing all dead skin under and around the nail. I did NOT polish my nails afterwards; I left them naked so they could breathe. I washed all my sandals in the washing machine, HOT wash and rinse cycles, and then wiped them off with Clorox wipes to kill any residual spores. I let them completely dry out in the bright, hot, Texas summer sun for a day.
I tossed out all my socks and bought new, 100% cotton ones. I wiped down my dresser drawer with Clorox wipes and let it dry out in the hot summer sun.
I worked tirelessly to cure this fungus, if indeed that is what it was, with my over-the-counter remedies. I never let my feet stay wet. If I walked across wet grass, played in the sprinklers with the grandkids, or walked across the yard in the rain, I always toweled them off after, and after all my showers, with a clean, fresh towel that didn’t get reused or shared.
I kept my toenails short, but didn’t cut away the detached part on the advice of the pharmicist, although because I had sanded them really thin they did tear from the digging underneath with my fingernail file. I also sterilized my clippers, files, knippers, etc. after every use. I applied the Tea Tree Oil, the toenail fungus medicine, and the Lamisil cream after every shower, and made sure to get it up underneath each nail really good, and all over the tops too.
Months, and months, and months, and months went by with little improvement, but eventually the detached area slowly diminished to the point where I thought I was cured, and I relaxed my toe treatments.
And then this last January I noticed that the stupid thing was back. UGH!!!! Worse than before. The detachement was almost to the root of my cuticle, and almost the whole left side of my nail. Bummer!
Now, I’ve heard there is a pill for this, but I didn’t want to treat my whole body for an issue under a small area of one toenail, especially when it costs money to go see a doctor to get a prescription, and when there are side effects to that medicine that are a little bit unsettling. I’ve also heard that an alternative treatment and even more effective is laser therapy, but Holy Jemimah monkeys, it’s pricey, and may require several treatments to cure, which would mean several trips to the big city. My toenails are not thick and yellow, they are normal and clear. They just have one little place of detachment.
So this time I followed my gut instincts and trimmed the detached toenail away from the cuticle beneath, using knippers so I could get in really close, and completely expose the area to fresh air and direct treatment. Don’t worry, it didn’t hurt at all. It probably does kind of make you cringe to look at it though. I’m sorry.
I then applied a drop of Clorox directly to the infected cuticle and nail with a Q-tip and let it soak in.
I figured that if Clorox kills everything, including funguses on a variety of surfaces, I would do a clinical study of my own and see how effective it was on human tissue. (Note: it honestly sounds less dangerous to me than prescription topical medications). I used a Q-tip to apply a drop of Clorox to the cuticle, rubbing it into the skin and allowing it to soak in, and then over the nail, and I let it completely dry on its own.
I wore nothing but flip-flops. I again tossed out all my socks and purchased brand new ones. I didn’t share my towel, or reuse it. Everything got washed in the hotest setting on the washer and dried on the hottest setting in the dryer.
A couple of days later I applied hydrogen peroxide to the same area with a Q-tip, and let it dry on its own. I spent the next month alternating my applications of Clorox or peroxide every few days. After a few weeks I went to a once-a-week application, and then a once-every-two-weeks application, and finally once-a-month.
Here’s what my toe looks like now after only six months:
Here, look at the extremes side by side:
Soooooo, if you want my unprofessional opinion (I’m not a doctor and I don’t play one on TV) …forget about all the fancy, expensive, over-the-counter medications that take forever to work and aren’t effective at keeping fungus away, and before you spend your life savings on doctors and prescriptions. Just get a small jug of cheap old Clorox and an inexpensive bottle of ordinary old trustworthy Peroxide, both of which are easily found, some steril Q-tips, and give this a whirl. In my personal experience they are much more effective, and obviously won’t harm your skin when used topically on the infected site in small amounts and in moderation. And another tip… DON’T POLISH your toenails. For one, polish keeps your nails from being able to breathe, like they need to, and two, polish hides (yes, I know that you want to hide your issue, but) it also hides dirt and grime. It’s okay to paint them for a special occasion, but don’t let them stay polished for more than a day or two. I believe the fungal spores live in the soil, and if that soil is allowed to just sit under your nails for any length of time, it breeds infection. So I keep my toenails naked, and clean.
Sending prayers of healing your way!!!
“Make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed.. Hebrews 12:13 NKJV