ZocdocAnswersCan you treat foot fungus yourself?

Question

Can you treat foot fungus yourself?

My boyfriend just found out he has foot fungus under his toenails and between his toes. I think he should just get the medicine to take care of it, but he says he doesn't trust those methods and he wants to use natural methods like vinegar and garlic. Will this work? I don't want to get it from him.

Answer

It sounds like your boyfriend may have two separate infections. A fungal infection of the toenail and an infection between his toes have different symptoms and different treatments. Foot fungus between the toes is called tinea pedis more commonly known as athletes foot. This type of infection can be easily treated with topical anti-fungal creams such as miconazole. This can be purchased over the counter and is very safe. If he also has an infection under his toenails (also known as onychomycosis), this will be more difficult to treat. The least invasive methods of treatment include keeping the feet very dry, and the use of anti-fungal topical nail paints. Some people choose to try daily soaks in vinegar, but this is time consuming and rarely works. If your boyfriend is set on trying these methods, he should be prepared for his toenail infection to continue. There are oral medications that do work, but they must be taken for several months. A primary care physician will be the best type of doctor for your boyfriend to consult with about this issue. He or she can discuss all treatment options including the standard care (oral medication), alternative treatments, and newer treatments just arriving on the market. Good luck.

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