Nail Fungal Infections | Treatment


How is a fungal nail infection treated?

Several medicines can treat a fungal nail infection. Oral antifungal medicines help a new nail grow to replace the infected nail. You might need to take the antifungal medicine for 6 to 12 weeks. It depends on how severe the infection is. Some of these oral antifungal medicines are not safe for people who have liver problems or a history of congestive heart failure. Be sure to let your doctor know if you have one of these conditions. Your doctor will decide which medicine is right for you.

Topical treatments (creams and polish that you apply to the top of your nail) are also available. However, topical medicines alone usually do not cure fungal nail infections.

What can I do to take care of my nails?

Here are some things you can do to take care of your nails if you have a fungal infection:

  • Keep your nails cut short and file down any thick areas.
  • Don't use the same nail trimmer or file on healthy nails and infected nails. If you have your nails professionally manicured, you should bring your own nail files and trimmers from home.
  • Wear waterproof gloves for wet work (such as washing dishes or floors). To protect your fingers, wear 100% cotton gloves for dry work.
  • Wear socks made of wicking material, which pull moisture away from the skin. Change your socks when they are damp from sweat or if your feet get wet. Put on clean, dry socks every day. You can put over-the-counter antifungal foot powder inside your socks to help keep your feet dry.
  • Wear shoes with good support and a wide toe area. Don't wear pointed shoes that press your toes together.
  • Avoid walking barefoot in public areas, such as locker rooms.


Treating Onychomycosis by P Rodgers, M.D. and M Bassler, M.D. (American Family Physician February 15, 2001,

Written by editorial staff

Reviewed/Updated: 04/14
Created: 02/01