Updated: May 19, 2020
Most people think they will never get toenail fungus, but toenail fungus can be fairly common, especially in the summer months. But what exactly is toenail fungus and why do people get it?
Toenail fungus is exactly what it sounds like, it is an infection of the toenail and the skin around the toes. The fungus grows and spreads through cracks in the nail or cuts in the skin.
The first signs of a toenail fungus infection include a white or yellow spot under the tip of the nail. As the infection goes untreated, the nail will begin to lose its color, thicken, become unshapely, and crumble at the edges. It’s possible for the fungus to spread to other toes, and even affect the skin around the nail. So it’s best to treat the infected nail(s) as soon as possible.
But not to worry! There are many different ways to prevent toenail fungus, and we’ve compiled the best methods for you below.
Trim Your toenails
By keeping your toenails trimmed, you could prevent the toenail fungus from creeping in through a crack in the nail. Keep the nails neat and shorter than the end of the toe. Make sure the clippers, files, and pedicure tools you use are sanitized and kept clean. You can wipe your tools down with rubbing alcohol to kill any lingering bacteria after washing them with soap and water. And avoid sharing your foot care tools with other people!
Keep Your Feet Dry
The best way to prevent acquiring toenail fungus is to keep your feet nice and dry—especially in between the toes. The fungus that causes toenail fungus thrives in warm, moist environments. So make sure to wear socks that provide moisture wicking to keep your feet dry. Wear shoes that have breathable fabric or soles. Avoid wearing the same shoes every day, as the soles could absorb sweat and become hotbeds for fungus.
Use Antifungal Products
Prevention is key when it comes to toenail fungus. By using an antifungal powder or cream, you could not only prevent getting toenail fungus, but keep your feet dry and smelling great! If you suspect that you already have toenail fungus, using an antifungal product could help you stop the infection from spreading to your skin or other toes.
Avoid Walking Barefoot
Walking barefoot should be avoided at all costs, especially in public facilities. Fungus thrives in warm, wet environments like locker rooms or pools. Walking barefoot could mean picking up the fungus through broken skin or cracked nails, so ensure you wear shower shoes or flip flops to prevent infection.
Preventing toenail fungus can be done by following just a few, simple steps. If you currently have toenail fungus, call (973) 365-2208 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Miller at Affiliated Foot and Ankle Specialists of Clifton. Before coming in, be sure to review the forms needed for your first appointment.