Toenail fungus is unsightly, sometimes painful and often damaging to your skin. The good news is it's easily treatable, but prevention is a much better course of action.
Fungi can attack your skin, nail beds, and toenails through cuts in your skin or the opening around your nail bed, so the best thing you can do to avoid infection is keep your feet clean and dry. That may seem simple enough, but wearing socks and shoes isn't enough to protect your feet from potentially harmful fungi. In fact, your footwear could be the reason you develop fungal infections in the first place.
Prevention starts by washing your feet thoroughly as part of your regular bathing routine. Dry your feet well, and put on clean, dry socks made of a breathable, moisture-wicking material, like wool. This will help minimize conditions for infection, even as your feet sweat throughout the day. Additionally, you should maintain short toenails, filed straight, and avoid picking at the skin around your nails.
Taking care of your shoes is important, too, because old shoes and materials that aren't allowed to fully dry between use will harbor fungi, which could easily lead to toenail fungus. Fungus thrives in moist environments — think pool areas, showers and locker rooms — so make sure you're not walking around barefoot in public places and exposing yourself to someone's leftover infection.
Proper footwear plays a significant role in fungus prevention, but you can take extra steps to reduce your risk for contracting toenail fungus by using anti-fungal sprays and powders to treat your shoes. This can be particularly effective for people who have previously dealt with toenail fungus and want to minimize the chances of reinfection.
If you're concerned about your toenail health, your podiatrist can address your specific questions and help you understand your best options for preventing and treating fungal infections. Basch Foot Care Centers can take care of your toenail fungus at its Sterling Heights, MI, location. For more information or to schedule a consultation, call (586) 979-7502.