Want to Avoid Toenail Fungus? Do This

May 01, 2024
Want to Avoid Toenail Fungus? Do This
Toenail fungus is common, partly because it’s so easy to “catch,” especially during the warm summer months. Here’s what you can do to avoid toenail fungus and keep your feet as healthy as possible.

As many as 14% of Americans deal with toenail fungus daily, along with its uncomfortable, unattractive symptoms. Today, there are several options for treating toenail fungus — but ideally, you’d like to avoid infection in the first place. 

Stephen Lazaroff, DPM, FACFAS, Joel S Segalman, FACFAS, FACFAO, and the team at Performance Foot & Ankle Specialists, LLC, offer the most advanced, effective options for eradicating even the most stubborn fungal nail infection, and they can help you avoid future infections, too. In this post, learn some simple things you can do to keep your toenails free of fungus.

1. Bathe your feet every day

Keeping your feet clean can go a long way toward preventing and recognizing an infection (or other problem) in its earliest stage. Make a daily foot bath part of your hygiene routine, and dry your feet well afterward. Apply moisturizer (avoid the area between the toes) daily to prevent dry skin, which makes it easier for fungi and other germs to enter your skin.

2. Keep your feet dry

Toenail fungus thrives in moist environments. If your feet tend to sweat, carry an extra pair of socks and alternate your shoes every other day. Sprinkling antifungal powder in your shoes won’t remove an existing infection, but it can decrease the risk of a new infection.

3. Watch where you go barefoot

Both toenail fungus and athlete’s foot fungus are especially fond of the warm, moist environments in gym locker rooms, communal showers, and decking around pools and hot tubs. Always wear shower shoes or flip-flops in these areas, and avoid going barefoot to prevent direct contact with fungi.

4. Make sure your footwear “breathes”

Choose shoes with uppers made of natural or breathable materials to ensure plenty of airflow around your toes. Skip tight-fitting shoes or shoes with tight, pointy toes. Opt for socks made of materials designed to “wick away” moisture, especially at the gym or during any physical activity where sweating or dampness are likely.

5. Take care at nail salons

A pedicure can be a big mood booster, but it also carries a risk of infections, including toenail fungal infections. Make sure the salon you choose sterilizes tools and disinfects foot tubs between clients. Better still, bring your tools to avoid infections from contaminated scissors, files, and clippers.

6. Do not share personal items

Speaking of contamination, never share socks, shoes, or personal foot care items with anyone else, even if you feel confident they don’t have an infection. Don’t share towels or washcloths, either.

7. Trim nails properly

Poorly trimmed toenails can lead to ingrown toenails or other injuries that let fungi into your skin and under your nail beds. Trim toenails straight across, not curved, to prevent ingrown nails. Wash your clippers before each use and rub them with rubbing alcohol to kill stubborn germs.

8. Know the signs and risk factors

Examine your feet regularly, looking for telltale nail fungus signs like:

  • Thickened nails
  • Discolored or yellowish nails
  • Changes in nail shape
  • Brittle or flaky nails
  • Bad odor from your nail

Nail infections tend to be more common among people with diabetes, weakened immune systems, poor circulation, unusual foot shapes, or some types of foot trauma.

Do not ignore fungal toenails

Fungal nails can make your feet look unattractive, but that’s not the only reason they need treatment. Without medical care, infections can spread, cause considerable pain, or lead to more serious complications.

If you have a toenail fungal infection or suspect you do, request an appointment online or over the phone with the team at Performance Foot & Ankle Specialists in Waterbury and Newtown, Connecticut, today.