Toenail fungus is an ugly topic to discuss and even more vile of a condition to have. This is a condition that according to the Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology affects around 14 percent of the world's population. Technically called onychomycosis, this type of fungal infection silently lurks in warm, moist, dark places all around us. Here are a few ways to avoid stumbling upon this funky foot condition.
1. Carefully Clip Toenails
Only use properly sanitized nail clippers, and cut toenails strait across rather than curved. This helps avoid painful ingrown toenails that can foster infection and exacerbate foot fungus.
2. Wear Breathable, Properly Fitting Shoes
Tight shoes rub against the toenails and are a source ingrown toenails. They also allow the fungus to spread into the toe box. Shoes that don't breathe prohibit air circulation in the shoes. This leaves them damp, which is a fungus's paradise.
3. Swap Shoes Daily
If your shoes get moist from a workout or just sweaty feet, putting them on before they are dry and sanitized can result in foot fungus occurrences or recurrences. Invest in your feet's health by alternating shoes, especially during breakouts of toenail fungal infections.
4. Wear Water Shoes in Moist Areas
Going barefoot around the community pool or in the gym locker room shower seems safe, but these hot zones are likely the most risky places for picking up a case of toenail fungus. Put on a pair of flip flops, rubber sandals, or shower shoes in these moist environments to keep toes from making direct contact with potentially infected places.
5. Keep Showers and Shoes Disinfected
If someone in the family has an incident of foot fungus, they can spread the infection inadvertently to others just by stepping into the shower with bare feet. Even without fungus apparent, it's wise to routinely disinfect showers and tubs with bleach-based cleaner. Shoes can be disinfected along with socks by washing them in hot water.
6. Employ Antifungals
Antifungal foot powders and sprays are widely available without a prescription for mild and infrequent occurrences of toenail fungus and similar issues like athlete's foot. Simply spray down or sprinkle the foot powder inside your shoes and socks prior to wearing them to help prevent fungal growth. This can be a life saver for heavy sweaters and highly active individuals.
If you have frequent battles with foot fungus of any kind, it's recommended to see a podiatrist for a consultation to ensure that nothing more serious is going on. These professionals can also offer additional tips for prevention as well as medications to combat toenail fungus as it occurs.