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3 Risk Factors for Fungal Nails

3 Risk Factors for Fungal Nails

Whether you’ve already been through a fungal infection in your toenails, or you’d like to avoid the problem in the first place, knowing your risk factors for this tenacious condition is essential.

So that you can keep your toenails healthy and whole, the highly experienced podiatry team here at Neuhaus Foot and Ankle with 10 convenient locations throughout Tennessee, gathered the three most common risk factors for toenail fungus, which we outline here.

1. Age

This first risk factor is something you can’t change, but it’s important to understand that your risk for toenail fungus increases with age, which means you need to exercise more care to avoid the infection (more on this later).

As you age, your toenails become weaker thanks to natural degeneration and decreased blood flow to your feet. As a result, your toenails are more prone to developing small cracks or fissures, which make perfect entryways for lurking fungi.

2. Pre-existing immunodeficiencies or metabolic disorders

Your risks for contracting a fungal infection in your toenails also increase if you have pre-existing health issues, such as a weakened immune system or diabetes. With the first — a compromised immune system — your body is less able to fight off foreign invaders, such as the yeasts and molds that lead to fungal infections.

For people with diabetes, the issue lies in hampered circulation to the feet, leaving your toenails unable to effectively fight off an infection. 

It’s worth noting that while most toenail fungal infections are relatively harmless, for people who have diabetes or who are immunocompromised, prompt treatment of any infection is paramount.

3. Public places

Fungal infections are contagious, so if you spend time in public places that harbor infection-causing fungi, such as swimming pools, locker rooms, and gyms, your risks for toenail fungus increase. In these areas, it’s important to be on guard against infection and follow the steps we outline next.

Preventing fungal infections in your toenails

Whether you’re at heightened risk for toenail fungus or not, following a few preventive steps can ward off this type of infection. These steps include:

If despite your best efforts, you still develop a fungal toenail infection, we can help resolve the problem with oral antifungal drugs, topical antifungal agents, and medicated nail polishes.

If you’d like to learn more about your risks for toenail fungus or your treatment options, contact one of our locations in Hermitage, Brentwood, Nashville, Mount Juliet, Waverly, Smyrna, Gallatin, Columbia, Pulaski, or Lebanon, Tennessee, to set up a consultation.

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