How to Prevent Nail Fungus Infections

How to Prevent Nail Fungus Infections

As the temperatures warm, you begin to transition your wardrobe over to more appropriate wear, and you look forward to letting your body breathe — especially your feet. The one thing that might force them back into hiding is a bad case of unsightly toenail fungus, so you want to avoid the condition as best you can.

To help keep your toenails healthy, the team of podiatrists here at Neuhaus Foot and Ankle, with 10 locations throughout Tennessee, thought we’d devote this month’s blog post to toenail fungus and the ways you can avoid this stubborn infection.

Toenail fungus at a glance

Also called onychomycosis, a fungal infection in your toenails isn’t necessarily medically serious, but it can be a stubborn and unsightly condition. 

The infection occurs when fungi gain access to your toenails. Unfortunately, once they settle in, they can wreak havoc on your toenails. The infection typically starts as a small spot of discoloration in your nail and then, all too soon, the fungi take over the nail, causing it to thicken, crumble, and discolor completely.

Onychomycosis is an incredibly common condition, affecting about 1 in 10 people at some point in their lives. Older people are more susceptible to toenail fungus because their toes and nails may contain more entry points.

While we mentioned that the infection isn’t typically serious, it can lead to complications if you have a pre-existing condition like diabetes.

In short, toenail fungus is one problem that you’d rather avoid.

Protecting your feet

If you want to avoid a toenail fungal infection, we want to outline some great prevention tips, which are especially important as summer rolls around.

The fungi that create the toenail infection thrive in dark, moist, and warm environments, which perfectly describes locker rooms and public swimming pools. If you find yourself in an area that might harbor fungi, it’s essential to protect your feet by not going barefoot. A pair of flip-flops can provide an excellent barrier between your feet and the ground.

If someone close to you has a fungal infection, know that the condition is contagious. Avoid sharing towels, socks, or toenail tools (clippers, etc.) with anyone who has the infection. If you must share toenail clippers, fully disinfect them before and after using them.

You should also ensure that your feet remain dry, which means swapping out sweaty sports socks and allowing your feet to breathe. When you exit the shower, be sure to completely dry your feet with a clean towel.

Wash any damp items that have come into contact with your feet, such as the aforementioned socks and towels. 

Take swift action

Toenail fungus is extremely stubborn to eliminate once it takes hold, so we urge you to come to see us at the first signs of a problem. If you spot a small discoloration on your toe, we can take swift action with antifungal medications to prevent the infection from spreading.

If you want to learn more about preventing toenail fungus, we invite you to contact one of our offices in Hermitage, Brentwood, Nashville, Mount Juliet, Waverly, Smyrna, Gallatin, Columbia, Pulaski, or Lebanon, Tennessee, to schedule an appointment.

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