Medical Advice

How to Prevent Toenail Fungus

Toenail fungus is a common infection that can cause discoloration, crumbling and other problems for your feet. It’s important to know how to fight such an infection. You must know your enemy before you can fight it.


Rhyme and Reason

Toenail fungus is often caused by yeasts, molds and dermatophyte fungus. Fungi is a tiny organism that can’t be seen by the naked eye. It can survive without light and, while some fungi can be beneficial, others cause infections and other problems.

They prefer to live in warm, moist areas. This is one reason they are often found in the toenail. Your toes are kept in confined darkness, and they can sneak in through small cuts or any separations between the nail and its bed. Toes also have less blood flow, making it difficult for your immune system to notice and then fight the infection.

Toenail fungus causes various symptoms. This could include thickened nails. They may also be brittle, ragged or crumbling. Some find their nails become distorted in shape, or lackluster. You may also notice your nails have become darker, which is a result of debris built up beneath it. Some experience onycholysis, which is when the nail separates from the nail bed. It may affect many nails, but usually it doesn’t spread to all of them. For some people, it’s painful. Self-care and medications are usually suggested, but toenail fungus often comes back. You have to regularly treat and prevent it.

11 Ways to Keep Toenail Fungus Away

1. Cleanliness

Take regular care of your hands and feet. Not only is it easy to do so, but it’s quick too. Simply wash your feet with soap and water, rinse and dry thoroughly. Make sure you’re dry between your toes, and around your nails. Trim your nails regularly, straight across before filing down in thicker areas.

2. Proper Socks

Wear socks that absorb sweat. There are certain fabrics that are particularly effective such as nylon, wool and polypropylene. Change your socks frequently, and wash them, especially if you have sweaty feet.

3. Throw Away Old Shoes

Old shoes can harbor fungi, causing reinfections. Try to get new shoes every few months or so. If you can’t, keep some disinfectants and antifungal powders handy, and treat your shoes with them.

4. Keep Humidity Away

There are shoes that can reduce humidity and keep your feet cool. By letting your feet “breathe”, you can keep yourself from sweating too much. Another option is to occasionally wear open-toed shoes.

5. Antifungal Measures

Sprays and powders are available that treat and prevent fungus and infections. Simply spray or sprinkle the powder onto your feet and into your shoes every day. Usually these treatments aid in keeping your feet dry.

6. Don’t Pick!

Don’t trim or pick at the skin around your nails. By doing so, you enable germs to get to your skin, allowing them free access.

7. Never Go Bare

Don’t go barefoot in public areas, instead wear shoes or sandals in locker rooms, showers and pools.

8. Glove Up

Rubber gloves protect your hands from being exposed too much to water. When you’re not using them, dry them off by turning them inside out.

9. Nail Décor

Avoid nail polish and artificial nails. The polish and glues can trap moisture, worsening the infection.

10. Wash Hands Frequently

In particular, wash your hands any time you touch the infected nail. Nail fungus can spread from nail to nail, so it’s important to attempt to isolate the infection.

11. Good Salons

Find a reputable nail salon. Make sure they properly sterilize their equipment after every use, or simply bring your own equipment and sterilize after use.