How toenail fungus develops
According to Jane E Andersen, DPM, a spokesperson for the American Podiatric Medical Association, most people develop toenail fungus as a result of having another fungal skin infection that transfer fungus to the nail — such as athlete’s foot. Toenail fungus can also develop as a result of wearing uncomfortable shoes that fit poorly, which can weaken your foot health and make you more susceptible to fungus.
Over time, when left untreated, toenail fungus can cause pain and put pressure on the underlying nail bed, which can then go on to develop an ulcer if pressure continues to increase. Eventually, toenail fungus can lead to pain and difficulty with walking, and becomes harder to treat as time passes.
Do you suspect you might be at risk for developing toenail fungus? Here are five ways to prevent yourself from developing this unsightly and inconvenient infection.
1. Cut and trim your toenails on a regular basis
If you’re diabetic, make an appointment to have a podiatrist cut and trim your toenails, and help you with caring for your feet. Otherwise, clip your toenails regularly as needed using clean nail clippers or scissors that have been sanitized. Cut your nails straight across, and use a nail file if necessary to file down any sharp, jagged edges.
2. Wear shoes that fit properly
The shoes you wear should not touch your toenails in any way, regardless of shoe shape or style. According to Andersen, avoid wearing shoes that are too large, which could result in your toenails being jammed continuously into the end of your shoe. On the other hand, don’t buy shoes that are too narrow and cramp your toes.
3. Wear breathable shoes
Your feet need constant circulation to stay dry and lower your risk for toenail fungus. The American College of Foot and Ankle Orthopedics and Medicine recommends wearing shoes made from leather or canvas for the best breathability.
4. Don’t go barefoot in public
While you may be tempted to walk around barefoot in public areas such as the gym, locker room, public pool, or beach, wear shoes at all times to lower your risk for fungal infections. Most public areas are too dirty and bacteria-laden for bare feet, and could increase your risk for other serious infections, such as Plantar warts.
5. Rotate your shoes
If your feet become sweaty as a result of exercising or spending time outdoors in wet conditions, allow your shoes to dry fully before wearing them again, or wear a different pair of shoes. Wearing damp, sweaty shoes can increase your risk for toenail fungus.
Are you living with foot pain and need help caring for your feet? Call Kansas City Foot Specialists to schedule an evaluation at (913) 338-4440, or request an appointment online so we can determine the cause of your injury and get you back on your feet.