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Foot Care: How to Prevent Toenail Fungus

There are few podiatric ailments more cosmetically unpleasant than toenail fungal infections, also known as onychomycosis, which spread over time and can eventually destroy the nail if left untreated.

Nail fungal infections are typically caused by a dermatophyte fungus, which requires keratin for growth and spreads by direct contact, but can also manifest from yeasts and molds.

Although nail fungus can attack both the hands and the feet, the condition occurs far more often in toenails due to the fact that your feet spend the majority of the day confined to your shoes. The dark, moist environment inside your shoes makes it easy for fungi to not only grow, but thrive.

It’s often hard to detect a fungal infection before the problem becomes a visible nuisance as these infections tend to be painless and remain out of sight for the majority of your day.

A toenail fungal infection isn’t pleasant and can lead to a variety of issues including toenail discoloration, foul odor, discharges, lifting toenail or the complete loss of a toenail.

If you fail to take the preventative methods and become infected, toenail fungus can sometimes take months to remove as the infection can often be resistant to numerous treatments.

At Delray Beach Podiatry, we’d like to help you avoid this ordeal entirely with these helpful tips to keep your toes free of fungus:

It’s important to keep your toes clean and dry as skin and nails are less likely to become infected when dry.

Keep your nails short and wash them regularly. It is important to also clean in between the toes.

Trim nails straight across and file down thickened areas.

When you are finished with your nail clippers, clean them thoroughly between uses.

If you receive pedicures, make sure the establishment you go to properly sterilizes its instruments.

– Avoid artificial nails. Although you may enjoy their appearance, they also serve as moisture traps.

Wear socks that absorb sweat. A few fabrics that excel at fighting moisture are wool, nylon and polypropylene.

Change your socks often, especially if you live an active lifestyle.

Avoid wearing old shoes. I know this can be tough for those hoping to extend the life of their favorite sneakers, but older shoes can harbor fungi and lead to infection.

If you insist on keeping your old shoes, make sure to treat them with disinfectants or anti-fungal powders.

Don’t go barefoot in public places. It is important to always keep your feet covered when around pools, showers, and locker rooms.

Don’t share shoes, socks, nail clippers, or nail files with anyone.

If you or someone you know has an infected nail, make sure you wash your hands if you come into contact with it. Nail fungus can easily spread from nail to nail.

Follow Delray Beach Podiatry on Twitter @Delray_Podiatry

The content on this website is for informational purposes only. Do not rely or act upon information from without seeking professional medical advice. If you live in South Florida and would like a consultation with Dr. Ian Goldbaum, a podiatric physician and surgeon with over 30 years of experience, please see our contact information below:


16244 S. Military Trail #290, Delray Beach, FL 33445



8198 Jog Road #100, Boynton Beach, FL 33472



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