5 Tips for Preventing Stubborn Toenail Fungus This Summer

Do you know that toenail fungus is an infection caused by microscopic organisms? Even if you don’t understand the cause, you’re probably familiar with the effects of these tiny invaders.

Most toenail fungal infections start with a small yellow or white spot beneath the nail. As it develops, the fungal infection can cause other symptoms, including:

Your toenails have many layers and the microorganisms that cause fungal infections can get between these layers. This means that once they take root, toenail fungal infections can be challenging to treat and can spread to other nails or even the skin on your feet.

At South Sound Foot & Ankle in Olympia, Washington, our team can help with hard-to-treat fungal infections. That said, prevention is often the best medicine. To prevent stubborn toenail fungus this summer, Mark Hopkins, DPM, recommends taking these five steps to stop fungus before it starts!

1. Keep your nails trimmed and straight

While you may like the look of rounded or tapered toenails, keeping your nails straight is better for your foot health. Cutting your toenails straight across keeps them strong and helps you avoid ingrown toenails. 

You’ll also want to keep your toenails short. Short toenails help minimize debris buildup and help reduce your chances of snagging or breaking your toenails. This is important because when your toenails are broken or damaged, they’re more vulnerable to infection.

2. Wear the right shoes

Toenail fungus loves to grow in moist, warm, and dark areas. That means when your feet are hot and sweaty, your toes make the ideal fungal environment. To keep toenail fungus away, select footwear that's breathable and fits comfortably. You want your toes to have plenty of room. 

You’ll also want to choose moisture-wicking socks to prevent moisture from getting trapped against your skin. Change your socks if they get sweaty, and consider alternating your shoes each day so they can completely air out between wear. Take advantage of the warmer, drier summer weather to wear sandals as much as possible.

3. Use antifungal powders or sprays

Keeping your feet clean and dry is a great way to beat toenail fungus before it starts. If the weather makes your feet sweat or if you workout frequently, keep your feet as safe as possible by sprinkling antifungal powder or spraying antifungal medication inside your socks or shoes. 

These powders help prevent fungal infections by controlling sweat and inhibiting the growth of fungus. They're also available over-the-counter.

4. Don’t forget about hygiene

Toenail fungus is contagious. Practice good foot hygiene by not sharing nail grooming supplies or shoes with other people. If you choose to get pedicures in a nail salon, be sure the salon thoroughly sanitizes and disinfects foot baths, nail clippers, and files before each use or consider bringing your own tools.

5. Don’t go barefoot in public areas

Since toenail fungus is so contagious and thrives in moist, warm places, don't go barefoot in public places like pools, showers, and locker rooms. These areas are full of microscopic fungal organisms that can take root in your nails and cause you a summer of trouble. 

When in public areas, protect your nail health by wearing sandals, flip-flops, or shower shoes to minimize your exposure.

For more information on preventing stubborn toenail fungus or to treat an existing infection, contact Dr. Hopkins and the team at South Sound Foot & Ankle!

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