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Healthcare tips

Healthy Habits to Prevent Toenail Fungus

April 11, 2024

Toenail fungus can be incredibly uncomfortable and disturb your daily routine or activities like exercise, travel, and getting outdoors. If you’re prone to suffering from toenail fungus, but don’t want it to get in the way of what you love to do, there are luckily steps you can take to prevent it. In combination with these tips, talk to your doctor about what unique prevention or treatments you might need if you think you have toenail fungus.

Keep reading to learn about the steps you can take to potentially prevent toenail fungus.

What Causes Toenail Fungus?

Fungal nail infections can be caused by many different types of fungi. They get into the nail through tiny cracks and cause an infection. These same fungi can cause Athlete’s Foot by entering your body through cracks in the skin.

How Do You Prevent Fungal Toenail Infections?

Preventing toenail fungus starts with healthy, hygienic habits — especially if you live an active lifestyle and often exercise.

Keep shoes, socks, hands, and feet clean and dry

Fungus thrives in warm, wet environments, so it’s crucial that your hands and feet are kept clean and dry. Always change your socks and shoes after working out, sweating, or getting damp. 

Wear breathable shoes and change socks frequently if needed

In addition to avoiding wet shoes and socks, make sure to choose breathable shoes. At home, you can opt for open-toed shoes. If you’re exercising or there’s a chance your feet might get damp or sweaty throughout the day, bring a change of socks as needed.

Wash hands after touching an infected nail

If one of your nails is potentially infected, make sure to wash your hands thoroughly after coming in contact with the nail to minimize the potential for it to spread to other nails.

Don’t walk barefoot in public places like locker rooms, pools, or spas

As we mentioned, fungus loves warm, damp environments — that means locker rooms, pools, hot tubs, and spas are breeding grounds for the type of fungus that causes fungal toenail infections. Be sure to always wear footwear when walking around these locations and promptly wash and dry your feet after leaving.

You can even take a page from the college dorm playbook and consider investing in pool or shower shoes to have on hand for these situations.

Keep nails clean and short

As you maintain clean and dry feet as part of your daily routine, be sure to keep an eye on the length of your nails and their cleanliness.

It’s a good idea to cut and clean nails at least on a weekly basis, or as needed if you notice they’re growing quickly or have excess amounts of dirt and grime build up. 

Don’t share nail care products with other people

In the interest of keeping your nails clean and preventing fungus from spreading from patient to patient never share nail care products with others. This holds true from a general cosmetic perspective as well — never use makeup, tools, polishes, or applicators that aren’t yours.

If you believe you’re currently suffering from toenail fungus be sure to reach out to your physician to seek treatment and take proactive action by keeping your feet dry and clean.

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