Given the cold, ice, and snow during our winter months, there’s a pretty good chance you’ve moved your workouts indoors. Sure, you can always take the proper precautions and run outside in the winter, but many people prefer the comfort of indoor gyms and pools, especially those who made New Year’s resolutions to exercise more this year. No matter if you are a seasoned veteran or you’ve just started a new workout plan, you could be at increased risk of a fungal infection.
The reason you may be at greater risk for fungal toenails comes down to the fact that fungi tend to thrive in warm, damp environments. Places like pool decks, locker room floors, and communal showering areas provide the right conditions for fungal growth. These microorganisms don’t even need natural sunlight, so it doesn’t matter if the locker room doesn’t have any windows – fungus can still grow.
You can take measures to prevent a fungal infection from occurring—like protecting your feet in high-risk areas by wearing sandals or shower shoes—but you need to address the issue if one is already present. Toenail fungus does not clear up on its own, so you should know how to get rid of fungal infections during winter months (and beyond!).
The good news is that this is a treatable condition. When it comes to restoring your toenails back to health, we may prescribe:
- Oral medication. We sometimes prescribe pills that deliver medication to the infected nails through the bloodstream. This method attacks the fungus from the inside out and is reasonably effective at eliminating it, although oral antifungal medication does sometimes cause unwanted side effects.
- Topical medication. This form of antifungal medication is applied to the nails either as a cream, lotion, powder, spray, or nail lacquer and serves to attack the fungus from the outside in. Topical medications are more commonly used for mild infections, particularly because they aren’t always effective at treating the fungus residing underneath the infected nail.
- Laser therapy. In the case of difficult fungal nails, we may recommend laser therapy to eradicate the offensive fungus. This state-of-the-art technology uses concentrated light beams (lasers) that target only the fungus and travel through nail tissue (which hits hard-to-reach contaminants). This method is safe (FDA-approved), quick, painless, and performed in our office. After the session—which is less than half an hour—you can go right back to doing your normal daily activities.
An important consideration with all types of toenail fungus treatment is the fact you have a role to play as well. We can put together the plan, but it is up to you to follow the directions for consistent use of medication and taking measures—keeping feet dry and clean, trimming toenails properly, protecting feet in public areas—to prevent reinfection.
As with most lower limb conditions and issues, it’s best to treat fungal toenails early for optimal results. You don’t have to live with embarrassment or be self-conscious because of unsightly nails. Instead, contact Foot Specialists of Long Island today! We will work with you to restore your toenails back to their healthy, clear selves.
In the event you, or one of your loved ones, have a fungal toenail infection, simply call us at (516) 804-9038 and our staff will be glad to help you set up your appointment.