Having toenail fungus is, unfortunately, not like having chickenpox. You’re not fully immune from a fungal infection once you’ve already dealt with it. There’s still a significant risk it can return if you don’t take steps to prevent it!
You likely know how challenging it can be to eradicate fungal toenails – although we’re proud to provide laser treatment that offers significant advantages over topical medications, even after a fungus is fully gone, the damage it leaves to your nails remains until the nail can grow in new, clear nail tissue to replace it.
Nobody wants to go through that process again; and we certainly don’t want you to have to, either!
Fortunately, reducing your risk of getting fungal toenails again is relatively simple. Here are some effective tips to follow (and they’re great for anyone who has never had fungal toenails yet, too).
Protect Your Feet in High-Risk Areas
What’s a recipe for a high-risk area? It has all the things that fungus love:
- Lower light
- Plenty of bare feet to hitch rides on
Locker rooms, gyms, public showers, and poolsides all tend to qualify, but you can reduce your risk of picking up a fungal passenger by keeping your feet covered.
Water shoes and aqua socks are ideal footwear, as they tend to cover the entire foot. However, shower shoes and sandals still provide some protection, and even flip-flops are better than nothing in a pinch (although it’s easy to slip out of them while walking).
Keep Your Shoes and Socks Dry
You can avoid warm, damp, and dim environments around you, but the inside of your shoes can fit the bill for fungus rather well, too.
Take steps to make your shoes and socks more inhospitable for fungus. That means keeping them dry as best you can.
Try to switch between pairs of shoes every 24 hours. Give the last pair of shoes you wore time to air dry, or put them on a shoe dryer if you don’t have that much time.
Also, keep your socks dry as best you can. If your feet tend to sweat profusely and your socks are soaked by the middle of the day, bring an extra pair of dry socks with you to switch into. Not only does it lower your fungus risk, but it will keep you feeling more comfortable as well.
It can also be helpful to wear socks made of materials that wick moisture away from your feet instead of holding it close to them. Merino wool and many synthetic fibers like nylon are often good for this job. Standard cotton socks, unfortunately, tend to be terrible.
And if the rate at which your feet sweat bothers you, please don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with us about it. We may be able to help.
Use Antifungal Products
Give your feet and shoes an extra dose of protection by using antifungal sprays and powders.
Make sure to use each product as directed, and not to go overboard with them. Filling your shoes with powder can be uncomfortable, and even lead to problems such as blisters and calluses if your feet are sliding around in your shoes too much.
Trim Your Toenails Properly
Keeping your nails well-trimmed helps provide less opportunity for fungus to infiltrate, and can also help keep your nails from snagging on socks and other items to become torn.
Keep your toenails short but leave a little bit of white at the edge. Trying to trim too far can risk injuring your nails and nail bed, which can open the way for infections of not only fungal but bacterial varieties as well. It also increases your risk of ingrown toenails.
Wash and Dry Your Feet Regularly
One of the simplest things you can do for your feet remains the most effective.
Wash your feet daily, using a mild soap and a washcloth. (In other words, don’t just stand and let soapy water run over your feet. That’s not enough.)
Make sure to wash tops and bottoms and between your toes, and then to dry all these places effectively, too. Slipping into your socks and shoes with damp feet is already starting you at a disadvantage against fungus risk.
Don’t Share Items with Others
Socks, shoes, toenail clippers, and anything else that frequently touches your feet should never be shared with others – and you shouldn’t use the items that anyone else owns, either.
Fight Toenail Fungus Effectively
Fungal toenails can be preventable if you make smart decisions. Of course, there is always at least a small chance that an infection will occur despite your best efforts, but taking corrective steps will aid in avoiding the infection altogether.
Whether you think you might have fungal nails or have been dealing with the thick, discolored, brittle landscape of your nails for some time, we are always happy to help you fight back against any skin and nail condition.
Schedule an appointment at our Massapequa office by calling (516) 804-9038 or by filling out our online contact form.