Best Ways to Prevent Toenail Fungus

Most people think they will never get toenail fungus, but toenail fungus can be fairly common, especially in the summer months. But what exactly is toenail fungus and why do people get it?

Toenail fungus is exactly what it sounds like, it is an infection of the toenail and the skin around the toes. The fungus grows and spreads through cracks in the nail or cuts in the skin.

The first signs of a toenail fungus infection include a white or yellow spot under the tip of the nail. As the infection goes untreated, the nail will begin to lose its color, thicken, become unshapely, and crumble at the edges. It’s possible for the fungus to spread to other toes, and even affect the skin around the nail. So it’s best to treat the infected nail(s) as soon as possible.

But not to worry! There are many different ways to prevent toenail fungus, and we’ve compiled the best methods for you below.

Trim Your toenails

By keeping your toenails trimmed, you could prevent the toenail fungus from creeping in through a crack in the nail. Keep the nails neat and shorter than the end of the toe. Make sure the clippers, files, and pedicure tools you use are sanitized and kept clean. You can wipe your tools down with rubbing alcohol to kill any lingering bacteria after washing them with soap and water. And avoid sharing your foot care tools with other people!

Keep Your Feet Dry

The best way to prevent acquiring toenail fungus is to keep your feet nice and dry—especially in between the toes. The fungus that causes toenail fungus thrives in warm, moist environments. So make sure to wear socks that provide moisture wicking to keep your feet dry. Wear shoes that have breathable fabric or soles. Avoid wearing the same shoes every day, as the soles could absorb sweat and become hotbeds for fungus.

Use Antifungal Products

Prevention is key when it comes to toenail fungus. By using an antifungal powder or cream, you could not only prevent getting toenail fungus, but keep your feet dry and smelling great! If you suspect that you already have toenail fungus, using an antifungal product could help you stop the infection from spreading to your skin or other toes.

Avoid Walking Barefoot

Walking barefoot should be avoided at all costs, especially in public facilities. Fungus thrives in warm, wet environments like locker rooms or pools. Walking barefoot could mean picking up the fungus through broken skin or cracked nails, so ensure you wear shower shoes or flip flops to prevent infection.

Preventing toenail fungus can be done by following just a few, simple steps. If you currently have toenail fungus, call (713) 526-0600 to schedule an appointment at Codwell Family Foot Center. Before coming in, be sure to review the forms needed for your first appointment.   

Skin Conditions of the Feet: What to Look Out For

There are many different skin conditions that can affect your feet for any number of reasons. If you are have a consistent rash or even small lesions on your foot or feet it could be a viral, bacterial or fungal infection. In these cases, it’s important to seek medical attention from a podiatrist so they can make the proper diagnosis.

Diagnosis

Some skin conditions are more common than others. Athlete’s foot, for example, is easy to diagnose because it’s so common. Other conditions have similar characteristics to each other, which can make them difficult to diagnose and treat with over-the-counter products alone. That’s where the aid of an experienced podiatrist like Dr. John Codwell III becomes so valuable. He will look at your medical history and physical symptoms along with the size, shape, and location of lesions or rashes can help to pinpoint the exact cause. Once Dr. Codwell is able to find a cause, treatment can begin.

Common Types of Skin Conditions that Affect the Feet

Toenail Fungus

If your toenails are thickening, discolored or you’ve noticed changes to the nail texture, it’s possible you have a fungal infection. Left undiagnosed, toenail fungal infections can extend through the nail and affect the skin below. It becomes very difficult to treat at this point.

Corns and calluses

If you are experiencing thickened areas of the skin on your foot, it could be corns or calluses. These occur when pressure from the bony parts of your feet rub against the shoes. Treating corns and calluses by yourself may be harmful, especially if you have diabetes.

Plantar warts

Plantar warts typically present as small skin growths on the bottoms of your feet. Thees small warts are typically caused by viruses. In some cases, plantar warts can be painful and they can also spread quite easily, so treatment is important. Over-the-counter products rarely completely cure warts, which means it is important to visit your podiatrist for proper care.

Athlete’s Foot

Tinea Pedis — or athlete’s foot as it’s more commonly known — is a fungal infection that can be picked up by simply stepping barefoot in the same place as someone else who has the condition. While athlete’s foot is easy to spread, it can also be be attributed to the amount of time our feet spend in warm, dark, humid places like your shoes. These environments are are perfect for fungus to grow.

To prevent infections, it’s important to always keep your feet clean and dry. If your skin condition does not go away within two weeks, talk to your podiatrist at Codwell Family Foot Center. Contact us today at our Houston, TX office to schedule an appointment. Dr. John Codwell and his experienced team will work with you to diagnose and find a proper treatment option for the skin condition affecting your feet.