Onychomycosis. This rather ominous word is the medical term for a seemingly mundane problem — toenail fungus. While fungal nails may not exactly constitute a medical emergency, the condition can be incredibly stubborn to deal with once it takes hold, sending people on a months-long, if not years-long, battle to regain toenail health.
At AllCare Foot & Ankle Center, our team of foot health experts firmly believes that the best way to navigate toenail fungus is to avoid the problem altogether. To that end, we’ve pulled together a few valuable tips that will keep onychomycosis at bay.
Any time you’re in a public place that features a damp environment (think public swimming pools or locker rooms), make sure your feet don’t come into contact with the floor, where the fungi lurk. Instead, wear flip-flops or water shoes in these areas to create a barrier between your feet and the floor.
If you’ve finally declared victory over a fungal infection, get rid of any socks or shoes that could have come into contact with the fungus. These organisms can live for long periods in socks and shoes and re-infect your toenails easily.
We recommend that you thoroughly clean and dry your feet each day — before you hop into bed is a great time. If you’ve been active and your feet have become sweaty or dirty, we recommend washing and drying thoroughly right away.
Each time you wear a pair of socks, don’t reuse them afterward. Instead, throw them into the laundry and get a clean pair. That is especially important if you’re active and your socks are damp with sweat.
After you wear a pair of shoes for any length of time, set them outside to air and dry out completely before putting them on again.
After you trim or file your toenails, discard disposable emery boards and sterilize metal clippers and files with rubbing alcohol.
If you’re in the locker room and need a towel, don’t grab anyone else’s — toenail fungus is highly contagious, and fungi are always looking for a new host. It’s better to let your feet air dry than use someone else’s towels. By the same token, it’s better to go barefoot than wear someone else’s socks or shoes.
Toenail fungus takes hold gradually, often starting as a simple white or yellowish spot on your nail. The moment you spot an irregularity, it’s essential to come to see us so that we can prevent the fungus from spreading and threatening your entire nail, as well as neighboring toenails.
If you’d like to learn more about preventing toenail fungus or the treatments we offer for a fungal infection, please contact one of our locations in Arlington or Dallas, Texas, to set up an appointment.