Unattractive toenails can be a seriously embarrassing problem, leading to individuals feeling self-conscious, especially if getting their feet out in public is a requirement; unsightly feet are usually signs of a fungal nail infection. If your toenails start to become crusty, thick, or yellow/brown in colour, the problem is beyond cosmetic. Fungal nail infections, or onychomycosis, is a common condition that can spread from your toenails to your feet as athlete’s foot.
If you are one of many suffering from a fungal nail infection, you may be wondering what it is and how you can get rid of it! Onychomycosis can be increasingly difficult to resolve at home; therefore, if you suspect you have a case of it, you should get it professionally diagnosed and treated as soon as possible. If you are experiencing some toe pain and are unsure what it could be, contact us to book an appointment and take a look at our blog titled “Why does my toe hurt?”
What are the most common causes of fungal nail infections?
Your toenails are composed of 80% hard keratin and 20% soft keratin. Keratin is also in your skin and hair. Dermatophytes are the fungus profound for causing onychomycosis. This type of fungi feeds on keratin to grow and multiply.
Dermatophytes love warm, moist environments, such as:
- Public swimming pools
- Changing rooms
Onychomycosis is highly contagious when dermatophytes find their way to your feet due to exposure the fungi consume the keratin by breaking it down into smaller particles. You may also experience fungal toenails as a result of being more susceptible to foot problems, especially those that have foot problems due to diabetes, poor circulation and weakened immune systems.
How can toenail fungus be prevented?
Wear flip flops or sandals – This is especially important when in public places; keeping your feet off a wet floor can reduce your risk of coming in contact with foot fungus, leading to athlete’s foot and toenail fungus.
Keep your feet clean and dry – Wash your feet daily and towel them dry thoroughly, taking care not to forget to dry between your toes.
Foot powder and clean socks – Foot powder on the tops of your toes, in between them, and on the soles of your feet absorbs excess moisture. Furthermore, you should always wear clean socks and change them daily.
Trim your toenails – Keeping your toenails neatly trimmed and straight across can prevent sharp edges that could injure your nail bed or become ingrown, allowing your toes to become more susceptible to fungal infections.
Wear breathable footwear – Breathable, natural footwear and socks may also help reduce your risk of onychomycosis. Ensure your shoes are not too tight and give your toes plenty of space to move around.
If you suspect you have toenail fungus, don’t wait to seek professional treatment. Podiatrists have all the correct answers to your fungal nail problem; with several different treatment options, it’s sure to be easy to find a solution that best suits you!