How to Prevent a Fungal Toenail Infection


The same fungi that cause athlete’s foot are also implicated in fungal toenail infections. Since the spread of this organism occurs so gradually, you may not even realize that foot fungus has spread under your toenails until you see the physical changes that have happened to the nail. These include altered shape, brittleness, excessive thickness, yellowish color, and a rather stinky odor.

A severe fungal toenail infection requires the services of your foot care professional to get the best treatment since over the counter treatments are largely ineffective. If conservative treatments like tea tree oil and antifungal medications are not taking care of the problem, surgery may be needed to remove the nail and treat the underlying infection. A new fungus-free nail will grow in after the procedure.

Here are some simple steps you can take to prevent nail fungus

●      Proper nail cutting - Always try to cut your toenails straight across. A leading cause of fungal nails is an ingrown toenail that can break your skin allowing the disease to spread.

●      Clean and dry your feet daily - Fungi grow easily in the sweaty, wet conditions found in your average pair of sneakers. Always wash your feet at least once a day with a mild soap. Dry them carefully, especially between the toes.  Antifungal topical creams and ointments can further reduce the critters.

●      Foot protection - Whenever you use public swimming pools, locker room areas, and showers, wear shower shoes or sandals to decrease contact with microbes.

If you are experiencing a difficult fungal nail infection, your foot care professional can help. At Fit Feet for Life, our team of board-certified podiatrists has access to advanced technologies and years of experience to help diagnose and treat a variety of foot and ankle problems, including heel pain, sports injuries, toe deformities, nail fungus, and plantar warts.  Bonnie Sanchez, DPM, and Gregory Cook, DPM, provide high-quality foot and ankle care to patients in the Tampa/St. Petersburg area at our five offices conveniently located in Sun City Center, Clearwater, St. Petersburg, and our two Tampa locations. Please contact us for more information or to schedule an appointment.