A fungal toenail infection can take a long time to develop, and you may not even notice there’s a problem until the toenail starts to discolor and become thicker and more brittle. While there are various topical and oral medications available for treating the infection, the best course of action is to avoid the condition in the first place and destroy any existing microbes in your shoes and on your feet.
Some excellent tips to prevent a fungal toenail infection include the following:
- Keep your feet clean and dry—Wash and dry your feet at least once a day, and be sure to change your socks when they get too moist. By allowing your shoes to dry out between wearing, you can decrease moisture and prevent microbial growth.
- Cut your toenails properly—Cutting your toenails a little long and straight across will help prevent the sharp edge of the toenail from cutting into the skin next to the nail. Preventing ingrown toenails will help prevent the fungus from getting under the toenail and causing an infection.
- Wear breathable footwear and socks—Lighter weight socks made of breathable, moisture-wicking fibers will help keep feet dryer. Wear shoes made with Gore-Tex or similar material to keep your feet cooler and allow moisture to evaporate.
- Protect your feet from contact with fungal organisms—Wear protective footwear like sandals or shower shoes in public locker rooms and showers.
If you are experiencing toenail thickening and the horrible smell of fungal toenail infection, see your foot doctor for more advanced care. At Your Next Step, our team of board-certified podiatrists has access to advanced technologies, along with years of experience, to help diagnose and treat a variety of foot and ankle problems, including sports injuries, joint pain, toe deformities, nail fungus, chronic tendon pain, and skin problems. Dr. Eric Ricefield, Dr. Mark Yagodich, and Dr. Aliza V. Eisen provide high-quality foot and ankle care to patients in the greater Philadelphia area at our offices conveniently located in Ardmore, Paoli, and Downingtown, PA. Please contact us for more information or to schedule an appointment.