big toe with yellow toenail fungusOnychomycosis, also known as toenail fungus, is an infection underneath the nail. When the fungi take hold in the toenail, they can then spread to other parts of the body. For this reason, you should never ignore onychomycosis. If you are prone to this problematic infection, there are steps you can take at home to prevent a recurrence.

What Causes Onychomycosis?

There are certain conditions that lend themselves to toenail fungus, including aging, humidity, and skin diseases. You can even be genetically predisposed to it. Since it is more difficult to protect our feet from fungi and other toxins that can spread from the ground, our toenails are vulnerable to various damp environments like swimming pools, locker rooms, and showers. If your toenail gets injured, it will become more susceptible to infection. This can occur from something as simple as improperly sized shoes. Those who have diabetes or circulation issues are also prone to fungal infections.

What Are the Symptoms?

Individuals with toenail fungus may notice a change in color or shape of the nail, which usually tends to be the big toe. It might look thick and yellow or white and brittle. Onychomycosis is not immediately painful, so it is important to look for these physical characteristics. Pain is a symptom that will usually occur after it has spread to other nails.

How Can Toenail Fungus Be Prevented at Home? 

As scary as toenail fungus may seem, there are fortunately steps you can take to prevent occurrences. These include:

  • Keep your toenails short to reduce bacteria accumulation.
  • Wear breathable shoes to reduce sweat by allowing more airflow.
  • Wear cotton socks because socks made out of other fabrics are more likely to trap moisture.
  • Wear flip-flops in public showers or on pool decks. This separation between your feet and the ground can reduce the risk of bacterial infection.
  • Do not share socks or shoes with others.
  • Ensure you have the proper nutrition to strengthen your immune system. This will not prevent onychomycosis but could make it easier to recover from it.

If you suspect you have toenail fungus, it is important to see a podiatrist immediately. Prompt treatment can prevent further infection and spare you both pain and issues beyond your toenails. Do not delay in seeking out medical care, as toenail fungus will rarely clear up without intervention.

At InStride Carolina Podiatry, we have experienced podiatrists ready to help. Give us a call to make an appointment today.