No one wants to get toenail fungus, but it’s nothing to be embarrassed about. It can happen to anyone, no matter how dedicated you are to hygiene.
Toenail fungus is a common condition, and likely more common than you realize. In fact, about 10% of the population has it, and many people are not aware of it. The good news is that can be easily treated.
What Causes Toenail Fungus?
Dermatophyte fungus is most commonly responsible for toenail infections. Molds and yeasts can also be a cause for the condition. Fungi live in warm and moist environments such as in showers, pools, and even in your running shoes. They can get into your skin through tiny cuts and abrasions or through the small separation between your toenail and nail bed. Toenail fungus is most common if your nails are exposed to moist, warm conditions.
Fungus is more common in toenails than in fingernails because your toes are commonly in socks and shoes, without proper ventilation, often for long periods of time throughout the day.
What Are The Signs You May Have Toenail Fungus?
There are a number of common signs that you may have toenail fungus. They include:
- Thickening of the toenail
- If the nail becomes brittle or ragged
- If the nail becomes dull or loses its shine
- A distortion of the nail shape
- A dark color builds up under the nail
- The nail becomes separated from the nail bed
- Pain in the nail
- Foul odor
If you have any of these symptoms, you may have toenail fungus and require treatment.
What Can I Do To Prevent It?
Follow these steps to help prevent toenail fungus:
- Avoid going barefoot in public places
- Don’t pick at the skin around your toenails
- Choose nail salons wisely
- Wash your hands and feet regularly
- Keep your nails short
- Choose high quality socks that absorb sweat and moisture
- Avoid wearing old shoes, if possible
- Consider using an antifungal spray in your shoes
Who Is At Risk Of Getting Toenail Fungus?
There are a large number of factors that can increase your risk of coming down with a case of toenail fungus. Here are some of the most common:
- A family history of toenail fungus
- You are over 65 years old
- You wear fake nails
- You regularly swim in public pools
- You have a cut or nail injury
- Working in humid or moist environments
- You have diabetes or circulation issues
- You live with someone who has nail fungus
- You have athletes foot
As you can see, there are many potential causes of getting toenail fungus. They key is to look out for these common signs and take action if you suspect you have it.
Learn about our toenail fungus treatment options.