Your toes and feet aren’t something you may worry about too often — except when you have embarrassing nail fungus. Fungus on your toenails isn’t just embarrassing though; you may also experience pain and discomfort as well. Treatment is necessary to rid yourself of this unsightly condition.
At the Family Foot and Ankle Center of South Jersey, our team are experts in a lot of different foot conditions, including nail fungus. Our practice consists of three foot and ankle specialists who assist you with the treatment for your nail fungus.
What causes nail fungus?
Fungal infections in your toenails are often due to an overpopulation of fungus that’s present on your foot or nails. But why does this happen?
Many types of fungus thrive in warmth and moisture-ridden environments. Your feet are often enclosed in shoes, where it’s both warm and moist. If the environment is just right, the fungus multiplies, creating a toenail fungal infection over time.
The toenail fungus could be due to an overgrowth of fungus that was already present on your body. You can also contract it from places where others with a fungal infection have been. You’re more at risk for contracting a fungal infection if you have any of the following:
- Circulation problems
- Injury to your nail
- Weakened immunity
- Are older than 65
- Have artificial nails
You’re also at risk if you wear closed-toed shoes for a majority of the day, or if you’re often at a public swimming pool. When someone in your family already suffers from nail fungus, you’re also at a higher risk for acquiring it as well.
Can your nail fungus be spread?
The simple answer to this is yes. Toenail fungus is actually very contagious, and can be spread by touching infected surfaces. A common fungus is athlete's foot, which is spread when you step barefoot in an infected area, like a locker room or public space.
This means that if someone has a fungal infection that lives in your home, you run the risk of contracting it as well if you walk barefoot where they’ve been. However, it’s extremely uncommon that you would get a toenail fungus from direct contact with someone who has the condition. It would require constant, very close contact in order for it to be spread.
When you go to get your nails done at a salon, it’s important to know how often and what they use to sanitize their tools. Some of the items that are used, such as nail clippers, can spread fungal infections to you if they’re not properly sanitized.
Tips on preventing toenail fungus
If you’re at an increased risk for toenail fungal infections, it’s important that you take the steps necessary to prevent this condition. While fungal infections can be treated using medications and topical creams, they can take awhile to go away.
There also aren’t many reliable over-the-counter treatments either, so the best thing you can do is know how to prevent the fungus from even starting. Here are a few tips on how you can keep your toenails fungus-free:
- Avoid being barefoot in public areas
- Keep your toenails trimmed and clean
- Dry your feet well and keep them dry
- Thoroughly wash your hands after touching a nail with fungus
- Limit use of nail polish and artificial nails
If you enjoy getting your nails done at a salon, you don’t have to stop. However, you should make sure the salon is reputable, and that they sanitize their instruments on a regular basis.
Following these guidelines can greatly reduce your risk of getting a toenail fungal infection. But it doesn’t diminish it completely. If you’re worried about your risk, it’s best to see our doctors to formulate a prevention plan.
If you’re suffering from nail fungus and need treatment, call our office in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, today at 856-266-9572 to schedule a consultation. You can also book an appointment online by sending us a message on our website.