For those suffering from toenail fungus, wearing sandals can be a great way to keep feet dry and cool, while also protecting the soles of the feet. Symptoms of toenail fungus include swelling, yellowing, thickening or crumbling of the nail, stripes or spots on the sides of the nail, and even total nail loss. The color of the toenails can range from brown or yellow to white. Other risk factors include abnormal skin pH levels, lack of total foot dryness after bathing or exercising, and weakening of the immune system, especially among diabetics. If you have diabetes, it is important to have your feet cut and debrided by a podiatrist.
Additionally, washing your feet regularly and drying them thoroughly is essential. Toenail polish should be avoided as it can hold back fungi and allow them to grow. Keeping toenails trimmed and disinfecting pedicure tools before use is also recommended. If you have toenail fungus, your podiatrist may remove as much of your toenail as possible by trimming, filing or dissolving it. You may be prescribed medicinal nail polishes for a localized infection, but a serious infection is likely to be treated with a prescription oral antifungal medication.
Medications can have side effects, so it is important to work closely with your doctor on your treatment plan. In severe cases, surgical removal of the nail may be recommended. After treatment for toenail fungus has been completed, any shoes, boots, skates, and other types of footwear that were worn before starting treatment should be discarded. Fungi can live in footwear and cause another infection. If your shoes are expensive or new, you can disinfect them with an ultraviolet (UV) shoe disinfectant or an ozone cabinet. Having diabetes, circulation problems, or a weakened immune system greatly increases the risk of getting foot and toenail fungus.
The main factors that provoke the appearance of toenail fungus are mechanical pressures caused by poorly fitting shoes and humidity. Toenail fungus can be contracted in humid areas such as public gyms, showers, or swimming pools, and can be transmitted between family members. Fungal infections can affect both fingernails and toenails, but toenail fungus is harder to treat because toenails grow more slowly. Well-fitting shoes not only provide skeletal and muscle support but they also help prevent a variety of foot problems such as calluses, hammertoes, circulation problems, and even toenail fungus. Prevention methods include wearing protective shoes or sandals in public showers, pools, and gyms; avoiding sharing shoes, socks or towels with people who have toenail fungus; and keeping feet dry after bathing or exercising. If you have just finished treating nail fungus and you wear your shoes barefoot, you can return them to your nails after you have treated them.
Toenail fungus usually starts at pressure points where toes are pressed against shoes increasing tension. For people who have postponed treatment and have a serious case of toenail fungus there are options such as prescription oral pills and laser treatments to remove the damaged area of the nail or skin. While toenail fungus is unsightly it can be cured with proper care and medication; then prevent it from coming back. The general treatment and prevention of fungal foot infections don't really change with respect to the specific fungus causing the problem.