Toenail fungus is a fungus that grows in the nail bed. Fungus thrives in warm, damp environments, and the toenail bed is an ideal breeding ground for it.
Toenail fungus is common, roughly half of all discolored toenails are caused by fungus. However, if left untreated, this condition can worsen, causing pain –and discoloration. Toenail fungus starts as a white or yellow spot under the nail. As it goes deeper, it causes the nail to become discolored, to thicken, and crumble.
Your best defense again toenail fungus, is to take measures to help prevent it from occurring in the first place.
- Dry Feet
Toenail fungus thrives in warm, damp environments. Keeping your toes dry is the best way to prevent fungus from growing and spreading. Dry your feet after showers. If you are athletic, you may also want to consider using antibacterial foot powder.
- Clean Socks
While it may sound basic, keeping your socks clean and disinfected can help prevent the spreading of fungus, as well as kill any lingering bacteria. Add some bleach when washing your socks to help destroy fungus.
- Protect Your Nails
Try to keep your toes free from trauma. While you wouldn’t purposely stub your toe, doing so can open your nailbed up for infection. Once there is a cut in your nailbed, there is an opening and a chance for fungus to easily get in and start growing. If you scrub your nails, be sure that the bristles aren’t doing damage to the nails.
- Make Sure Your Shoes Aren’t Too Tight
Try to make sure there’s enough room in your shoes to stretch your toes.
- Boost Your Immune System
A compromised immune system can also make you more susceptible to fungal infections. Try to eat healthy, reduce stress, and make sure you’re getting enough sleep.
While prevention is always ideal, sometimes fungus occurs despite your best efforts. When it comes to toe nail fungus, it’s best to start treatment as soon as possible. The sooner you start treatment, the better success you will have at treating it.