From rest stops to college dorms, any shower can contain multiple forms of bacteria and fungi. Even the cleanest showers can be growing as much as 25 forms of bacteria. This is an issue that can be resolved, but fungal nails can lead to unsightly and even painful toes.
Fungal nails occur when a fungus attacks a fingernail, toenail, or the skin under the nail (nail bed). Fungi attacks your nails through small cuts in the skin around the nail or through the opening between the nail and nail bed. In those who are healthy this may not cause serious problems, but it may look unattractive and eventually lead to pain and damage the nail. In an individual with diabetes or weakened immune system, it may cause serious problems if a fungal nail infection is contracted. Fortunately, Dr. Jamshidinia, a board certified podiatrist, specializes in treatment and prevention for such infections.
According to a report published on WebMD, dermatophytes cause almost all fungal toenail infections. Dermatophytes are a type of fungus that can grow on skin, hair and nails. Infection can occur when individuals come into contact with objects that have dermatophytes on them, such as clothing, shoes, nail clippers, showers and locker room floors and carpet. Without treatment, fungal nail infections get worse, infecting the nail and the surrounding skin. If treated early, the bacteria life may shorten and increase chances of being cured.
Causes of Fungal Nails
Along with contact from dermatophytes, yeast build up and molds can cause toenail fungus. Other forms that cause fungal nails include:
- Improper footwear, tight fitting shoes
- Medical conditions, such as diabetes and blood circulation
- Layered toenail polish
- Not enough air for feet to breathe
- Unclean materials at nail salons
People suffering from other medical conditions are at a higher risk of contracting toenail fungus. Having your feet checked by your podiatrist often will ensure healthy feet.
How you can get fungal nails?
Anyone that comes into contact with fungus can get a fungal nail infection. Fungi grow best in warm, moist areas around the toes. If a person is susceptible to fungal infections, they are likely to return, especially if preventive steps are not taken into consideration. Other practices of getting fungus include:
- Walking barefoot on public floors or showers
- Sharing towels, socks, or shoes with someone who has fungus
- Improper cleansing
How to Protect Yourself from Fungal Nails:
There are a number of habits that everyone can follow in order to prevent spreading and contracting fungus. It is necessary to practice the following habits for proper foot care, which include:
- Wear sandals or shower shoes when showering in communal showers and saunas at the gym, dorms and rest stops
- Wash feet, even between the toes, with soap and water and dry thoroughly
- Keep nails clean and short
- Never share towels, clothing or shoes with other people
- Do not walk barefoot in public floor areas
- Avoid use of sweaty socks, wear only after completely dry
- Wash and air out all sports shoes regularly
- Keep your shower and tub clean
- Do not urinate while showering or bathing
Dr. Jamshidinia – Your LA Foot Doc – Helps Keep Your Family Fungus Free!
How to Treat Fungal Nails:
Your podiatrist will determine the proper methods of treatment depending on how severe the case and extent of the infection. Surgical removal is a last resort if the infected toenail cannot be saved. Oral antifungal medication may be prescribed, such as Sporanox or Lamisil.
Home remedies can help treat and even remove nail fungus. Soaking feet in vinegar and water for 15 to 20 minutes everyday can prevent the growth of certain bacteria. Some patients have even applied Vicks VapoRub and proved to be effective. Over the counter foot powder can relieve itchy or dry feet. Consult with your podiatrist to develop a plan of healthy treatment practices at home.
Avoiding nail polish during the healing process is recommended to enhance the healing process.
Fungal nail infections can cause pain, discomfort and embarrassment if left untreated. Dr. Jamshidinia shows his patients what needs to be done to cure and prevent infection. Avoid going barefoot in public places to ensure healthy feet. Being in control of your feet is simple. Put your best foot forward and avoid fungal nails.