Summer Fun – Not Summer Fungal Toenail Infections
It is safe to say this has not been a typical summer – or a typical year, for that matter. We’ve all had more than our fair share of stresses and ordeals.
However, that does not mean the summer is a complete waste in our part of Oregon. There is still plenty of fun to be had, even if larger events remain out of the question. There are still private pools for swimming, sprinklers for running through, open parks for picnics, and backyards for barbecues.
We have to be safer about many things for now with the pandemic in the picture, but that does not mean we should lose sight of other matters that need attention. One of them is fungal nails.
Nobody needs extra problems to deal with at any time of the year, and taking steps to prevent the spread of toenail fungus can help ensure one less issue to deal with later.
So enjoy your summer safely, and keep these tips in mind to help your toenails enjoy it clearly, too. These are worth reviewing not only for those who don’t want fungal nails, but also those who currently have them and don’t want to spread them!
Cover Your Feet in Higher-Risk Areas
Public pools and gym locker rooms might not be quite the high-traffic areas they usually are this year, but they still contain the three things fungi love to thrive upon: moisture, low light, and warmth.
If you do happen to visit areas such as these this summer, invest in a good pair of water shoes to protect your feet against picking up any fungal travelers. They will provide the best coverage of your feet by far, and you should only use flip-flops if you absolutely must.
But public areas are not the only places that can present a risk of fungal nail infection. If you have toenail fungus yourself, you should also wear water shoes to help keep your fungus from spreading to others – whether the pool you are in is public or in your own backyard.
The home shower is not something you should be expected to only wear shower shoes in – you do have to actually clean your feet, of course. However, it is still worth considering disinfecting your shower regularly with a bleach-based cleaner.
Mind Moisture in Your Footwear
Many shoes are already warm and not well lit by design. You do have some control over moisture levels, though. Keep them low and fungi will have a much harder time thriving in your footwear.
Opt for breathable footwear that circulates more air around the feet, helping to keep sweat from building up. Leather and canvas are typically trustworthy materials for this purpose.
Open-toed shoes and sandals are also naturals at air circulation, but mind that they fit and support your feet well. Flip-flops for full day use should be entirely out of the question, as they provide no support for your feet at all.
When you have worn a pair of shoes through the day, give them at least 24 hours of drying time before putting them on again. This will mean switching between pairs of shoes each day, but that ultimately extends the life of each pair.
If your shoes get extra damp, a boot dryer can certainly help accelerate things. Similarly, if you’re heavily sweating into your socks, bring a fresh pair to change into midway through the day. It not only limits moisture buildup, but feels a whole lot better, too.
Identify the Early Stages of Fungal Nails
One of the most frequent misfortunes we see regarding fungal nail infections is patients holding off on seeing us until their toenails look truly bad.
The later symptoms of fungal nails are well known:
- White, yellow, or brown discoloration.
- Thick, brittle, crumbling nails.
- A ragged or misshapen appearance.
- Slight foul odor.
However, a fungal nail infection does not start this way. It begins in a much more muted fashion that is more difficult to notice.
In their early stages, fungal toenails often take the appearance of small, whitish streaks or spots on the nail. It’s easy to mistake these for simple bumps or scrapes, but these will not clear up on their own. In fact, they will likely grow larger.
The fungus does not overwhelm a nail immediately. You do not have to identify the first signs of trouble right away to benefit from earlier treatment, but don’t fall into the trap of repeatedly doubting and putting off addressing the problem until things look “bad enough.” By then, the challenge of treatment will be significantly higher.
Start Treatment for Fungal Nails Now
If you do suspect fungal nails and we confirm it, there is no reason not to begin treatment for the condition as soon as possible.
First, waiting longer simply gives the fungus even more time to secure a stronghold within your nail, making it more and more challenging to eradicate.
Second, it still takes time for fresh, clear nail tissue to grow in even when the fungus is fully eradicated. It will take months. Getting started sooner means fresh nails return sooner, ready for future events. (And since many events are postponed for the moment, it’s a good time to get the hard work done!)
At Wilks Advanced Foot Care, we specialized in controlled micro-penetration for antifungal treatment. This treatment safely produces extremely tiny holes in infected nails, allowing antifungal medications a much better chance of diffusing through thickened fungal nails and hitting the fungus where it lives.
We are more than happy to see you take action regarding toenail fungus and any other foot or ankle conditions that may worry you. We continue to take strict measures to create a clean and low exposure risk environment for both our patients and our staff.
Call our Roseburg office at (541) 673-0742 to schedule an appointment with us. If you prefer, you may instead fill out our online appointment request form and a member of our staff will follow up with you during our standard office hours.