Toenail fungus is a common problem. Below are tips to help prevent toenail fungus:

  • Keep your toenails trimmed short. This helps prevent debris from building up under the nails and minimizes the risk of nail injuries. Cut your nails straight across to keep them strong and avoid ingrown toenails.
  • Wear shoes that fit properly. They should never touch your toenails. In addition, alternate the shoes you wear every day so that they can air out before you wear them again.
  • Choose breathable footwear. Fungus thrives in warm, moist areas, like in hot sweaty shoes. Wear sandals whenever possible, and if you have to wear socks, choose ones that wick moisture away from your skin.
  • Use anti-fungal sprays or powders. Spray or sprinkle it inside your shoes and on your socks before putting your shoes on to control sweat that can prompt fungal infections. This is especially important in hot weather or before a workout.
  • Avoid going barefoot in public facilities like pools and locker rooms. Even when taking a shower in a public place, it’s important to wear shower shoes or flip flops, as the fungus that causes athlete’s foot, ringworm and other skin conditions may be on the floor.
  • Never wear someone else’s shoes, or share nail clippers and files. If you go to a nail salon for a pedicure, look around to make sure that staff are sanitizing tools and thoroughly disinfecting footbaths before each use, or use your own footbath. If the salon does not appear clean, move on.

Nail fungus can take up to a year to clear, so it’s important to begin treatment as soon as it is diagnosed. Most fungal nail infections require prescription anti-fungal medications. If you notice a problem with your nails, see a board-certified dermatologist right away.