1. A Family History of Toenail Fungus
“Toenail fungal infection can be affected by heredity and some families are more prone to it than others. In these cases, toenail fungus is sometimes seen at an earlier age” . According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, toenail fungus is most common in men over age 60. If you have a family history of toenail fungal infections, take time to inspect your feet daily and see a podiatrist if you suspect toenail fungus.
2. Toenail Fungus and Other Health Conditions
Some chronic medical conditions may increase the risk of a toenail fungal infection. These include a history of poor circulation, diabetes, the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), or any other illness that may compromise your immune system or interfere with blood flow to your toes. If you have a chronic health condition, take extra precautions to keep your feet clean and dry.
3. Boots and Toenail Fungus
Your job could be putting you in jeopardy of a toenail fungal infection, especially if you’re required to wear sturdy, heavy boots with poor ventilation. These shoes create a warm, sweaty environment that’s perfect for the development of toenail fungus. Any occupation that causes or allows the feet to become sweaty or wet puts the worker at risk for a toenail fungal infection. Organisms that cause both toenail fungus and athlete’s foot grow and thrive in a dark, moist place.
To help minimize the risk of toenail fungus, alternate several pairs of work boots or shoes and allow each pair to dry after wearing. Also be sure to change your socks frequently — even during the workday — so that feet stay dry.
4. Tight Shoes and Toenail Fungus
Wearing closed-toe shoes, especially those that are narrow in the toe box, can cause trauma to your toenails, which can weaken your nails and make them more susceptible to a toenail fungal infection. When you have to wear a closed-toe shoe, choose footwear that offers plenty of room for your toes to move without being pinched. Or opt for shoes that allow your feet to breathe. Any open-toed shoe or flip-flop will allow light and air circulation and will help prevent toenail fungus.
5. Locker Rooms and Toenail Fungus
If you’re a swimmer, you needn’t worry about a chlorinated pool increasing your risk of toenail fungus, but the locker room is another story. Wet, humid areas are prime for breeding for toenail fungal infections. “Swimmers should always wear foot gear in the locker rooms and showers” . Also, dry your feet thoroughly after swimming and showering and before slipping back into your regular shoes.
6. Runners and Toenail Fungus
Toenail fungal infections are often a health issue for runners. “Distance runners sweat quite a bit”. And sweaty socks and tight running shoes create the perfect moist environment for the growth of toenail fungus. Try using special socks that wick away moisture to keep feet dry. It’s also smart to alternate running shoes and allow each pair to dry out completely between wearings.
7. Hosiery and Toenail Fungus
Wearing pantyhose can lead to sweaty feet and the potential for a toenail fungal infection. “Nylon hosiery doesn’t absorb sweat, so when wearing hosiery inside a shoe, there’s an increased chance of fungal growth”. If you must wear hosiery, put some antiperspirant or baby powder on your feet before slipping into your stockings. This will help reduce sweating and the chance of fungus growing.