Perhaps you’ve known someone who has had a fungal infection, or maybe you’ve had one. The itching, burning, and pain can significantly impact your day-to-day life. To prevent it from happening again, you must maintain proper foot hygiene. Keep reading to learn how to avoid fungal infections.
What Is Foot Fungus?
You first must know what foot fungus is to understand how to avoid it. Mold-like germs cause a skin infection. These mold-like germs, or dermatophytes, feed on the protein keratin in your skin, hair, and nails. Athlete’s foot is a prime example of foot fungus. Up to 25% of people will get athlete’s foot at some point in their life. Like most foot funguses, the infection will start to grow in between your toes and then progress to the soles and toenails. If you scratch your foot and then another part of your body, it can spread there as well.
Symptoms of athlete’s foot include a scaly, itchy rash on the feet and in between the toes, and (if it spreads to the toenails) discolored nails that become a brownish yellowish. Your toenails will also become thick, brittle, and eventually separate from the nail bed. For some people, this can cause serious health concerns. If you have diabetes or are immune-compromised, you must get foot fungus under control. You see, fungal infections can cause the breakdown of skin, which can lead to certain conditions like foot ulcers and cellulitis.
Getting rid of foot fungus once it reaches your toenails is extremely difficult because the fungus can be resistant to treatment. The treatment itself can take months to work, and even then, there’s a risk of the fungal infection recurring. Prevention is the most important thing you can do to ensure your feet stay healthy.
Wear The Right Shoes
You want to make sure your every-day-shoes fit well. That means they’re not too small or too big. Think of it this way: shoes shouldn’t touch the toenails in any way. Make sure you purchase a good pair of shoes with a wide toe box that won’t cramp your toes.
Choose Breathable Shoes
Fungi love to live in dark, warm, and moist places. That’s why it’s so important to keep your shoes nice and fresh. Pick shoes that have breathable material like leather or canvas. The drier the shoe, the less susceptible you’ll be to foot fungus. This also means letting your shoes air out after use. Invest in a few pairs of shoes, so you don’t have to wear the same pair you wore for yesterday’s workout. You want to give your shoes time to dry before popping them back on.
Don’t Go Barefoot in Public
If you’re going anywhere like a locker room, public pool, shower, or something similar, make sure you bring a pair of flip-flops, water shoes, or shower shoes. These spaces are ripe for fungi that are just waiting to get at your toes. You’ll be protecting your feet from other debris that could cause injury and infection if you’re not careful.
When cleaning your home, make sure to scrub your shower and disinfect it with a bleach-based cleaner. You should also spray your shoes with antibacterial spray (this is paramount if you’ve worn them without socks). Wash all your socks regularly in hot water with bleach. This will kill any fungi lingering around. Finally, wash your feet daily. Make sure to thoroughly dry them afterward, especially between the toes, where moisture tends to get trapped.
Use Antifungal Powder
Sprinkle antifungal powder in your shoes to keep fungi away. You should use the powder in your socks and shoes before each time you wear them to prevent the growth of fungi spores. Your feet have 250,000 sweat glands, so this step is essential in hot weather where your feet tend to sweat more.
Prevent Fungal Infections with The Foot & Ankle Center Schedule regular check-ups at The Foot & Ankle Center to ensure your feet are still in tip-top shape. We can identify and treat various ailments ranging from fungal infections to neuropathy and even complications due to other health conditions like diabetes. If you read our blogs, then you may know some at-home care tactics you can use to keep your feet happy and healthy. However, nothing beats talking with a professional about any concerns you may have. So, request an appointment today!