At the first hint of warmer weather, you may be inclined to pull out your favorite sandals or open-toed shoes. But, when you go to put them on, you notice that one of your nails is a brownish gray color and the nail looks thick and a little crumbly at the edges. This could be a fungal toenail infection—a condition that we at Benenati Foot& Ankle Care Centers see fairly frequently.
How Do You Get a Fungal Infection?
Fungal infections are spread by direct contact. Your foot touches something that has been contaminated or someone who has an infection. Fortunately, this makes preventing fungal infections fairly simple. Some tips for avoiding them include:
- Keep feet covered whenever you are at a public facility where people tend to walk barefoot. Use shower shoes or flip flops at the gym, town pool, beach bathrooms and changing areas and at the nail salon.
- Never share socks, shoes, nail clippers, nail files, towels, soap or anything that touches another person’s foot.
- If someone in your family has a fungal nail infection, be sure to keep that family member’s personal care items separate and disinfect the shower or tub after each use.
- Wash your feet every day with soap and water.
- Apply an anti-fungal or talcum powder each morning before you put your socks and shoes on.
- Fungal infections thrive in damp, closed in spaces. For this reason, it’s important not to let your feet sit in damp socks. As soon as you perceive that they are sweaty, change them.
What to Do
Fungal infections may not be painful—but they are contagious and can even spread to other parts of your own body. A fungal toenail infection that is not treated may lead to a yeast or bacterial infection in the nail bed which could be quite painful and even limit your mobility. For this reason, it’s essential that you make an appointment at our Macomb (586) 416-3668, St. Clair Shores (586) 779-6140 or Warren (586) 756-3338 office as soon as possible. Our podiatrists, Dr. Anthony Benenati, Dr. Neil Shaw and Dr. Adam Thompson will examine your toenail and determine if a fungal infection is present and then, prescribe the appropriate treatment.