A toenail fungus infection results when fungi (dermatophytes) enter the nail through a small opening. The fungi grow best in a warm moist environment, such as damp socks or shoes. Because the toenails do not have a good blood supply, it is hard for the immune system to rid the body of the infection on its own.
• Trimming your nails straight across.
• Keeping your nails clean and dry.
• Using an antifungal spray or powder daily.
• Wearing shoes in public showers, locker rooms, and pool surrounds.
• Discontinuing the use of nail polish. Nail polish can trap fungus and promote an infection.
Am I at Risk
The fungus that causes toenail infections thrives in warm damp areas, including public areas, such as locker rooms, showers, gyms, and pool surrounds. Walking barefoot increases the likelihood of contact with the fungus. Toenail fungus infections occur most frequently in older adults and men.
Risk factors for toenail fungus infections include:
• If your family members have toenail fungus, you are at risk for having it too.
• Certain medical conditions, such as diabetes or a compromised immune system.