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Family Foot & Ankle

Prevent Toenail Fungus from the Start

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This Saturday, November 15, is National Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day. Our trusty refrigerators work hard keeping our food cold and preserved, but even the best fridge won’t save you from that tub of lunchmeat that sat undisturbed in the back corner of the bottom shelf for the last six months.

A little preventative care—checking expiration dates, making sure you don’t forget about items in the back—can save you from a nasty surprise. The same, more or less, goes for your toenails. The difference is, when food goes rotten, you can just throw it away. Toenail fungus is much more stubborn to deal with, so it’s best to make sure it never happens in the first place.

Here are some top prevention tips:

  • Wash your feet daily.
  • Don’t go barefoot in public—wear shower shoes or sandals in hot, moist environments like locker rooms or pool decks, where the fungus thrives.
  • Keep your feet dry. Use powder on your feet after a shower.
  • Always wear clean, dry socks made of an absorbent fabric such as nylon or wool. When they get damp, change them right away.
  • Wear roomy, breathable shoes. Make sure they have time to dry thoroughly before you wear them again—it’s good to have at least two pairs so you can switch between them every other day.
  • Use antifungal spray or powder on your feet and shoes.
  • Give your feet a chance to air out once in a while by wearing open-toed footwear or, going barefoot at home.
  • Never share shoes, socks, or foot care tools (clippers, pedicure equipment, etc.). If you go to the salon for a pedicure, bring your own tools.
  • Avoid nail polish—even clear! It traps moisture and prevents your nails from breathing.

Toenail fungus doesn’t go quietly—these unsightly infections may take months to fully heal, and it may take up to a year or more for the affected nail to fully grow out and away. The fungus is also extra-eager to return, so be vigilant with your preventative care!

If you do notice signs, call Family Foot and Ankle Center at (513) 728-4800 or (859) 282-1572 for an appointment at one of our 6 Greater Cincinnati locations. We won’t help you clean out your refrigerator, but we will help you stop toenail fungus in its tracks and get you on the return route to beautiful, healthy nails.

Dr. Cynthia Miller
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Dr. Cynthia Miller is a board certified podiatrist who has been established in the Cincinnati area since 2004.
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