Foot and nail fungus is an embarrassing issue, so we rarely hear it discussed. But fungal infections affect almost 10% of the adult population, and Athlete’s foot affects more than 15% of the population, so we think it’s a discussion worth having despite societal taboos.
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You may be at a higher risk of toenail infection or fungal infection depending on several factors – older age, male sex, and circulatory system diseases including high blood pressure and diabetes. There is also a genetic factor – 75% of children are predisposed to the same fungal infections that their parents are susceptible to.
Fungal spores are very prevalent – they’re in your backyard as well as your gym, and could just as easily be in your carpet and not the soccer cleats you haven’t washed in two years. While they are more common in those communal, moist and dark areas, you really can pick them up from anywhere.
Because of this, the main preventative measures you can take to avoid fungal infection taking hold mostly involve creating environments on your feet and in your shoes where fungus is unable to grow. Fungus requires a moist, darkened environment, along with quite a large amount of time to fully take root.
Avoid giving foot and toenail fungus the time and space it needs to grow by avoiding direct contact with the environments where they thrive, such as by wearing flip flops at your local swimming pool and gym when you’re in the locker rooms or showers, and by making sure that whenever you get your feet wet, you dry and powder them immediately afterward.
This extends to shoes and socks as well. Consistently wearing moist shoes and socks gives foot and nail fungus a perfect environment to develop, so launder your socks consistently, and take necessary steps to dry out athletic shoes and other footwear whenever they get wet.
While fungal infections aren’t life threatening, especially toenail infections, they’re inconvenient, ugly, and often quite uncomfortable. There are many different treatments on the market, and we’ll take a look at a couple of your options now.
For serious cases of toenail and foot fungus, we do recommend visiting a doctor. Recent developments have created very effective oral treatments such as Sporanox and Lamisil that can be prescribed to you by a doctor, and usually have a 12-week to three month treatment period. If you feel your case is very developed, there’s no substitute for seeing a doctor.
However, if you prefer to treat yourself, or are being treated by a doctor but want to do some more treatments yourself, there are plenty of useful products out there for you.
Laser devices are preferred by some people for their portability and lightweight design, and they’re suitable both for foot and fingernail treatments. Products in this category include the Amazon.com: Cure Ex Nail Fungus Treatment Laser Device by Medical Quant:
And the HNC Fungus Treatment Laser Device by HNC:
These devices deliver home treatment by bombarding the fungus with powerful lasers that inhibit growth, and are usually used for a few weeks with 7 minutes of daily treatment for each affected nail, with no pain, cleanup, or medical visits necessary.
Supplements such as this Fungus Stop Nail Solution Kit provide both oral supplements and a liquid topical solution that has proven antifungal properties, and it makes a great complement to a doctor-prescribed treatment regimen, or a laser treatment regimen.
If you’re suffering from foot and toenail fungus, another method of relief are therapeutic foot soaks, such as this Antifungal Tea Tree Oil Foot Soak by Purely Northwest:
Or this Premium Therapeutic Foot Soak by ASUTRA:
These foot scrubs disinfect and soften feet, allowing you relief from foot fungus by using saltwater-based treatments as well as oils and soaps that help to destroy pesky foot fungus.
DEAD SKIN REMOVAL
Of course, softening the affected areas is only part of the equation. Now, this is gross, but it’s important to talk about – dead fungal-infected skin won’t just slough off by itself. Some will fall off just due to daily activity, but it’s important that you clear away any infected skin that has died so that your new skin can begin growing back healthier and clear of fungus.
This Amopé Pedi Perfect Wet & Dry Electronic Foot File is a gentle way to do that. Its gentle buffing action helps buff away infected skin, and can also be used on toenails for those suffering toenail infections who are looking to buff up their nails and get rid of infected areas, especially around the toenail area.
RECOVERING FROM INFECTION
Once you’ve finally gotten rid of your foot fungus or toenail infection, it’s important to continue taking care of your feet. As mentioned above, the best steps you can take to stop further infections are preventative – deprive the fungus of what it needs to grow.
Pay attention to your toenails and feet. Make sure that they are growing healthily, and make a habit of observing them, and knowing how healthy they are. Combine this with the precautions listed in the “Avoiding Infection” section, and hopefully you’ll never have to deal with fungal infections again.