A fungal toe infection can happen to anyone, although they are more likely to occur in diabetic individuals.

A fungal toe infection can happen to anyone, although they are more likely to occur in diabetic individuals. While a health care professional can help you with toenail infection care and treatment, individuals can help themselves by learning how to identify and prevent future toe infections:

Why do they occur?

According to Medical News Today, a fungal toe infection is the most common type of toenail issue – about 50 percent of all nail deformities are caused by fungal issues. Beyond genetics, the top reasons fungus finds your toe to be a great breeding ground include:

Poor blood circulation: if the toe is not as warm as the rest of the body, it will create a cooler, area of skin, which is perfect for fungus.

Moist conditions: Sweaty toes, socks made from non-breathable fabrics and exposing toes to damp conditions like a public pool floor on a regular basis can prompt fungus growth.

Crowded toes: Wearing shoes that are too small can also make it difficult for air to circulate around your toes, making them more susceptible to fungal infections

Certain exercise: Some exercises can regularly prompt trauma to the toes. Marathon runners, for example, will often lose their toenails during a race or training. This trauma can weaken the nail and skin, making it easier for fungus to come in.

How can I prevent toe infections?

Keeping a toe infection at bay involves multi-step and regular foot care.

Cleanliness: Keeping a clean and dry foot is key to preventing infection. It’s recommended that you wash your feet at least once per day, making sure to fully dry them with a towel. Individuals that are more susceptible to infections may also want to rub tea tree oil or another skin-drying agent on their toes to keep them particularly dry.

The right socks: Having socks that let air in to circulate around your toes is key to keeping them moisture-free. Cotton, polyester and nylon fabrics, as well as blends of these materials, are often considered the most breathable. Certain socks are also made to wick sweat away from the skin, and can work well for toes that are more prone to fungal infections.

Circulation: A weakened immune system can often lead to poor blood circulation, especially to the extremities like the fingers and toes. Maintaining a healthy diet that’s full of vitamins C and E can help blood circulate more efficiently. Giving yourself foot massages a few times a week can also assist the blood in moving more evenly through your foot, and compression socks can also help blood move more effectively.

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