Are you dealing with stubborn nail fungus that just doesn’t seem to go away and stay gone? However frustrating it may be, the good news is, you’re not alone! Nail fungus is very common, with an estimated 3 to 12 percent of the population being affected.
It isn’t always easy to determine if what’s happening under your nails is a fungal infection or another skin condition. To be sure, go ahead and make an appointment with one of our experienced podiatrists, Samantha Childers, DPM, or Ricky Childers, DPM, at North Central Texas Foot & Ankle. In addition to our Decatur, Texas, location, we have an office in Roanoke, Texas, as well.
In the meantime, let’s go over the causes of nail fungus, why it might keep recurring, and some ways to try to prevent it.
What causes nail fungus?
Nail fungus occurs when fungi, yeast, or mold infect the skin. These types of infections are more likely to affect toenails than fingernails, and can be associated with athlete’s foot. Symptoms typically include white, brown, or yellow discoloration of the nail or thickening, cracking, and/or brittleness of the nail. If left untreated, the area of the infection can become painful.
There are several risk factors for developing nail fungus: tight shoes; damaged nails; walking barefoot in moist areas like swimming pools, saunas, and public showers; poor blood circulation in your legs; a weakened immune system; and other skin conditions, such as psoriasis. You may even have a genetic predisposition to developing nail fungus.
Here at North Central Texas Foot & Ankle, we’ll assess your specific case, perform tests to get to the bottom of the issue, and determine which treatment to provide you based on the test results.
How can I stop my nail fungus from returning?
Chances are, if you’re exposing your feet to the same spaces in which they previously became infected, they’ll likely get infected again. Instead of walking barefoot through communal areas like public pools and showers, try wearing flip-flops or other appropriate shower shoes. Just make sure you thoroughly clean and dry your feet afterward.
When you treat yourself to a pedicure, make sure the establishment is clean, licensed, and in accordance with state standards. Are the nail techs sterilizing their equipment between each use? If not, this could be why nail fungus keeps popping up on your toes. Time to find a new favorite spot!
If you’ve taken medication for nail fungus or used antifungal creams or polishes and stopped using them at the first sign of healthier nails, this could be why your nail fungus keeps coming back. Although it seems like the fungus is gone, some that isn’t visible to the naked eye could remain. If treatment is stopped too early, some remnant fungus may continue to grow, which will lead to what is perceived to be another infection.
If your doctor gives you oral medication, make sure to finish it in accordance with your doctor’s recommendations. If you’re using over-the-counter polish or cream, it’s recommended that you keep using it up to a couple of weeks after the appearance of a healthy nail.
The long and short of it is, nail hygiene is incredibly important in keeping nail fungus at bay. Make sure the shoes you’re wearing fit just right and aren’t too tight. Bring protective footwear with you when you go to the neighborhood pool or gym locker room. And keep your feet clean and dry. If you still find yourself toe-to-toe with nail fungus, give us a call or request an appointment through our website. We’ll be happy to assist you!