Toenail fungus is stubborn, difficult to clear up, and causes visible impacts on your nails that can be unsightly or embarrassing. So, is toenail fungus contagious? And, what can you do to protect your nails and minimize your risk of toenail fungus exposure?
Expert podiatrist Dr. Leonard Greenwald, located in San Jose, California, knows all about nail health problems like toenail fungus. Here’s what he wants you to know about the contagiousness of toenail fungus and how to keep from being infected.
How toenail fungus transmits between individuals
The truth is, toenail fungus is highly contagious. That means the infection passes easily between individuals. And, some specific situations and factors significantly increase the likelihood of toenail fungus infection and contagion.
Toenail fungus, like other fungi, thrives in dark, warm, and moist environments. That includes the space between your toes, inside sweaty socks and shoes, and even in shared public areas like the gym or pool shower floors.
When you understand the environment where toenail and foot fungus grow, you can take steps to avoid exposure, minimizing your risk for infection.
Controlling toenail fungus contagion
First, watch out for common public areas where infection tends to spread. If you go to a gym or pool, or share a shower or bathtub, use shower shoes or sandals to keep your bare skin from coming in contact with potentially infectious surfaces.
Second, change your socks and shoes when they get sweaty! Gym socks and shoes should be carefully dried out after intensive activity, so take off your sweaty socks and shoes as soon as possible. You may need to bring additional post-workout footwear with you.
Pay attention to foot hygiene. Regularly wash your feet with soap and water, paying extra attention to the space between your toes.
And, if you’re aware of individuals or family members with active cases of toenail fungus, don’t share shoes, socks, or towels, or walk barefoot in shared areas. Otherwise, you’re at risk of catching the infection yourself.
What to do about toenail fungus
If you do develop a toenail fungus infection, watch out for initial warning signs like changes in the appearance of your nail. Cases of toenail fungus can present with toenail discoloration, malformation, thickening, or crumbling.
When you suspect you might be developing toenail fungus, reach out for expert podiatry support. Make sure to get in touch with Dr. Greenwald if you notice redness, pus, or lines of infection radiating from your nail area.
Clearing up toenail fungus on your own can be a difficult, frustrating task. Instead of ignoring the problem or wasting time with ineffective home treatments, consult with Dr. Greenwald to find out how you can address your infection and restore the health and normal appearance of your toenails.
For expert advice on preventing toenail fungus and treating infections when they do occur, contact Dr. Greenwald. Schedule your appointment over the phone today. Or, use our online scheduling tool to book your visit.