How to Prevent the Recurrence of Nail Fungus Following Treatment

Many people are familiar with nail fungus treatment including oral Lamisil, topical anti-fungal treatments and laser treatment for nails, but once you are treated and your nails have improved, how do you keep from having a recurrent fungal nail infection?

Nail fungus is a ubiquitous infection among the general population, especially as we age. The fungal spores thrive in damp, dark places like between your toes and in your shoes.  To avoid the fungal spores from taking residence on your skin and finding their way into your nails again, follow these steps to reduce the chance for reinfection:

 -Change sweaty/wet socks as soon as possible  The damp conditions from sweaty skin and socks is a breeding ground for fungus.
-Let shoes completely dry before wearing.  Avoid wearing the same pair of shoes every day.  Give shoes at least 24 hours to air out and dry before wearing. The drier the conditions inside your shoes, the less likely that fungus will grow. Alternate shoes every other day to allow them enough time to dry before re-use.
-Treat the skin. If there is any sign of a fungal infection on the skin, treat it!  Signs of a fungal skin infection , commonly known as Athlete’s Foot, are wetness between the toes, scaling skin along the outer soles of the feet and heels, itching, burning between the toes and the soles of the feet.  By reducing the fungal count on the skin this lessens the chance that the fungus will end up in the nails.
-Dry well between your toes to reduce moisture after bathing.  This will make your skin and shoes less habitable for the fungal spores.  Also sprinkling an antifungal foot powder between your toes before applying socks or stockings will help to keep the space between the toes dry.
-Treat your shoes.  The shoes can be treated with antifungal foot powder or UV appliances designed to be placed into your shoes to reduce the fungal count.

If you notice any signs of a fungal infection on the skin or re-infection of the nails, see your podiatrist right away, as a more superficial infection is usually easier to treat than a deeper nail infection.

Ann C. Anderson, DPM