Tips to Prevent Fungus Problems

  • Keep socks and footwear clean and dry.
  • Wash feet frequently with soap and water, then be sure to dry them thoroughly; powdering the feet and between the toes after showering and drying can help keep moisture at bay.
  • Wear cotton socks and change them several times a day if feet are sweaty or moist.
  • Wear footwear made from breathable materials that allow air to circulate around the feet.
  • Never share footwear, socks, or footcare instruments such as nail files and nail clippers.
  • Do not walk barefoot in public areas with wet floors, including showers, pools, and locker rooms; instead, wear plastic flip-flops, slides, or shower shoes.
  • Avoid injuring the toenails, which can eventually develop into an infection.

Fungal Nails

Fungal infections can develop underneath the toenail surface, often as a result of other fungal foot infections. Fungal nails, or onychomycosis, can be harder to treat than other foot fungi, such as athlete’s foot; they can be accompanied by bacterial and/ or yeast infections that affect the nail plate as a result of the fungal infection, and they may spread to affect other toenails, fingernails, and areas of skin.
Oftentimes, people are unaware that they have a fungal nail problem. Symptoms can be brittle, thickened, discolored nails that may loosen and crumble as the fungal problem advances. White spots on the nail surface can also indicate fungal nails. People with chronic diseases that impact the immune system, such as immune deficiencies, diabetes, and circulatory problems, are more susceptible to fungal nails.
Fungal nails and foot fungal infections can be prevented by the following suggestions:

  • Wash and dry feet thoroughly, taking extra care to dry between the toes
  • Use powder to keep the feet dry
  • Keep socks and footwear clean and dry; socks can be changed several times daily
  • Wear footwear made of breathable materials that allow air to circulate around the feet; constricting footwear, stockings, and socks can trap moisture and perspiration on the feet
  • Never share socks or footwear
  • Do not walk barefoot in public areas such as showers, pools, and locker rooms; instead, wear plastic flip-flops, slides, or shower shoes
  • Sanitize nail clippers, nail files, and pedicure instruments; never share them with others
  • Avoid injuring the toenails and nail beds, which can eventually develop into an infection

If over-the-counter treatments do not arrest the fungus or if chronic fungal nail is an issue, prescription treatments administered orally or topically may be necessary (always consult a doctor before taking any type of medication). Debridement can remove the infected nail matter. With aggressive fungal nail cases, a doctor may have to permanently remove the toenail.

Foot Odor and Smelly Feet

Fungal problems can cause foot odor and smelly feet. Since the feet are frequently exposed to moisture due to sweating and wet weather conditions, fungal infections are common. Chronic foot odor can signal an infection or heavy perspiration or sweating of the feet.

Fungal infections like athlete’s foot can be prevented by the following suggestions:

  • Wash and dry feet thoroughly, taking extra care to dry between the toes.
  • Use powder to keep the feet dry.
  • Keep socks and footwear clean and dry; socks can be changed several times daily.
  • Wear footwear made of breathable materials that allow air to circulate around the feet; constricting footwear, stockings, and socks can trap moisture and perspiration on the feet.
  • Never share socks or footwear.
  • Do not use someone else’s foot hygiene instruments, such as emery boards, nail clippers, or foot files
  • Do not walk barefoot in public areas such as showers, pools, and locker rooms; instead, wear plastic flip-flops, slides, or shower shoes.
  • Sweaty feet can be treated with a black tea foot soak: Using two tea bags per pint of water, brew strong black tea by boiling it for 15 minutes; add two quarts of cold water; and soak the feet for half an hour daily for seven days in a row. The black tea contains bacteria-destroying acids and also shrinks pores, which can help keep perspiration at bay. Vinegar foot soaks are also effective: Mix one part vinegar with two parts cool water and soak.

A podiatrist can prescribe ointments to apply to the feet at bedtime. There are also medical treatments such as iontophoresis and surgical procedures that can control extremely sweaty feet.

Common Fungal Problems

Fungal problems can develop on the feet in areas such as between the toes, on the sole of the foot, and on the toenails. Since the feet are frequently exposed to moisture due to sweating and wet weather conditions, fungal infections are common. Fungi flourish in warm, dark, and moist environments, making the feet the perfect host for fungal problems like athlete’s foot and fungal nails. Diseases such as diabetes that weaken the immune system can also leave people prone to foot fungal problems. Fungal problems can be chronic.
Some foot fungal infections are very contagious and spread easily from person-to-person contact and contaminated surfaces; they can also migrate to other parts of the body. There are several over-the-counter medicated foot powders, creams, and sprays available to treat athlete’s foot; these should be used at the recommendation of a healthcare professional or doctor, as different fungi require different treatments. A doctor can prescribe topical or oral medications to treat severe cases.
Fungal infections can be prevented by the following suggestions:

  • Wash and dry feet thoroughly, taking extra care to dry between the toes.
  • Use powder to keep the feet dry.
  • Keep socks and footwear clean and dry; socks can be changed several times daily.
  • Wear footwear made of breathable materials that allow air to circulate around the feet; constricting footwear, stockings, and socks can trap moisture and perspiration on the feet.
  • Never share socks or footwear.
  • Do not walk barefoot in public areas such as showers, pools, and locker rooms; instead, wear plastic flip-flops, slides, or shower shoes.
    Sanitize nail clippers, nail files, and pedicure instruments; never share them with others.
    Avoid injuring the toenails and nail beds, which can eventually develop into an infection.

Athlete’s Foot

Athlete’s foot is a common foot fungus that spreads easily in public places such as indoor and outdoor swimming pools, locker rooms, and showers, as these are moist conditions where people usually walk barefoot. The symptoms of athlete’s foot are itchy, burning feet with scaling and redness between the toes. Eventually, the inflammation can become painful, and blisters may develop. The fungus can also develop along the soles, arches, and sides of the feet. The condition can be chronic.

There are many different types of fungi that cause athlete’s foot, so the type of medicine used to successfully treat athlete’s foot depends on properly identifying the fungus responsible for the outbreak. A doctor should be seen to properly diagnose athlete’s foot. There are several over-the-counter creams, sprays, and powders available to treat athlete’s foot. Medications of any kind should not be used without first consulting a healthcare professional or doctor. A doctor can also prescribe topical or oral medications to treat severe cases.

Fungal infections such as athlete’s foot can be prevented by the following suggestions:

  • Wash and dry feet thoroughly, taking extra care to dry between the toes.
  • Use powder to keep the feet dry.
  • Keep socks and footwear clean and dry; socks can be changed several times daily.
  • Wear footwear made of breathable materials that allow air to circulate around the feet; constricting footwear, stockings, and socks can trap moisture and perspiration on the feet.
  • Never share socks or footwear.
  • Do not walk barefoot in public areas such as showers, pools, and locker rooms; instead, wear plastic flip-flops, slides, or shower shoes.