Risk Factors, Complications, and Prevention of Nail Fungus

Although nail fungus is often nothing more than a minor inconvenience, it can lead to more severe problems down the road if left untreated. It’s important to understand the different risk factors, complications, and prevention techniques to ensure that your nail fungus remains benign.

Risk Factors

While there isn’t one specific thing that causes nail fungus, there are several factors that increase your chances of getting it:

  • Being older. With reduced blood flow and longer exposure to various fungi, you have chances of getting nail fungus if you’re an older adult.
  • Sweating a lot.
  • Several past experiences with athlete’s foot.
  • Walking barefoot in common areas.
  • Having a minor skin or nail injury.
  • Having diabetes.

Complications

While nail fungus is not normally dangerous, a more severe case can be very painful and lead to permanent damage. Nail fungus may also lead to other more serious infections in the body that spread beyond your feet.

For those with diabetes, nail fungus can lead to serious complications due to reduced blood circulation and nerve supply. You also have a higher chance of experiencing a bacterial skin infection. If you have diabetes and are experiencing nail fungus, you should see a doctor immediately.

Prevention

Luckily, there are steps that you can take to prevent yourself from experiencing nail fungus in the first place:

  • Wash your hands and feet regularly (especially after touching an infected nail).
  • Trim your nails, and make the edges smooth. Clean your clippers after you use them.
  • Use socks that absorb sweat, or change your socks throughout the day.
  • Wear breathable shoes.
  • Get rid of old shoes, or use antifungal powders to keep them clean.
  • Always wear shoes or sandals in public places.
  • Go to clean nail salons.
  • Stop using nail polish and fake nails.

By keeping yourself clean and well-maintained, you reduce the chances of experiencing nail fungus.