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How Did I Get Fungus In My Toenails?

Fungus in the toenails, also called "onychomycosis" is a common problem today. It can be a difficult problem to treat, especially when using a topical preparation. Here are some reasons why this happens so frequently: 1. Shoes that are “too short"- This is the number one reason that I see in my practice. You need to be able to "play the piano" with your toes so that you don't get nail trauma from your toes hitting the end of your shoes. This is particularly a problem with "slides" or "loafers" and even house slippers where there is no lace. A simple solution to this is to use an adhesive felt "tongue pad" if the "tongue" of the shoe is close to your ankle. This will hold your foot back in the shoe and prevent forward motion. Your best indoor shoe is a sturdy open toe sandal (no thong) rather than a slipper. 2. Diabetes- Diabetics are more likely to develop this condition due to both a diminished immune system and diminished circulation to the toes. 3. Blunt trauma to the nail- Examples of this include banging into a chair or having an object drop on your toe. 4. Regular use of nail polish- I think it is a good idea to periodically take a break from having polish continually on your nails. This allows the nails to not be suffocated with acrylic and get better air flow to them.

5. A diet high in sugar and white flour- This is the preferred food for fungus and yeast. Please look carefully at all the ingredients on your food and beverage labels.

6. A diminished Immune system- Now would be a good time to start taking “Probiotic” supplements (healthy bacteria inhabiting your gut and guiding your immune system) and more vitamin D3 to upgrade your immunity. Fungus thrives in a person with a weakened immune system.

The best way to treat toenail fungus is through prevention. If you do notice discoloration, debris, lifting or a funny odor, consult with a podiatrist.. Topical holistic treatments like Apple Cider Vinegar or Tea Tree Oil can be effective if it is recognized early in its progression. If the condition worsens, then prescription oral medication can be considered. For any treatment to be effective, the nail needs to be growing in length. Be aware that there is no “over-night” cure since it takes about 1 year for a nail to grow out from it’s inception under the cuticle. Climb aboard the “Wellness Wagon” by trying to prevent fungus toenails before they happen (and using safer holistic treatments if already present) and by remembering to "Start With Your Feet". Walk Strong…with orthotics, Doc Rick DPM

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