3 Dangerously Dirty Places for Your Feet

Washing our hands is part of our daily routine, hopefully for most of us on a regular basis. But when we walk around barefoot or after a long day in those high heels, do you go home and wash your feet? Why does this matter? Toenail fungus–gross, right? Although very treatable, there are measures you can take to prevent toe nail fungus all together.

How does someone get toenail fungus, anyway? I’ve seen over 1,500 cases of toenail fungus in the past year alone, and most of my patients can track their toenail fungus back to one of these three places:

Public Locker Rooms and Showers
The gym, public pool, spa, or dorm: We all know any public facilities can be questionable when it comes to sanitation, but why is it so dirty? People are walking in bare feet in these places and the warm, wet conditions are an ideal home for fungus to grow and spread. Also, most people don’t wash their feet after taking a shower or leaving the locker room, pre or post workout included. A final tip–wear shower shoes or flip flops, people.

Public Spas and Swimming Pools
When you’re thinking about sun and fun at your neighborhood swim club, toenail fungus can be the furthest thing from your mind. But it can be closer than you think to your nails, and if you aren’t careful, you’ll end up in our office with a case of unsightly toenail fungus. Whether you are relaxing in a spa or splashing in the shallow end, fungus is present. Although not visible, fungus can be anywhere from the diving board to the waterslide, so taking proper precautions is key. Wash your feet regularly to keep the nasty stuff from getting under your nails.

Nail Salons
Ladies, summer time means barefoot trips to the beach, and a pre-travel trip to your local nail salon for a pedicure for your beautiful feet, right? Whether you are a loyal nail salon customer or only choose pedicures for special occasions, tools in nail salons are a breeding source for fungus. Yes, they sanitize their tools and wash the basins after each customer leaves, but sometimes this does not kill the pathogen.

The best way to avoid contracting toenail fungus is to wear breathable socks and shoes, making sure you clean and dry your feet after exposure to any public areas. Some other helpful tips include using talcum powder on your feet after showering, removing old polish before painting on a new coat, and most importantly, wearing shoes in public places like showers, locker rooms, and gyms. Most of the time proper foot hygiene can prevent toenail fungus, but sometimes isn’t quite enough when given ideal breeding conditions like moist, warm, restricted areas. When all else fails and the unsightly nail fungus has left its mark, make sure you seek treatment.

Dr. Mark Spier is the exclusive area provider of the PinPointe Footlaser—the first podiatrist licensed and trained and able to offer the PinPointe Footlaser to patients in the Baltimore area. Offering a thirty minute, virtually painless procedure removing toenail fungus, Dr. Spier is only a phone call away.

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