young woman runnerYou're an avid runner. Recently you read somewhere that running can cause toenail fungus. This has you freaked out. So what's the truth?

Fungus exists everywhere in our environment. But it particularly loves living in warm, damp, dark places. And that includes feet that live inside shoes most of the time.

For runners there's an added risk for getting toenail fungus. Running places enormous pressure on toenails. That can cause the nails to lift allowing fungus easy access to the nail plate. 

Here are some 7 hacks to prevent toenail fungus in runners

1. Check your nails after you run

If you're nails are getting damaged it's time to give up your shoes and buy ones that won't damage your nails.This often happens when your shoes are too short. As we age our feet often increase in size.

2. Next time you buy running shoes, make sure they fit

Tight shoes will cause repetitive micro-trauma to your toenails. To prevent this, your toe needs to be at least a thumbs width from the end of your shoes. A wider toe box will also let your toes spread out and prevent them from getting damaged.

3. Have two pairs of shoes on hand

Alternating between shoes allows them to dry out in between daily runs. Fungus does not survive well in dry environments.

4. Wear socks that wick away moisture

Synthetic socks with anti-microbial capability are the best way to go to wick away moisture and keep fungus at bay. Balega Silver Microbial Compression Running Socks are a great solution. 

5. Use a UV Shoe Sanitizer to kill the fungus in your shoes

We recommend the Pedifix Shoe Zap. It destroys 99% of all fungus and bacteria in your shoes in just 15 minutes.

6. Use nail polish that won't weaken your toenails

Most nail polish has toxic chemicals that can weaken your nails. A weakened nail will be more apt to become damaged and become a host for fungus. If you want pretty toenails and you run, use a nail polish such as Dr.'s Remedy Enriched Nail Polish. It contains tree oil with anti-fungal properties, vitamins, and none of the bad chemicals that weaken your nails.

7. Don't ever go barefoot in locker rooms or pools

Avoid hotbeds of fungus by wearing flip flops in public locker and shower rooms and pools.

If you think you already have toenail fungus, check out the information at our Seattle Fungal Toenail Center.

Dr. Rion Berg
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A podiatrist in North Seattle treating families for over 40 years.
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