You're an avid runner. Recently you read somewhere that running can cause toenail fungus. This has you freaked out. So what's the truth?
As a Seattle podiatrist I'm here to let you know that fungus exists everywhere in our environment. But fungus particularly loves living in warm, damp, dark environments. And that includes feet that live inside shoes most of the time.
For runners there's an added risk for getting toenail fungus. Running is risky due to the constant pressure placed on toenails which can cause them to lift allowing fungus easy access to the nail plate where it sets up shop.
Here are some 7 hacks for keeping fungus at bay:
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.
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.
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.
Wear socks that wick away moisture. Synthetic socks such as polypropylene or polyethylene are the best socks for the job. Some terrific brands are Wrightsocks, Injinji, or SmartWool Trekking Heavy Crew Socks (Gray) Large.
Use a UV Shoe Sanitizer to kill the fungus in your shoes. We recommend SteriShoe+ Ultraviolet Shoe Sanitizer it destroys 99% of all fungus and bacteria in your shoes in just 15 minutes.
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.
Don't ever go barefoot in locker rooms. Avoid hotbeds of fungus by wearing flip flops in public locker and shower rooms.
If you think you already have toenail fungus, check out the information at our Seattle Fungal Toenail Center.
Call us today at 206-368-7000 for an appointment. Often same day for emergencies and less than 2 weeks for chronic foot pain. You can also request an appointment online.
For more information about heel pain in runners download our eBook, "The Complete Guide to Stopping Heel Pain in Runners".
Seattle foot and ankle specialist, Dr. Rion Berg offers foot care for patients with bunions, heel pain, diabetes, fungal toenails, ingrown nails, and surgical solutions when needed to residents of Seattle, Bellevue, Kirkland, Shoreline, Lake Forest Park, Mountlake Terrace, Lynnwood and other surrounding suburbs.