Summer may be the main time of year when toenail fungus strikes, but this condition can also develop in the winter months. This is because during the winter, many of us wear thick boots to keep cold air and snow out. If you wear winter boots, especially for long periods at a time, your toenails are exposed to major factors involved in fungal nail infection development: moisture, from sweating inside the thick insulation, and total darkness. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you should stop wearing boots, but it does highlight the value of taking preventive steps against toenail fungus. Here is more about how the condition develops inside winter boots, how it can become worse and how you can avoid it.
How Boots Promote Toenail Fungus
Virtually all kinds of fungus like conditions that are moist and dark. Winter boots provide exactly these conditions, but many people mistakenly think they are safe from toenail fungus until spring. The importance of keeping the feet warm in cold weather means that boots are not always avoidable. By keeping the risk in mind, however, you may reduce your own chances of developing winter foot problems like toenail fungus and the complications that can arise.
Toenail Fungus and Bleeding
As fungus grows on the toenails, it eats the keratin that comprises a large part of the nail tissue. Over time, the nails can weaken along with the cuticles along the nails. This can eventually lead to loss of the toenail, which is known medically as onychoptosis. Bleeding can result, making the infection even more unsightly. Furthermore, this bleeding represents skin breakage, which opens the door to potential infection. Just as the dark, dank environment of winter boots can enhance fungal growth, it may also stimulate serious bacterial infections. Clearly, prevention is the best approach to fungal nail infection risk.
Steps to Preventing Foot Fungus
Minimizing dampness and maintaining cleanliness is key to keeping toenail fungus at bay. Each day, wash your feet thoroughly and dry them completely before putting socks on. Choose socks that are made of acrylic fiber, which keep the feet drier than cotton can. If your boots become wet inside, allow enough time for them to dry out completely before wearing them again. Finally, you can even put antiperspirant on your feet. By preventing sweating, this final step will go a long way towards preventing toenail fungus bleeding
Manhattan and Brooklyn Podiatrists for Your Winter Foot Problems
With the above tips, you will be more likely to reach next spring with toenails as healthy as ever. Keep in mind that if fungal nail infection develops anyway and is resistant to over-the-counter treatments, you may need clinical care. Contact Manhattan Footcare today at 212-629-5090 to learn more about toenail fungus and the treatments we offer to eliminate the condition.