Cold weather is here and with that comes boots. When it’s cold our first instinct is to pull out the boots and our thickest socks. Also, boots have become a huge fashion statement. But did you know that you could be creating a paradise for toenail fungus?  Not only do we think our boots are cute…fungus does too and it can’t wait to dive in!

So, how do you know you have a fungus and what can you do to treat it? At Carolina Podiatry Group we do a simple procedure in the office where we take a clipping of your toenail and send it to pathology. There, they culture the toenails and find out exactly what is going on with the nail. Once we get this culture back, I, or one of our other doctors will decide the best treatment plan for each individual patient. We offer several different courses of treatment at Carolina Podiatry Group from oral medications, topical medications and laser treatment. Along with treating your toenails, it is very important to also be treating all of your shoes, bed sheets and shower.

There are different ways to treat your shoes from sprays to a product called SteriShoe. The SteriShoe uses UV rays to treat and kill fungi and bacteria in your shoes. You can also treat bed sheets and showers by using vinegar or bleach and washing in hot water.

Now…I’ve shared with you the ways to find out if you have a toenail fungus and treatments but wouldn’t it be easier to just prevent it? Here are some tips to let fungus know that your boots or any other shoes are off limits:

  • As children we were told to keep our hands and feet to ourselves. Now, we should keep our socks and shoes to ourselves.
  • If you must go for a pedicure, take a look around. Make sure all instruments are sterilized and new tools are being used. Make sure the tub where you soak your feet is CLEAN. Again, fungus loves dark, moist, and warm!
  • When going to public showers and pools, wear swim shoes.
  • Use your own nail clippers and don’t share with others. Always clean after using.

Never wear 100% cotton. Cotton absorbs moisture but doesn’t move it away. Better choices are cool max, acrylic, polypropylene, wool or stick to a blend.

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