Footwear and Fungus

Did You Know?

According to the experts, a key contributor to foot and toenail fungus is the type of footwear one wears. The very design of some types of footwear actually promotes the growth of fungus, most often due to a lack of foot ventilation wherein the feet can't breathe properly. Some shoe fabrics or shapes actually cause feet to sweat, providing a moist environment that breeds fungus.

Fungus Prevention

Some ways to minimize the incidence of toenail and foot fungus include developing good foot hygiene practices and learning how to properly take care of toenails in order to minimize the risk of ingrown toenails.

Knowledge of some basic footwear facts can also help you take a giant stride toward the prevention of bacterial and fungal growth.

Footwear Facts

•- Wearing tight shoes, boots, or any fully enclosed, tight-fitting footwear can prevent proper aeration of the foot. When feet sweat as the result of poor ventilation, moisture growing under the toes and toenails gives rise to fungal growth.

•- Women's fashionable shoes are a primary culprit of foot problems! Sacrificing comfort for the sake of glamour and flare, women's shoes often have sharp, pointed ends that crush the toes and prevent breathing. High-heel shoes can also lead to fungus growth when worn for long periods of time since they angle the foot such that the toes are tightly squeezed and can't breathe, leading to sweat, warmth, and bacteria.

•- Breaking in a new pair of running shoes or other athletic shoes can cause not only discomfort, but running shoes that are narrow in the toe area can actually traumatize the toes during running or even walking, leading to potential toenail breakage and/or bleeding.

•- Athletes donning sports shoes who repeatedly kick a hard ball are susceptible to sustaining toe or toenail injuries. These actions can cause bruising and bleeding in the skin area underneath the toenails, cause loose and ingrown toenails, and Athlete's foot infection. 

•- Athletes should check that they have plenty of room in the toe box of their running or athletic shoes and that their toenails are properly trimmed in order to prevent them from hitting the tips of their shoes during sports. Professional athletes often have their running shoes or sports shoes custom made and professionally fitted in order to reduce the risk of toe and foot trauma.

•- All footwear (shoes and socks) should be kept dry and properly fitted in order to prevent bacteria growth

•- The experts advise changing socks daily, and if possible, changing shoes daily in order to allow any dampness in shoes to dry out

•- Sprinkle anti-fungal foot powder in all footwear to kill any fungus which may be present

•- Footwear (sandals, shoes, flip-flops) should always be worn in public swimming pool areas, shower areas, locker rooms, and saunas to prevent Athlete's foot bacteria and infection.

•- Before putting shoes and socks back on after working out, swimming, showering, or bathing, feet and toes should be dried thoroughly to prevent fungus growth

•- Foot odor in footwear is the result of bacteria that has grown. To prevent foot odor use a quality foot deodorant that contains zinc oxide and wash feet daily with soap and water.

•- Choose open-toed sandals over close-toed sandals, as open-toed footwear allows fresh air to circulate through the toes and between the foot and shoe

•- Select shoes made from leather or cotton over synthetic shoes, which are frequent hosts of fungus-causing bacteria

•- Add insoles containing bacteria repellents to any type of footwear