Risk Factors For Toe Nail Fungus

Toe nail fungus is clearly an uncomfortable and unsightly condition.  There are certain risk factors that you should know about and understand.  Some of these risk factors will allow you to make changes in your life to help you to prevent toe nail fungus.  Other risk factors aren't things that you can control, but they are still helpful to understand.


Nail fungus is much more common in older adults than it is in the younger population. That's not to say that you can't get it while you are still young; nor is it a guarantee that you'll have problems as you age.  It does indicate, however, that older people should take care of their nails and be more careful.  Nails start to grow more slowly and to thicken with age.  These factors make them more susceptible to infection so people of certain ages need to be more careful about prevention.

Men Versus Women

Men have more trouble with nail fungus than do women.  This might be because of the nature of their activities - if they are at the gym more often or take public showers without shoes, they will experience more problems.  In addition, people with a family history of this infection are more susceptible to it.  

Factors You Can Control

While the above factors aren't ones that you can control, there are some risk factors that you can control.  People who smoke are more likely to have nail fungus than are those who don't.  Perspiring heavily and working in humid and moist environments are also risk factors.  So are the socks and shoes that you wear.  Certain socks and shoes that hinder ventilation and don't absorb perspiration create more moisture and lead to nail fungus.  All of these risk factors can be controlled by ensuring that you wear the right, breathable socks when exercising and working in moist environments and that you switch your socks and shoes often to prevent moisture from building up.  Similarly, people who tend to walk barefoot in public places find that they are more prone to toe nail fungus.  If you use a public swimming pool, shower at the gym or enjoy a public spa, it's vitally important to practice good sanitation.  Always wear shoes like flip-flops or crocs in the shower and don't share shoes or towels with others.  Make sure that your feet are completely dry before putting your socks and shoes on as well.

Health Problems That Lead To Fungus

Interestingly enough, you are also more prone to toe nail fungus if you suffer from diabetes, circulation problems or a weak immune system.  While you can't prevent these conditions, it's helpful for you to know that you are at a higher risk.  Keep your feet particularly clean and clear of the factors that you can control should you have health problems that make you more prone to nail fungus.  

Problem Nails

It is also very important to watch your nails if you already have any nail injuries.  People with nail injuries, damaged nails or other nail infections are more prone to develop nail fungus problems.  Should you already have issues with your nails, remember to keep them as clean as possible and to avoid situations where you might add to your infection and create even more problems.  

Other Risk Factors

There are other ways to prevent nail fungus before it occurs.  Make sure to keep your nails short and clean at all times.  They shouldn't be cut so short as to expose the nail pads, but should be short enough to keep bacteria from having room to grow.  If you enjoy going to a salon to have your finger nails or toe nails done, be very careful about this process.  It is easy for bacteria to be transmitted on nail treatment products and a salon is a place where many infections can grow.  Make sure that the nail salon that you go to, and the cosmetician helping you, has all of the right certificates.  They should be sanitizing all equipment in between each customer and keeping a safe and healthy environment.  If you are very nervous about this, or are prone to some of the risk factors for nail fungus already, you might want to skip going to the salon for awhile.

Certainly the best treatment for nail fungus is prevention.  If you are able to eliminate some of these risk factors from your life, and keep your nails clean and healthy, you won't have to read about, and experiment with, treatment methods.  Here's to clean, healthy and safe nails!