What causes toenail fungus? How to get rid of it? My son just started playing football and I’m afraid he’ll pick up something in the locker room.
Sara Lewis, Michigan
You’re right that the locker room is a likely place for catching nail fungus. As for what causes toenail fungus, it’s a fungal infection that thrives in damp environments. Public showers and sweaty shoes are breeding grounds for it.
Other risk factors include having diabetes, having an injury near the nail, and having a weakened immune system. Even artificial nails can make you more susceptible.
If you suspect toenail fungus, it might be best to see your family doctor. There are prescription medications and over-the-counter remedies that will resolve the problem. Plus, sometimes other conditions are mistaken for a fungal infection. It helps to get a professional diagnosis, so you treat the problem appropriately.
Should you suspect a fungus, make sure that your son changes his shoes and socks regularly. It might be a good idea to send extra pairs with him so that he can change during the day. Or, if the school permits it, he can wear open-toed shoes for a while.
Next, have him soak his feet in six parts hot water with one part each of apple cider vinegar and Epsom salts. Do this twice a day for 30 minutes at a time.
Tea tree oil and castor oil are also excellent for fighting fungal infections. Massage them into the nails. Interestingly, the Vicks VapoRub also helps kill the fungus.
To learn more about getting rid of toenail fungus, see our page here. I hope you never have to deal with this problem. But if you do, I hope this information helps.