Onychomycosis is a very common infection in Hong Kong. It is an infection of nail fungus that usually begins as a white or yellow spot beneath your toenail and gradually spreads deeper, causing your nail to thicken, discolour, deform and develop crumbing edges. In severe cases, the nail may break or fall off entirely. Although onychomycosis is not life threatening, this nail fungus infection is notoriously difficult to treat and often recur. Therefore, prevention is important to keep your feet healthy.
Wash your feet regularly and dry them thoroughly with a clean towel to remove dead cells and improve circulation. If you already have onychomycosis, use a paper towel and throw it away after drying the affected area. Do not share towels to prevent spreading the fungi spores. Trim your nails regularly and avoid cutting too close to the nail bed.
Socks should be worn when you wear closed-toe shoes. This helps protect your feet from potential spores from your shoes. Socks made of natural materials such as cotton or wool are preferred over synthetic materials such as nylon and spandex for they have better ventilation and absorb moisture from your feet. When your socks get damp, remove them as soon as possible. Dry your feet thoroughly before putting on a clean dry pair.
Nail fungus grows best in warm and moist areas. Keep your feet dry and well ventilated at all times with breathable shoes. Shoes made of natural materials with air-breather holes are most ideal. Clean your insoles regularly and dry them thoroughly before using them again. Store your shoes in a cool, dry place. If you are suffering from onychomycosis, sprinkle anti-fungal powder in the toe area to prevent the growth of nail fungi.
Wear sandals or water shoes when you are in public areas like swimming pools, spas, showers and locker rooms. The warm, moist floor is the ideal breeding ground for fungus spores. Avoid touching the floor directly. After visiting these public areas, thoroughly wash and dry your feet.