Toenail fungus is common in adults and seniors, athletes, those with compromised immunity, and a number of preexisting health conditions. One of the groups in which toenail fungus is especially common is those with diabetes. In fact, one third of people with diabetes are afflicted by nail fungus or toenail fungus.
So why is it that toenail fungus is so common in people with diabetes? For starters, people with diabetes have reduced oxygen flow to the extremities, making these areas hubs for infection. Toenail fungus is already more common than nail fungus in the general population since the feet tend to sweat and be enclosed more than hands. On top of this, people with diabetes often develop peripheral neuropathy (damage of nerves in the hands and feet), causing them to lose sensation in the extremities. So, even if they do catch toenail fungus, they may not feel any changes to their feet and while they may notice changes to their fingernails early on, they may not visually spot changes from toenail fungus until much later. This is why diabetics are so prone not only to toenail fungus, but many other foot conditions such as foot ulcers, blisters, corns, calluses, bunions, and more.
So if you have diabetes, what can you do to keep toenail fungus at bay? Normal prevention steps include avoiding exposure at places that are known for spreading toenail fungus by wearing shoes at pools, public showers, and saunas. Make sure your shoes and socks are always clean and dry, and alternate shoes instead of wearing the same pair everyday. It is important to have regular check ups with a podiatrist if you have diabetes not only for toenail fungus, but other potential podiatric problems. Make sure to inform your podiatrist at the first suspicion you have of toenail fungus.
If you notice symptoms of toenail fungus, contact us today to schedule a free consultation with one of our doctors at one of our over 120 locations, including Charlotte, NC.