What causes nail fungus?

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Nail fungus: the risk factors

In principle, anyone can get nail fungus. However, certain risk factors favor infection. We have put together some risk factors for nail fungus below:

Tight shoes

Tight shoes make the foot look nice and slim and look elegant – a nail fungus, on the other hand, looks less refined. Shoes that are too tight put constant pressure on our toenails and therefore leads to small micro-injuries. These injuries offer the fungus a portal of entry and thus increase the risk of infection for nail fungus. So give your feet space and air to breathe!


Many sports such as jogging, football, tennis, or hiking are a burden for our nails due to the mechanical abrasion in the shoe. Frequent changes of direction, short sprints, or sudden stops while moving, our toes repeatedly slide against the tip of the shoe during sport. It is not uncommon for this stress on the nails to lead to small micro-injuries through which fungi can migrate into the nail.


Due to circulatory disorders, people with diabetes have an increased risk of contracting nail fungus. The perception of pain can be reduced due to nerve damage, especially in the foot area. As a result, infections are often not perceived consciously. In addition, increased blood sugar provides the mushrooms with a good source of nutrients. The nail fungus is usually preceded by an athlete’s foot infection. Since athlete’s feet and nail fungus have the same pathogen, they often benefit each other in terms of the risk of infection. Treating an athlete’s foot at an early stage lowers the risk of developing nail fungus. For the treatment of nail fungus, antifungal nail polishes with the active ingredient ciclopirox are particularly suitable for people with diabetes. Clinical studies have shown that medical nail polishes can work with Proclearz are also effective in diabetics.

Genetic factors

Nowadays, it is assumed that people may have an increased risk of developing nail fungus due to an inherited predisposition. In this case, the doctor speaks of a genetic predisposition to nail fungus. In this case, a nail fungus should be treated with exceptional hygiene and care for family members. Because the probability is high that the children or grandchildren who live in the same household have an increased risk of developing nail fungus.


Even in the most beautiful time of the year, there is a risk of taking an undesirable holiday souvenir home with you – nail fungus. Sources of danger are, for example, the hotel carpet, the bathing area, or even rented ski boots. During winter holidays, you should ventilate your ski boots well every day and disinfect them if necessary. On summer vacation, you should pay attention to where you are walking barefoot. Hotel carpets, public showers, and the wellness area are taboo for bare feet.

Injury to the nail

Everyday life also harbors dangers for our nails. Carelessness can lead to blows or cuts, or you can get your fingers caught in the door. Unfortunately, injuries to the pin always increase the risk of becoming infected with nail fungus, as it is much easier for the fungus to penetrate.

Public baths

Mushrooms love the warm, humid environment in swimming pools and wellness oases. People often move barefoot in these places and – if infected – cheerfully distribute their fungal germs. Therefore, there is a risk of becoming infected with nail fungus, especially on the damp floor tiles. You can significantly reduce the risk by wearing flip-flops.

Rental shoes

Rented skis, bowling, or ice skates risk becoming infected with nail fungus or spreading the pathogens if you become infected yourself. In a study by the Berlin Institute for Fungal Diseases, fungal spores were found in almost every second rental shoe. Many amateur athletes believe that their feet are protected from the spurs by wearing socks. 

Sweaty feet

If you suffer from sweaty feet, you should take special precautions. Mushrooms love the warm, humid climate in sweaty shoes. In addition, the feet swell up due to the moisture and heat. Under these circumstances, there is an increased risk of fungal infection.

When buying shoes, make sure that the shoes are breathable. In addition, change socks and stockings every day. Socks made from synthetic materials are an absolute taboo, as they do not release moisture well. Cotton socks, on the other hand, are breathable and have the advantage that they can be washed hot (at least 60 ° C). In addition, by using a hygienic washer, you can reduce the risk of contracting a fungal infection.

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