Fungus 411

Why Runners Are at High Risk for Fungus

Nancy Peters
July 30, 2022

Whether you’re a lifelong runner or a newbie, you may have noticed changes to your body. Some like increased lung capacity and endurance are welcomed whereas painful toes and toenails, are not. Did you know that running creates the ideal environment for the growth of fungal toenail infections? In this blog post, we will learn the link between runners and higher risk for toenail fungus.

What is Nail Fungus?

Nail fungus is a common condition that manifests as a white or yellow spot under the tip of your fingernail or toenail. It can spread to multiple nails on both hands and feet. As the fungal infection progresses, your nail may discolor, thicken, and crumble at the edge. More than 33 million Americans suffer from nail fungus today.

How Runners Develop Fungus

Running creates the ideal situation for fungal nail infections to flourish. When you run, your feet sweat and you’re most likely running in the same sneakers without properly drying them out between runs.

These types of conditions make a terrific breeding ground for the fungus. Sometimes, nail fungus can start as a case of athlete’s foot, which is a fungal skin infection. Then it spreads to your nails and sets up shop as nail fungus.

Additionally, running is a form of repetitive mechanical trauma impacting the nail. This can disfigure the toenail itself AND is a risk factor for nail fungus. If you have a history of or are currently experiencing nail trauma in which the skin-nail junction or natural nail barrier is disrupted, you open the door for fungal spores to set up camp.

Why do runners need to treat nail fungus right away?

Fungal spores chew through the toenail, separating the layers of keratin, causing the nail to discolor, crumble, thicken, become flaky, and fragile. This can lead to pain while running or walking and a potential loss of nail, which is the last thing any runner wants.

Tips for How Runners can Avoid Nail Fungus

  • Wear proper shoes that offer enough room in the toes, have proper cushioning, and have pitch and motion control because ill-fitting shoes can cause nail fungus.
  • If you keep your nails at the right length i.e. 1 to 2 millimeters, the tip won't stick out over the soft tissue at the end of your toes.
  • Wear moisture-wicking socks and change them often. The socks should be made of natural fibers such as bamboo and wool and synthetic fibers such as polyester and nylon.
  • Vary your footwear; don't wear the same shoes on consecutive days. Always wear footwear in communal areas, such as sandals at the pool! Before running in your shoes again, make sure they are completely dry.
  • Maintain good foot hygiene by thoroughly drying between the toes before putting on socks. Treat any underlying fungal skin infections that could infect the nail plate.

How to treat fungus as a runner

Nail fungus can be treated in 3 different ways: 1. oral prescription therapy, 2. topical prescription therapy and 3. laser and/or removal of nail in severe cases. For runners, the least disruptive to their sport is to cure using a topical prescription therapy, which minimizes the chance of systemic side effects that you may get with oral anti-fungal medications.

Caratin Rx's The Topical is a safe and effective prescription therapy with 3 powerful medications in 1 easy to use formula. These prescription medications kill fungus and provide a dramatically improved chance of sure relative to over-the-counter treatments and home remedies. This prescription topical is only available online at and is conveniently delivered to your home every 30 days. There’s nothing like getting continuous care from a board-certified doctor without leaving the comfort of your home. Invest in your nail health today.

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