Dr. Kevin D. Smith, Doctor of Podiatric Medicine

"When your feet hurt, you hurt all over"

Although your feet are the part of your body most prone to pain and injury, they are often neglected and ignored. Foot pain is not normal! You deserve to walk pain-free and Dr. Smith can help.

Gentle, Effective Diagnosis and Treatment

How long can toenail fungus live in shoes?

A continuing battle with toenail fungus is may be difficult to discuss. With over 20 species of dermatophyte infections, trust us when we say you are not alone! In fact, how long can toenail fungus live in shoes might be our most commonly asked question!

What is a “dermatophyte ” infection?: It is an infection caused by filamentous fungi and they require keratin to survive and thrive. Since keratin is the protein that makes up hair, skin, and nails, it is no wonder why your toenails may be the victim of this unwanted intruder.

So, how long can toenail fungus live in shoes? The answer is situational and will vary from case to case. The lifespan of toenail fungus in shoes can be anywhere from six months to years. This will depend on how quickly you treat the actual nail(s) and the treatment of your shoe(s).

We were able to get a hold of Digger, the dermatophyte who is currently living in one of our patient’s shoes. Let’s call the patient, “Nancy”.

Q: What is your name and occupation?

A: My name’s Digger and I make a living off Nancy’s hot and sweaty gym shoes.

Q: How long have you been living in Nancy’s shoes?

A: This August will make six months.

Q: Does Nancy ever share her shoes with other people?

A: Hardly ever. Her daughter wore them once to take out the trash, but otherwise, no. I would know, too. I spread quickly from person to person.  So, if I were her, I would not share anything where I have been. Her daughter got lucky if you ask me!

Q: How does someone know you are there?

A: First, your foot will be irritated, contain lesions, and have an inflammatory response. You will want to have your doctor look at it through direct microscopy, fungal cultures or Wood’s light examination.

Q: How does someone get rid of you?

A: Straight to the point! You would need an antifungal medication and if it is a severe case, you might need a chemical treatment or surgical removal. It’s really up to Nancy.

Q: Thank you for your time, Digger!

For more information about toenail fungus, please visit Osmosis.org. Don’t hesitate to book a consultation with Dr. Smith to figure out what your best option is when it comes to dealing with Digger, the dermatophyte.

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