Cycling and Toenail Fungus

ToeFX co-founder Dr Irit Van-Ham enjoys cycling….here she weighs in on the commonalities between cycling and toenail fungus.

According to recent studies, some 6-20% of people worldwide suffer from fungal nail infections or onychomycosis. It’s even more common in seniors: it affects 50% of those over 70. This infection can have serious health implications. When the toenail (big toe) breaks off from the skin, bacteria can enter the wound, making the area more susceptible to infection. But what has cycling got to do with toenail fungus? Here are some common features:

1) It does not take a lot to grow: Cycling is relatively inexpensive (compared to some other sports activities) but remember to invest in good shoes while cycling can be a fun and inexpensive way to stay fit and enjoy warm weather, cycling shoes can be a warm haven for fungal infections. I have met many people with recurring toenail infections who have wondered if bicycle shoes are the cause. Remember to let the shoes dry after each cycle and make sure not to wear tight shoes. Tight shoes put a lot of pressure on the toes and after long cycles can cause injuries. Injured toes are more susceptible to fungal infection.

2) It takes two to tango: If you are lucky enough to have a partner who enjoys cycling, you will enjoy some fantastic rides together over the years. After-work bike rides with colleagues and friends are also a fun way to stay fit and catch up. can be Toenail fungus also loves company and spreads rapidly. If one toe gets infected chances are the other one will get infected as well.

3) Cold and wet can be dangerous: the frozen, slippery Canadian winter terrain and snow can be dangerous even for the most careful cyclist. Similarly, depending on how much time you spend in the saddle and how hot, sweaty, cold, and wet you get, it is possible that trench foot or athlete’s foot may be lurking in your shoes. There is nothing worse than taking off your bicycle shoes and detecting a warm, damp scent wafting through the air. Conditions that are perfect for toenail fungus. Cycling is certainly great exercise but a little bit of caution and attention to toenails can save a lot of trouble in the future!

Be safe and stay active!