Posted on by Catherine Omondi

Nail fungus isn’t just a minor annoyance. For athletes, it can be a literal game-changer. Athletes gearing up for a big match or race may have difficulty competing if they have a nail fungus infection. Not only can nail fungus affect foot health, but it can put a dent in the athlete’s performance on the field of track. Fortunately, with the correct nail fungus treatment and a proactive approach, athletes can kick nail fungus to the curb and get back to dominating their sport like a boss. Read on to explore how athletes can tackle nail fungus head-on, ensuring they stay on top of their game every step of the way.

Risk factors for nail fungus in athletes

Athletes are often at the forefront when dealing with nail fungus. Firstly, they sometimes suffer from sweaty feet. Athletes work up a serious sweat during their intense workouts and competitions. All that moisture can create the perfect breeding ground for fungi to thrive and make themselves at home in their toenails.

Secondly, athletes share a lot of facilities like locker rooms and showers. And let’s face it, these places can be a hotbed for all sorts of nasty stuff, including the fungi that cause nail infections. So, even if you’re careful about keeping your feet clean, you might still come into contact with the culprit. Athletes may sometimes share socks and towels with their teammates. This way, they share any fungi hanging out on those items.

And let’s not forget about the sports themselves. Sports that involve a lot of running and jumping can wreak havoc on your poor toenails. All that pounding can cause microtrauma, creating tiny little entry points for those fungi to sneak in and set up shop.

Because of these risk factors, athletes must be extra vigilant to keep their feet fungus-free.

Treatment options for nail fungus in athletes

When nail fungus occurs, prompt treatment is essential to prevent its spread and recurrence. Some of the popular treatment options for athletes include:

1.    Topical antifungals

These include creams, lotions, and ointments. Topical treatments for toenail fungus are the go-to when treating nail fungus, especially if the infection is starting out or hanging out in the mild to moderate range. You can usually snag these over-the-counter nail fungus treatments at your local pharmacy or online, making them a convenient option for getting your feet back in fighting shape.

2.    Oral antifungal medications

If things have gone off the rails and the nail fungus is putting up a serious fight, oral antifungal medications are the right course of action. Oral medications are designed to take down fungi from the inside out. However, you’ll need a prescription from a healthcare professional to get your hands on oral antifungals. But they are worth the hassle as they are effective in getting rid of the infection.

3.    Laser therapy

If you want a non-invasive option that’s still effective, laser therapy is for you. This cutting-edge treatment uses targeted laser beams to zap the fungi without harming the surrounding tissue. Laser therapy is pricier than your typical antifungal cream but will return your feet to their former glory.

4.    Surgical intervention

Finally, in the rare event that your nail fungus has gotten out of control and is causing deformity, surgical intervention might be the right treatment option. Surgery is invasive and expensive. However, if it’s the only option to help you return to peak performance as an athlete, then it’s worth considering.

Fortunately, many athletes catch the infection early and hit it hard with non-prescription nail fungus treatments before it can mess with their game.

Tips for athletes to keep playing while on nail fungus treatment

Just because you have a nail fungus infection doesn’t mean you have to hit pause on your game. Here are a few savvy tips to keep you playing like a champ while giving nail fungus the boot:

1.    Follow the treatment regimen religiously

Firstly, choose a treatment option and stick to it. The results are not always immediate, but you must be consistent. Read the leaflets that come with non-prescription antifungals or follow the instructions given by your healthcare provider. Whether slathering on creams, popping pills, or using ointments, you must follow the treatment regimen to a T. Consistency will help speed up the healing process and minimize any downtime for your beloved sports activities.

2.    Monitor progress

While taking the treatment, inspect your feet regularly. Keep an eye on how things are shaping up. If you notice any changes or the symptoms worsen, it may be time to talk to your doctors. Don’t wait for things to go from bad to worse to visit healthcare professionals. Getting the right treatment plan early will help you get back on track faster.

3.    Maintain hygiene practices

Keep your feet clean and dry after every activity. This is more than just keeping your feet fresh. Your feet must be clean to ensure the fungus treatment has the best shot at getting rid of the infection.

4.    Choose suitable footwear

If you are an athlete with a nail fungus infection, it might be time to reconsider your footwear. Opt for kicks that fit perfectly and let your feet breathe. Look for breathable materials and custom orthotics that promote airflow and keep moisture buildup at bay. Get moisture-wicking socks to ensure your feet are always dry so your nail fungus medication can work on the fungal infection.

5.    Don’t share personal items.

Lastly, keep your personal items to yourself. Do not share towels, socks, or nail clippers. This ensures nail fungus does not spread from one person to another. By not sharing personal items, you keep your teammates fungus-free.


Nail fungus infections can throw a wrench in any athlete’s game. However, they are no match for any determined athlete armed with the right strategies and toenail fungus treatment knowledge. By staying on top of your foot hygiene, choosing the correct footwear, and following your treatment plan religiously, you can eradicate nail fungus from your feet. With a little persistence and a lot of grit, you’ll be back in action and smashing records before you know it.