You Really Need to Stop This Dangerous Gym Habit

Most people will tell you that you’re probably safe if you don’t wear shower shoes at the gym| but it’s not a chance you should be willing to take. Warm| moist environments like your gym’s shower stalls are the places where fungi thrive| and if your feet are not protected by shower shoes| it’s easy to pick one up. Going into shower stalls unprotected can lead to athlete’s foot or even onychomycosis| an infection that turns toenails hard and yellow| says Jane Andersen| a podiatrist and a spokesperson for the American Podiatric Medical Association.

Both infections can require over-the-counter and prescription antifungal treatments| and if you pick up onychomycosis at the gym| it can be a lengthy process that takes months to fully treat. If you’re blessed with a painful plantar wart that doesn’t clear up with over-the-counter treatment| you can plan at least one uncomfortable (and| in some cases| expensive) trip to your dermatologist’s office.

While none of these ailments is life threatening| they can prove to be painful ¡ª or just a pain in general. As long as you keep your feet dry| wear clean socks at the gym| and don’t share shoes| you can easily prevent these foot problems by simply slipping on some shower shoes. In short| we’re sold: rubber flip-flops are well worth the $2 investment.

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