What does ‘toe jam’ mean? ‘Toe jams’ – as vague as it sounds, is an umbrella term for the smelly junk accumulated between your toes which is usually caused if you do not clean your toes and maintain proper hygiene. Dr.Sejal Shah, New York City dermatologist says: “Toe jam’ is a non-medical term that refers to the debris that builds up between toes.” Toe jam infection is not considered a serious issue, however, it is worthy of more attention. Toe jams may look nasty and gross and will give a foul odor, but if one takes proper care of her hygiene, it is curable. Causes of toe jam infection The director of the non-surgical foot centre at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City, Rock G. Positano said -“The foot is contained in a shoe that provides an excellent environment for pathogens such as bacteria and fungus to grow because it is warm, dark, and moist within the shoe environment.” The lint from your socks A common cause of toe jam infection is the fiber material from your socks. The sock lint is fuzzy and when it combines with sweat and dust, it gives rise to bacterial infections. We are not completely unaware of how smelly, socks can get sometimes, and we know how unhygienic it is. Before using brand new socks, wash it. Also, one should wash socks regularly. Walking bare foot Walking barefoot causes your toes to get dirty, thus leaving deposits of dirt and soil between your toes. This dirt, when gets combined with sweat, causes bacterial infections. Dry skin flakes Skin conditions like Eczema, Psoriasis, can cause dry flaking skin cells, which when gets combined with sweat and dirt, gives rise to toe jam infections. When combined with body oils and sweat, it can even form small toe jam balls around your toes. Calluses or corns Sometimes, due to pressure and heat, thickened corns can be formed between your toes. When these corns become softened with sweat, heat, and dirt, it may give rise to toe jam infections Fungal infections like Athlete’s foot Fungal infections like this generally thrive for a warm environment, like the inside of shoes and socks. These infections may give rise to the foul smell and toe jam infections as well. Anti-fungal powders can be used to get rid of this and in turn toe jams. Bacterial infections When you have a cut on your foot or your skin gets cracked, it may give rise to bacterial infections. These bacterial infections give rise to toe jam infections as well. However, bacterial infections should be taken care of properly because it gets rapidly spread. A physician should also be contacted because this may lead to serious health hazards as well. Who is more at risk? Though anyone can get infected with toe jam infections at any time, however, some people are more likely than others. Read on to find out if you are one of those who are at potential risk of getting affected by toe jam. Gym Buffs and athletes Athletes and gym buffs are most at risk. Areas like pool, steam rooms, shower stalls, locker room floor are breeding grounds of bacterial infections. This is because many athletes prefer working out on their barefoot. Athletes who wear socks while working out may get affected as well if their sock gets sweaty. The only way to prevent it is to take proper care of your toes after coming back from workout sessions. People who do not follow basic hygiene norms Even if you take a shower daily, still you need to take care of your toes separately. Crude gets accumulated around your toes if proper care is not taken. However, it is a bit hard for older individuals who have a poor vision. Also, balancing your body on one toe is risky. Make sure that you get yourself comfortable by sitting on a stool and then clean your toes properly. People who sweat excessively Some people sweat more than others. This condition is called Hyperhidrosis. It causes excessive sweat on the toes and palms of an individual. As sweat gives rise to toe jam infections, it is a bit harder for people with this condition. People with skin diseases If someone has eczema and other skin diseases, it is a bit harder for them too. The dead skin cells when comes in contact with sweat for a prolonged period, may give rise to different bacterial and toe jam infections. People living in extreme climatic conditions For people who live in extreme heat and humid climatic conditions may find it challenging to overcome toe jam infections. This is because, in climatic conditions as such, it is hard to keep your toes dry. How to prevent toe jam infections? Washing your feet thoroughly with soap and water, at least twice a day helps to maintain proper hygiene of your toes. You should always wash your toes with warm water and some gentle shampoo after working out. Washing your socks regularly is a must. Do not tear off a hanging nail. It will cause you more pain and will make you prone to the infection as well. If you face corns, gently soak them in warm water and use a pedicure tool to clean it up or visit an experienced podiatrist. Some medicated talcum powders can help you keep your toes dry and prevent toe jam infections. If the skin of your toe is dry and cracked, you can use petroleum jelly, it works wonders. Home remedies like soaking your feet in sea salt bath work wonders. Make sure that your shoes are the right size and not uncomfortable and too tight especially near the toes. If you suffer from toe jams, ladies, you should avoid pointed toe shoes and closed toe shooes and opt for sandals and peep toes. Always seek help from a doctor when you feel conditions are getting extreme. Toe jam infections are a common problem faced by many. Preventing it is not that much hard or expensive. You just need to take good care of your hygiene and lifestyle patterns. After all, everything is worth doing for a healthy feet, right?