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How To Prevent Foot Fungus

When To Seek Medical Care For Athlete’s Foot

How to Prevent Toenail Fungus | Foot Care

If your athlete’s foot inhibits your normal daily activities, you should seek medical attention. If it does not bother you and is only a cosmetic annoyance, then a visit to a medical professional may not be necessary.

A simple fungal infection such as athlete’s foot can become “super-infected” with bacteria. If this should happen, the rash will become increasingly painful and red. Your foot may become swollen, and you may develop blisters and even open sores in the infected area. These are indications that you may need oral antibiotics and will need to call your doctor.

It is unlikely that athlete’s foot would ever become severe enough that a trip to a hospital’s emergency department is required. However, if you have diabetes or any other type of illness that will make it hard for your body to fight off an infection, athlete’s foot may become a more serious skin problem.

If you develop severe pain, redness, or swelling, notice a pus-like drainage, see large blisters on your foot, or develop a fever, you should see your doctor as soon as possible.

Over-the-counter antifungal creams are sufficient for treating most cases of athlete’s foot. Apply them as directed to the toes and foot. Common brands include clotrimazole andterbinafine .

If the topical antifungal medications do not clear up the infection, your doctor may prescribe an oral antifungal medication.


See A Dermatologist To Pinpoint The Problem

Foot fungus wont just go away on its own, Dr. Ng says. If you think you have foot or toenail fungus, see your dermatologist, she says. There are several tests that your dermatologist can perform to identify exactly whats going on.

Its important to be aware that there are other diseases which can cause nail changes, she says. For example, we do see things like squamous cell skin cancers in the nail beds and even melanomas, which have a brownish or blackish discoloration.

What Is Nail Fungus

Nail fungus is also called onychomycosis, is a pretty common kind of body fungus that can affect both your finger and toenails. Nail fungus is easy to spot by its characteristic yellow or whitish color most nail fungus conditions begin as a single spot beneath your finger or toenails.

Over time, the fungal infection can develop and eat into the keratin a protein similar to collagen of your finger and toenails. Nail fungus can affect more than one nail at the same time, so its important to treat infected nails when you see them, as well as practice some good habits to prevent it from affecting you in the first place.

Additionally, lots of people think that toenail fungus is the same thing as athletes foot but the latter condition is actually a separate type of fungus that can affect the skin between your toes. Its not the same kind of fungus that develops beneath your toe or fingernails. A few different types of fungus and bacterial infections include dermatophytes, Candida onychomycosis, and cellulitis.

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Doctors Weigh Best Treatments

The best treatment for fungal nail infections is a prescription that your dermatologist can prescribe that you take every day for two-to-three months. The pill is not for everyone, since oral antifungals can interact with other medications and can affect the liver.

Fortunately if you dont want to or cant take a pill, there are topical solutions to treat nail fungus. Although topical medications are desirable because of the low risk of side effects and interaction with other medications, they have much longer treatment regimens. Generally, topical medications have a lower clearance rate compared to oral pills.

Newer topical antifungals including Efinaconazole and Tavaborole have better penetration of the nail plate and so they work better compared to older topical medications, says Dr. Ng. She says the topical medications work best if you only have partial nail involvement.

Lasers are approved by the FDA to temporarily increase the amount of clear nail. However, the cure rates are lower than oral medications and topical solutions.

Toenail Fungus Prescription Medications

9 Best Home Remedies for Toenail Fungus to Prevent Infection

Sometimes prescription medications are needed to treat a toenail infection that just wont go away with natural remedies or over-the-counter medication in a few months. In this case, prescription-strength antifungal medication can eradicate stubborn onychomycosis.

Topical medications often are effective in treating mild to moderate toenail fungus. Topical solutions may include medicated nail polishes or liquid medications. Loprox , Penlac , Kerydin , and Jublia are among the top prescription drugs for toenail fungus.

Oral medications can come in capsules, tablets, or liquid. Some common prescriptions are Diflucan , Lamisil , Onmel , and Sporanox .

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Athletes Foot: Causes Prevention And Treatment

While its not a life-or-death matter, athletes foot-especially if its persistent-can be painful and make walking difficult.

The early signs of athletes foot are patches or fissures , especially between the toes. As the infection progresses, the skin may turn red, become itchy, and appear moist. Small blisters may spread out across the foot, breaking to expose raw fissures that are painful and may swell. The area between the toes is most often affected, but the infection may spread to the soles of the feet or to the toenails, which can become thick and colored white or cloudy yellow. In the most advanced cases, the rash will extend moccasin-style across the sole of your foot, and your feet may ooze pus and develop a foul odor.

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Tips To Help Prevent Toenail Fungus

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Warm, sweaty feet are a breeding ground for a toenail fungal infection. Find out how you can sidestep this threat and keep your feet healthy.

Preventing toenail fungus may not be at the top of your to-do list, but perhaps it should be. Fungi are nearly everywhere in our environment, and they particularly love dark, moist, warm places, like inside your shoes. That makes it relatively easy to stumble upon a toenail fungal infection .

As many as half of all nail disorders are due to toenail fungal infection, and the condition affects about 14 percent of the population, according to a study published an an issue of The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology.

How Toenail Fungal Infections DevelopToenail fungal infections are most often caused by microscopic organisms called dermatophytes. These organisms feed on keratin, the protein found in nails and hair.

There are several factors that increase your risk of developing a toenail fungal infection. Most people contract toenail fungus from a fungal skin infection such as athletes foot that transfers to the nail, says Jane E. Andersen, DPM, a podiatrist at Chapel Hill Foot and Ankle Associates in North Carolina and a spokesperson for the American Podiatric Medical Association. The wrong footwear can also take a toll on your toes. If toenails are traumatized by pressure from ill-fitting shoes, for instance, theyre weakened and more susceptible to fungus, she says.

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What Causes Toenail Fungus And How To Prevent It

Unfortunately, the warm and moist environment inside your shoe can make you vulnerable to fungal infections. When these occur on the toenail, doctors call the condition onychomycosis. Fungal skin infections commonly called athletes foot can often affect the foot as well.

One of the you get a fungal toenail infection is when fungus invades small cracks in your toenail. Some people are at greater risk for this occurring, including those with:

  • circulation problems, especially related to the feet
  • diabetes

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Few Vetted Treatment Options

How to get rid and prevent toenail fungus?

For years, its been slim pickings in terms of pharmaceuticals. There is a topical called Penlac that seems to work sometimes for very mild cases. Laser treatments sometimes make the nails look a bit better but have not been proven to kill the fungus. Then there are pills that people have to take for several months. The oral medications such as Lamisil or Nizoral are effective, but many people are afraid of them because of potential side effects, including a negative impact on kidney and liver function. Vlahovic admits the search for a cure has been a bit sluggish.

Its not something that people are jumping at doing research on, because you dont have the instant gratification as you would if you would do a clinical trial for athletes foot that only lasts for six weeks, Vlahovic said. Toenail treatment trials have to last for at least a year and that makes them costly.

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What Will The Doctor Do

A doctor can usually figure out that you have athlete’s foot by looking at the skin on your feet. Your doctor may swab or scrape off a skin sample to test for fungus or for bacteria, because sometimes other conditions can cause similar symptoms. Don’t worry, this won’t hurt you have lots of extra layers of skin on your feet!

Treatment is usually simple. For mild cases, your doctor may have you apply a powder that contains medicine or cream that kills fungus. This should make your feet feel better in a few days. Sometimes you’ll need to use the medicine for up to a month to get rid of the athlete’s foot completely.

You’ll also need to keep your feet dry and keep your shoes off as much as possible because fungus can’t easily grow in dry, open air. If doing these things doesn’t help clear up the infection, your doctor might prescribe a stronger medicine. This one will be the kind you swallow, not just something that you apply to your feet.

It’s important to see a doctor about your athlete’s foot because if it goes untreated, it will continue to spread, making your feet feel really itchy and uncomfortable and will become harder to get rid of.

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How Can Toenail Fungus Spread

There are various reasons for that. The toenail fungus is already quite contagious, and resistive to all kinds of weather. However, knowing what can be the real cause for the spread of toenail fungus can help you understand how to prevent it efficiently.

Here we have discussed a few of the potential reasons that can be a cause of the spread of toenail fungus among people, and on your body parts.

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Clean Your Feet Daily

If you do pick up any contaminants on your feet, regular cleaning can protect you from developing a full-blown case of athlete’s foot.

Scrub between your toes each day, making sure to completely clean the cracks and crannies around your nails. For best results, let your feet dry completely before putting on shoes or socks.

If you need assistance to deal with a stubborn case of athlete’s foot, get in touch with us at Town Center Foot & Ankle today. We can diagnose your infection and recommend effective therapies and treatments to relieve your discomfort.

You can schedule an initial consultation by our office in either Kingwood or Atascocita, Texas, or use our online tool to request an appointment.

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Precautionary Measures And Some Healthy Habits To Remove Foot Fungus

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Are you worried about how you can prevent foot fungus? You dont need to worry as here are some of the precautionary measures that I take to prevent my feet from fungus:

  • Keep your feet dry and clean
  • When you are at home, let your feet be free by wearing open shoes so that the air is contacting them as much as possible. Wash them with soap every day and afterward dry them off well. Make sure that after your bath or shower, you dry appropriately between your toes so that the water does not remain.

    2. Avoid going barefoot

    Fungus loves to grow in warm and wet places. So, if you are walking on damp grass, around pools, or anywhere where there can be moisture, make it a habit to wear shoes.

    3. Wear good socks

    I learned the hard way that the poor material of socks can also cause foot fungus. You should assure before buying socks that they are made of natural material, such as cotton and wool. A synthetic fiber sock is designed in such a way that it can help to drain the moisture away from feet. I highly recommend checking out our article on Moisture Wicking Socks

    4. Change socks regularly

    Every day put on a clean pair of socks. During a walk or workout, if I feel that my feet are getting sweaty, I change my socks to avoid excess moisture remaining between the toes. So, it is preferable to change your socks twice a day, if needed.

    5. Use light, well-ventilated shoes

    6. Alternate the pair of your shoes regularly

    7. Disinfect your shoes and socks regularly

    9. Powder your foot

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    What Are The Treatment Options

    There are three types of treatments available for nail fungus depending on the degree or severity of the infection. You can treat nail fungus orally with antifungal medicines which could take up to four months of daily medication. There are topical treatments that can easily be applied like nail polish. However, in extreme cases where the topical medication cannot reach the infection, the doctor might remove the entire nail for proper application.

    There are also a lot of home remedies that you can try. Here are is a short list of the best natural ingredients for the treatment of nail fungus.

    • Apple cider vinegar

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    Dont Go Barefoot In Public Areas

    Since toenail fungus is so contagious and thrives in moist, warm places, dont go barefoot in public places like pools, showers, and locker rooms. These areas are full of microscopic fungal organisms that can take root in your nails and cause you a summer of trouble.

    When in public areas, protect your nail health by wearing sandals, flip-flops, or shower shoes to minimize your exposure.

    For more information on preventing stubborn toenail fungus or to treat an existing infection, contact Dr. Hopkins and the team at South Sound Foot & Ankle!

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    How Can I Prevent Athlete’s Foot

    Many people will develop athlete’s foot at least once in their lives. Some will get it more often. To help avoid it:

    • Wash your feet every day.
    • Dry your feet well, especially between the toes.
    • Sometimes go barefoot at home especially at night.
    • Avoid wearing tight or synthetic footwear that doesn’t allow your feet to “breathe.”
    • Wear sandals around pool areas, public showers, and gyms to steer clear of the fungus.
    • Wear socks that soak up wetness. Cotton is one material that does this.
    • Change your socks every day if they get damp.
    • Ask your parent to buy antifungal powder to put in your sneakers or shoes.
    • Spray your shoes with a disinfectant and set them in out in the sun to help kill germs.
    • Don’t share towels or footwear.
    • Keep home bathroom surfaces clean especially showers and tubs.

    Protect Your Feet In Fungal Environments

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    Fungal toenail infections and athletes foot are caused by the same types of fungus, and they love an environment with four things:

    • Moisture
    • Not too much light
    • Lots of bare feet to hitch a ride on

    This makes places like gyms, locker rooms, public showers, and public pools higher-risk environments to catch fungal infections. If you frequent any of these places, protective footwear can be your best friend.

    Aqua socks and water shoes are excellent choices, as each tends to fully encompass the foot. If you dont have or dont prefer those, shower shoes and even flip-flops are better than nothing. Just remember they will leave your feet more exposed in places.

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    Looking For More Information On Nail Fungus And Other Foot Ailments You Can Find Them Here

    The health of your feet is one of the most important aspects of your overall well-being. Our feet carry the entire load of our bodyweight, so small injuries can quickly become more serious if not properly addressed. Take a look at these links to learn more about how to deal with some common foot ailments:

    • The Mayo Clinic gives an excellent overview of treating toe fungus including information on how to prevent a fungal infection from reoccurring.
    • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides interesting information on foot problems caused by diabetes.
    • On this website, you will find some great tips to treat an ankle sprain
    • This article from the American Podiatric Medical Association gives you more information about foot health.
    • The University of Maryland Medical Center lists the causes as well as treatments for the many different types of foot pain.

    The Danger Of Waiting To Treat The Fungus

    The greatest danger of not treating the foot or toenail fungus is that it can spread to other parts of the body, such as the hands and groin.

    If for some reason you cant treat your toenails or your feet right away, at least use an antifungal topical cream on the surrounding skin, Dr. Ng says. That will help keep it from spreading and keep the skin intact.

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    How You Get Athletes Foot

    You can catch athletes foot from other people with the infection.

    You can get it by:

    • walking barefoot in places where someone else has athletes foot especially changing rooms and showers
    • touching the affected skin of someone with athletes foot

    Youre more likely to get it if you have wet or sweaty feet, or if the skin on your feet is damaged.

    Page last reviewed: 08 June 2021 Next review due: 08 June 2024

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