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.
What Causes Nail Fungus
The most common fungi involved in fungal nail infections are Trichophyton rubrum and Tricyphyton mentagraphyte. These fungi like warm, moist environments, such as shoes. Public areas like gym locker rooms, shower rooms and swimming pools are common areas of exposure to fungi. The feet have less blood circulation, making it harder for your immune system to fight off the fungi your feet are exposed to. Learn more about the causes, preventative measures and how to get rid of toenail fungus by visiting our FAQ page.
Who Gets Athlete’s Foot And How Do You Get It
Athlete’s foot is a fungal infection of the skin on the feet. It is very common – up to one in four people have athlete’s foot at some point in their lives. Fungal germs often occur in small numbers on human skin where they usually do no harm. However, if conditions are right they can invade the skin, multiply and cause infection. The conditions fungi like best are warm, moist and airless areas of skin, such as between the toes.
Anyone can get athlete’s foot. It is more common in people who sweat more, or who wear shoes and socks which make their feet more sweaty. Athlete’s foot can also be passed on from person to person. For example, this may occur in communal showers used by athletes or swimmers. A tiny flake of infected skin from a person with athlete’s foot can fall off whilst showering. It may then be trodden on by others who may then develop the infection. Once a small patch of infection develops, it typically spreads along the skin.
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How Did I Get Tinea
One of every five persons gets a fungus infection at some time. You can get a fungus infection by touching a person who has one. Some kinds of fungus live on damp surfaces, like the floors in public showers or locker rooms. You can easily pick up a fungus there. You can even catch a fungus infection from one of your pets. Dogs and cats, as well as farm animals, can be infected with a fungus. Often this infection looks like a patch of skin where fur is missing.
Conditions That May Look Like Toenail Fungus
Several health conditions can affect the appearance of your toenails and may be mistaken for toenail fungus.
Psoriasis Psoriasis can cause red, scaly patches on the skin. More than half of people with skin psoriasis also have it on their nails. Toenails and fingernails affected by psoriasis may be thick, discolored, crumbly, or loose. Some people will have nail changes with psoriasis, and if it affects the matrix , then these changes are permanent, says Sheth.
Skin Cancer A discolored spot underneath a toenail may be a sign of melanoma, a potentially fatal form of skin cancer. Melanoma under a toenail usually looks like a brown or black streak or may appear similar to a bruise. Although this isnt common, its also not rare, says Sheth. Her advice: Its always good to check it out.
Darier Disease This genetic disorder typically causes yellowish, wartlike blemishes on the body. However, some people with Darier disease also have fingernail or toenail irregularities, such as nails that are marked with red and white streaks, according to Genetics Home Reference. Sheth notes, however, that shes never had a biopsy come back with a diagnosis of Darier disease.
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Many Underlying Health Conditions Can Cause Changes To The Appearance Of Your Toenails
There are a lot of people out there, hiding their nails in closed-toe shoes. They are embarassed of the appearance of the nails and don’t want to feel that they are being judged or that people will be talking about them. Many times the embarassing appearance of your nails is due to a fungal infection – but sometimes it’s not! We have seen many patients that seek treatment of fungal nails and when we see them in our office we find out that a treatment with anti-fungals will not help. There are times when the changes in the nail are not typical for nail fungus and then there are times when we’d bet money that the nails are fungal and they turn out not to be.
There are quite a few different causes for the change of appearance in nails. In our clinic, we perform a debridement of the affected nail and send it to a dermatologic pathology lab which reviews the nail under a microscope and also performs a fungal culture to definitely diagnose the cause of damage to the nail. Once we have this information, we can cater treatments and also discuss the level of improvement to expect with the given treatment plan. The following are conditions that cause changes in the appearance of nails.
It is easy to see from the information above that changes in the appearance of toenails can provide information about many underlying issues in the body. If you have concerns about why your nails have changed appearance, make an appointment to see one of our doctors today!
How Is A Fungal Rash Diagnosed
A healthcare provider may be able to diagnose a fungal rash by looking at it and asking about your symptoms. Many times, the diagnosis can be confirmed by examining scrapings of the scale under the microscope . In some cases, you may need a fungal culture test to identify a specific fungus and help determine the best treatment for you.
During a fungal culture test, your provider may take a small sample of skin or fluid . For severe infections, you may need a blood test.
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First Off What Is Toenail Fungus
If youre showing signs of discolored toenails and other unpleasant symptoms, you may just be dealing with toenail fungus.
A fungal nail infection develops from the overgrowth of fungi in, under, or on the nail. Its common knowledge that fungi thrive in warm and moist environments, so the nails on your feet have ideal conditions for fungi to naturally overpopulate. Most fungal nail infections are caused by the very same fungi that cause athletes foot, ringworm, and jock itch. The rapid overpopulation of fungi that are already present in your body can cause nail infections. Fungal nail infections are quite communicable, so if youve come in contact with someone who had a fungal infection, you may have contracted it too. Toenails tend to be affected more than fingernails, since theyre usually confined to shoes, which are the ideal breeding grounds for these fungi.
Pedicures at nail salons can also lead to fungal nail infections, which is why you need to make sure the tools are cleaned and disinfected regularly and well. Tools like nail cutters and files can very easily spread fungal nail infections from person to person if theyre not sanitised properly.
Can I Treat A Fungal Rash At Home
Its important for your healthcare provider to see the rash, especially if this is the first time the rash has appeared. Your provider can diagnose it and discuss the best course of action to treat it. Treating a fungal rash with an anti-itch cream that contains a steroid may make the infection worse and more difficult to treat.
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Athletes Foot: When Fungus Finds A Comfy Home In Your Feet
Dermatophytes are fungi that like to take up residence in peoples feet and toes, causing athletes foot. The fungi enter through the front door a cut or scrape on the foot. They sit down in a comfy chair like the space between your toes. These guests open the fridge and find stuff they like to snack on such as hair, skin, and nails. Then, they enjoy hanging around so much that they invite their friends. Pretty soon, the fungus is spreading all over. Your feet itch and your toes look like nobodys cleaned the place in ages.
Youll probably know if your feet have become party central for dermatophytes. Symptoms such as cracked skin in between your toes or itchy, dry, scaly skin on the soles and sides of your feet speak loudly and clearly.
Whitish Or Yellowish Patch
Another type of fungal infection is called proximal subungual onychomycosis. It looks like a whitish or yellowish patch that starts at the base of the toenail, near the cuticle. The infection is rare in healthy people. More often, it happens in people with weakened immune systems. It can also be a sign of HIV.
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When To Get Treatment
Cellulitis is always a medical emergency. If you see a red streak moving up your foot, get immediate medical help.
Cellulitis is typically caused by a break in the skin. It’s especially common in people with diabetes or poor blood circulation. S. aureus and Streptococcus are the most likely causes.
Simple cases may be treated with broad-spectrum antibiotics for between five and 14 days. Serious cases may require hospitalization with intravenous antibiotics and fluids.
How Can I Prevent A Fungal Rash
In some people, fungal rashes tend to come back even after treatment. Recurring infections may be due to genetics you may be more prone to developing these infections. These steps can help prevent a rash from recurring or developing in the first place:
Good foot hygiene
- Change your socks and wash your feet regularly. Avoid shoes made of plastic, which doesnt breathe.
- Dont walk barefoot, especially in places that may be wet, such as gym showers and locker rooms.
- When cutting your toenails, cut straight across the nail. If you have an ingrown toenail, you may need to see a podiatrist to care for it. And if you have a fungal nail infection, dont use the same nail clippers on healthy nails and infected nails.
Proper medicine use
- If your healthcare provider prescribed a cream , use the medicine as long as directed. Even after you can no longer see the rash, the fungal infection may still be there, so keep applying the cream as long as your provider recommends.
- Your healthcare provider may recommend the same course of treatment for all the members of your family. Often, people living together can pass an infection back and forth. Treating everyone will help make sure the infection is truly gone.
- Talk to your healthcare provider about whether you should use an antifungal cream regularly on your feet and nails to help prevent infections.
- Using antifungal powder in your shoes every day may help prevent athletes foot.
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How Do I Get Athletes Foot
Athletes foot commonly spreads through skin-to-skin contact or contact with a flake of skin. It spreads in areas used by large groups of people, like locker rooms, swimming pools and saunas.
It can also spread through contact with an infected surface. You can get athletes foot by sharing towels, socks or shoes with someone who has athletes foot.
Can You Prevent Toenail Fungus
If your toenail fungus is caused by something in your control , then yes. You can:
You also may see a reduction in bouts of toenail fungus by keeping your toenails consistently clean, dry, trimmed, and free of nail polish .
However, many causes of toenail fungus are caused by other conditions, like chronic illness, old age, and diabetes, and there may not be much you can do to prevent fungus in these situations. Dr. Spielfogel does recommend using preventative products if you know you’re at risk for fungal infections the Dr.’s Remedy line of nail care products, for example, includes an antifungal cuticle oil that can be used nightly to reduce the risk of fungal growth.
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What Does Nail Fungus Look Like In Early Stages
When the infection first begins, you may notice changes in the nail. This includes the discoloration of nails. The changes in color can result in seeing white, brown, or yellow spots on the nail. The nail bed which is under the nail will thicken and become hardened. This can result in the nail coming off the nail bed.
How To Keep Fungus Out
Fungi thrive in moisture. Humans get fungal infections when we walk in places that are constantly wet, like pool decks, public shower stalls, and locker rooms. But there are some simple ways to prevent your feet from becoming a gateway for these organisms:
- Never walk barefoot in communal, damp areas. Wear flip-flops to create a barrier between your skin and the fungus.
- Cover cuts or scrapes with a bandage.
- Keep your feet clean and dry. Change quickly out of sweaty socks. Wash your feet daily and dry them thoroughly, including the spaces between your toes.
- Dont share socks, shoes, towels, sheets, or toenail clippers with someone whos got athletes foot its contagious.
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How Is Toenail Fungus Diagnosed
Onychomycosis is diagnosed mainly by appearance. There are a few conditions, like psoriasis, that can make the nails get thickened and brittle, but the vast majority of the time it is caused by fungus. Back when the medications used to treat toenail fungus were especially toxic and expensive, I would send off a clipping of the nail for culture, but the culture took several months to yield a result. Now that the medications are cheaper and safer, I usually dont send for culture.
What To Do If You Let Fungus In
Without treatment, athletes foot can spread to your toenails and become quite difficult to get rid of. You can try over-the-counter creams designed to kill the fungus they sometimes work. But if youre having trouble evicting this unwanted tenant, make an appointment with Dr. Megan L. Oltmann and Dr. Craig B. Frey of Foot & Ankle Associates of Cleveland. We welcome residents of Cuyahoga, Summit, Portage, and Geauga Counties to our office in Solon, Ohio. Call us at 903-1041 or contact us online.
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How Can I Treat Athlete’s Foot In Pregnancy
Treatment options during pregnancy may include dilute vinegar soaks or sprays and Lotrimin cream twice a day for two to three weeks to the soles. Antifungal pills are generally not recommended during pregnancy because of the potential side effects and possible fetal harm. Always check with your OB/GYN before using any medication or treatment during pregnancy.
Who Gets Toenail Fungus
Men are more likely to get it than women. The older you are, the better your chances are, too. People who have diabetes, athlete’s foot, or a weak immune system, who smoke, or whose family members have it are also at a higher risk. If you spend a lot of time in the water or you’ve injured your toenail, your odds for getting toenail fungus go up.
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What Causes Athletes Foot
Athletes foot occurs when the tinea fungus grows on the feet. You can catch the fungus through direct contact with an infected person, or by touching surfaces contaminated with the fungus. The fungus thrives in warm, moist environments. Its commonly found in showers, on locker room floors, and around swimming pools.
Anyone can get athletes foot, but certain behaviors increase your risk. Factors that increase your risk of getting athletes foot include:
- visiting public places barefoot, especially locker rooms, showers, and swimming pools
- sharing socks, shoes, or towels with an infected person
- wearing tight, closed-toe shoes
There are many possible symptoms of athletes foot, which include:
- itching, stinging, and burning between your toes or on soles of your feet
- blisters on your feet that itch
- cracking and peeling skin on your feet, most commonly between your toes and on your soles
- dry skin on your soles or sides of your feet
- raw skin on your feet
- discolored, thick, and crumbly toenails
- toenails that pull away from the nail bed