Fungal toenails, onychomycosis, is a very common fungal nail infection in the foot. The nails become infected when they are injured and a separation occurs between the nail and cuticle. Both of these infections can be caused by fungus, mold, or yeast.
The most common fungus, known as Trichophyton, thrives under warm, damp conditions so people whose feet sweat a great deal are more susceptible to both types of fungus. It is easily transmitted in showers and pool walkways. Those people with immunosuppressive conditions, such as diabetes mellitus, are also more susceptible to athlete’s foot and toenail fungus.
Athlete’s foot (tinea pedis) is a very common fungal skin infection of the foot. It often first appears between the toes. It can be a one-time occurrence or it can be chronic.
Signs and symptoms:
- Yellow, white, or brown discoloration, thickening, debris build up under the edge of the nail, recent injury to the toenails
- Itchy feet.
- White or red and soft scaling on feet, usually in between toes.
- Small blisters may be present.
- Bad odor from the foot
- Very rare involvement of hands and simultaneously (called an Id reaction).
- Diagnosis is via symptoms and by examining skin scrapings or toenail clippings under a microscope.
- Prescription topical or oral antifungal medication.
- Laser treatment for toenails
- Keep feet as dry as possible! Change socks twice a day if necessary and wear those made of natural fibers, such as cotton. Go barefoot when you have a chance or wear sandals. Dry thoroughly in between toes after swimming or bathing.
- Anti-perspirant foot spray to lessen moisture on feet
- Spray your shower at home with a 10% bleach solution after bathing. This may help decrease the chance that other family members will be infected.
- Wear sandals or thongs in public showers and around pools.
- Use a shoe sterilizer to prevent reoccurrence or throw out and replace old shoes
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