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Posts for tag: athlete's foot

You try to avoid it, but it happened. You developed fungal nails. This infection occurs from contact with fungus in warm, moist places. Often pools or communal showers can spread fungus and it grows well in dark places like sweaty socks. Improper nail clipping and cuts or abrasions on your feet can give fungus an easy entry. If you develop athlete's foot, it can spread to your nails. Fungal infection of the nail is identified by thick and brittle nails, often with yellow discoloration. You may also experience pain with a severe infection.

READ MORE: Fungal Nails

Traditional treatments for fungal infections include: topical creams, nail lacquer, oral medications, or surgical removal. Your podiatrist may need to identify the strain of fungus before treatment or suggest multiple treatments options in conjunction. If severe infection occurs, the nail may need to be surgically removed which means a long recovery time and no regrowth of the nail. Don't fret! There is a way to avoid all this.

The Foot & Ankle Wellness Center has been treating fungal nails with wild success using the Aerolase laser. We see a 90% success rate in laser treatments; the highest of any treatment option. Our Aerolase laser penetrates through the nail plate to the nail bed where it kills fungal infection with no damage to the surrounding nail. This is a safe and painless treatment. You can reapply nail polish immediately after treatment (we recommend Dr. Remedy's anti-fungal polish). Your nail won't look perfect right away. After the infection is destroyed, the yellowed and thickened nail will need to grow out. This usually takes about 6-12 months. Additional trimming and treatment in our PediCare salon can help make the existing nail look better.

READ MORE: The PediCare Difference

Not all insurances cover laser treatments, but HSA (Healthcare Savings Accounts) may be applicable. Fees for treatment range between $249.00 up to $399.00.  You will receive a written quote prior to treatment including the number of nails requiring treatment and the total price.  Two additional evaluations within 12 months of your original treatment date are included and we will provide laser treatment of any re-infection that occurs at no additional cost.

Call today to schedule your appointment.

Labor day is just around the corner (September 4th – in case you didn’t know) and it’s a day that celebrates the contributions common working folk have made to the social and economic growth of America. In a strangely ironic way, Americans celebrate this holiday shopping and enjoying time outdoors while the common working folk continue to labor, mostly in the retail and food service industries. People who work on their feet all day have an increased chance of major foot and leg problems. Just a short list of possible conditions include varicose veins, heel pain, leg or ankle swelling, bunions, plantar fasciitis, tendonitis, joint damage, fallen arches, poor circulation…should I go on?! Since that’s a bit too many to go through one-by-one, let’s look at how best we can avoid any or all of these from occurring in the first place.

The Right Shoes

There is nothing so valuable to your foot health as wearing the right shoes. For active jobs you need proper footwear that has the right features for your profession. When you shop for shoes, do so at the end of the day and make sure to try on both shoes to check for foot size differentiation. Stilettos are not good for daily wear. Save them for the extra special occasions and choose a stylish low heel (1-2 inches) instead for those long days in the office. If you’re in the food service industry, be sure to find shoes with enough tread to give you stability on wet floors. Making good decisions from the start can help avoid injury in the first place

…And Other Important Accessories

Let’s say you work outside and need heavy work boots in hot weather; your feet probably sweat. To avoid problems with fungal infections like athlete’s foot, keep your feet cool and dry with sweat-wicking socks and foot deodorizing powders. If you have existing foot problems like flat feet, you need to have special orthotics to give additional support. Proper shoe inserts align the body and alleviate more than just foot pain. They can straighten the spine, alleviate pain from your toes to your shoulders, and increase your circulation. If you struggle with leg swelling, you may need to consider wearing compression hose

Stretching

You may think it sounds mad to say that those who work on their feet all day need to do extra foot exercises, but in fact, stretching overused muscles can help prevent chronic injury for those who rely on their feet for their work. When your muscles stay in the same position for extended periods of time, like those who stand for most of the day, they can literally ‘freeze’ in place. For those with active jobs, who repeat the same motions over and over again, overuse leading to redness, tenderness, and strain is common. Try basic stretches like toe raises to work your calves or try removing your shoes to roll a tennis ball under your arches for a few minutes every few hours. Stretching now can lead to fewer problems later and it doesn’t have to take very long. In addition to stretching, try raising your feet during lunch breaks.

Home Care

I’ve had days where it was hard to take a bathroom break, much less time to stretch or put my feet up. In that case, I need to pamper my tired dogs when I finally get home. One of the best things you can do for your feet is sitting down, alleviating pressure on the feet and knees. If your ankles show signs of swelling, raise them and pack on the ice to reduce inflammation. Don’t forget to pamper yourself every once in awhile too. Regular pedicures can help reduce buildup of dead skin and keep nails healthy and free from infection and ingrown toenails.

Seeing Your Podiatrist

When in doubt, see your podiatrist. A quick trip to the doctor when you first experience symptoms can do a lot to keep healing time to a minimum and your work efficiency to a maximum. Don’t wait until you have to miss work due to your foot problems, make your appointment today.

 

I hope that everyone has a great Labor Day full of safe fun and proper footwear, and for those who have to work and be on their feet all day, make sure to follow our instructions to avoid a painful ending. Happy Labor Day all!

 

A while back we talked about fungus and the lovely things it can do to your toenails. However, we didn’t talk about what happens when fungus infects our skin. The most common fungal infection of the foot is athlete’s foot or tinea pedis, if you want to sound really smart. Athlete’s foot was first described in a medical text dated 1888, but had probably been around for centuries. The first reported case in the United States was traced back to 1920 and may have been introduced to the US by soldiers returning from WWI.

The tinea fungus is responsible for the condition we know as athlete’s foot and there are a few important things you should know First of all, athlete’s foot is really only skin deep and therefore not generally dangerous (just uncomfortable and unsightly). The fungus enters the keratin, or first layer of skin, usually on the bottom of the foot or between the toes and starts to grow there. Usually, the keratin layer of our skin is being flaked off and replaced by the skin underneath, but the fungi responsible for athlete’s foot slow down this process and so the skin remains in a constant state of infection.

This type of fungal infection is contracted through either direct contact with an infected person or contact with a surface on which the tinea fungus is present. Behaviors that put you at risk for athlete’s foot include walking barefoot in public showers, locker rooms, or swimming pools, sharing socks or shoes with infected people, wearing tight and enclosed shoes, and keeping your feet wet for long periods of time. The easiest way to avoid issues with athlete’s foot is to avoid the above behaviors! Always wear shoes in public showers and around pools (or any wet or moist place where fungus might like to grow) and keep your feet dry and air them out every once in a while if you wear enclosed shoes for long periods of time (like athletes do).

Signs and symptoms of athlete’s foot include a painful, itchy, burning, stinging feeling between the toes or on the sole of your foot, blisters that itch, cracking and peeling skin between the toes, and discolored or thick nails that pull away from the nail bed. You may experience just one of these symptoms or all of them. Cases can range in severity, but are generally easily treatable with over the counter creams and medications. If your athlete’s foot persists or seems healed and then returns, your doctor may prescribe a topical or oral prescription anti-fungal.

Severe cases of athlete’s foot can present with other symptoms. Allergic reactions to the fungus, secondary infections, and infection spreading to the lymph system can occur and require more serious treatment. Diabetics or those with decreased sensitivity need to monitor their feet closely to check for signs of complications and should see their podiatrist immediately for a treatment plan.

Whether mild or severe, no one likes athlete’s foot. If you think you may have athlete’s foot, please contact your doctor to be sure you are not experiencing symptoms of a more serious problem. Keep your feet dry and wear your shoes to the pool. It’s that simple to avoid the itchy, burning, unsightly problem of athlete’s foot.

                                         

To shoe or not to shoe, that is the question. If you’re anything like me, you kick your shoes off as soon as you walk through the door to your home after work. However, I know many people who will not go without shoes, even in their own home. So what are the arguments for going barefoot or not? Is it safe? Is it healthy? Is it even legal if you want to go without shoes in public? The answers may surprise you.

 

Belief: Going without shoes is bad for your feet.

Truth: Shoes are a modern day convenience. Millions of people worldwide still go without shoes on a daily basis, many of them by choice. Research on those who go without shoes show that their feet are actually healthier than those who constantly wear them. One reason may be that most people who wear shoes are not wearing the correct size. And don’t even get me started again on high heels. Common problems associated with wearing the wrong shoes include: calluses, bunions, hammertoes, and other foot deformities. Shoes interrupt the natural gait of humans. Evolution spent thousands of years perfecting the way we walk, making sure that each step increased the health of the human body in a natural, mechanical way. Now you throw on a pair of shoes and that gait changes. Take running for example. Research shows that when we run without shoes on, we are more likely to land on the balls of our feet, causing less shock to the legs than the “traditional” running gait of heel-toe while wearing shoes.

Belief: I can hurt myself or get a disease from going barefoot.

Truth: Think about the things you do everyday. Do you drive to work? Driving is exponentially more dangerous than going barefoot. When people argue about the dangers of going barefoot, they throw around words like “athlete’s foot”, “tetanus”, and “parasites” to scare you. The truth is that these are of very little concern. Let’s look at athlete’s foot. The APMA describes athlete’s foot as “a skin disease caused by a fungus, usually occurring between the toes. The fungus most commonly attacks the feet because shoes create a warm, dark, and humid environment, which encourages fungus growth.” http://goo.gl/e13HXO Pay close attention, did you notice the word shoes in that quote? So when people try to tell you that going barefoot will grow fungus on your feet, just look down at their shoes and chuckle. You know the truth.

But what about tetanus? Sure, cuts, abrasions, and stepping on sharp objects are always concerns when going barefoot, but this is easy to avoid and remedy. First of all, make sure your tetanus booster is up to date (once every ten years). Secondly, don’t just start going barefoot everywhere all at once. If your feet are not accustomed to being barefoot, then the soles of your feet are probably pretty sensitive. Once you start going barefoot for short periods of time, the skin on the soles of your feet will stiffen and grow thicker, which makes them more resistant to sharp objects. Third, be smart! Even if you love going barefoot, you wouldn’t walk through a construction site or a pile of glass without shoes. So be logical and watch where you step.

Ok, so how about those pesky parasites? While it is true that certain parasites can enter the body through the feet, this is very uncommon in the United States. The main concern for parasites is in developing countries where sanitation might not be the best. Again, just be smart about this. Don’t walk through a sewer without shoes on (although, I can’t think of why you would walk through a sewer in the first place).

Belief: Going barefoot is just gross and dirty.

Truth: When is the last time you washed your running shoes? Or that pair of high heels you wear to work every day? I’m guessing your answer was somewhere between “not very often” and “never”. Now, how about the last time you washed your feet? I’m hoping for most of you that the answer is every day in the shower. So when you get right down to it, going barefoot may get your feet a little dirtier than if you were wearing shoes, but based on how often your feet get washed, I would say that’s an ok trade off.

Belief: Going barefoot is good for everyone!

Truth: Unfortunately, this one is not true. If you have certain conditions, especially diabetes, it is very important that you continue to wear shoes, even at home. Diabetes leads to poor circulation in the feet, resulting in diminished sensitivity. So while most people would be able to feel a small sharp object poke the bottom of their foot, people with diabetes may not and this could lead to infection and possibly amputation. Even something as simple as stubbing your toe could lead to a more serious problem. The good thing is, there are plenty of shoes out there that, when they fit properly, can actually be good for your feet and look stylish.

You also want to wear shoes while playing sports or working around heavy or dangerous machinery or conditions. I wouldn't suggest playing a game of soccer or going to your factory job without shoes, even if it's legal to do so.

Belief: Going barefoot in most public places is illegal.

Truth: WRONG! There is no law requiring you to wear shoes except in a few public places, such as government buildings. When you see that sign in the window that says “No shirt. No shoes. No service.” That is simply that establishment’s decision. There are restaurants that won’t seat you if you aren’t wearing a tie, but that doesn’t mean it’s a law. Don’t believe me? The website www.barefooters.org wrote letters to the government of every state in 2009 asking about laws concerning going barefoot. Every single response affirmed that there was no law requiring footwear in public establishments. You can read all of the responses here: http://goo.gl/IxHwnF

So the next time you want to kick off your shoes and relax, do it. Get in touch with Mother Nature and feel the sand/dirt/grass between your toes. I promise, you wont get in trouble for it, although you may get some strange looks.