What Is Athlete’s Foot
Athlete’s foot is a type of fungal skin infection. Fungi are microscopic plant-like organisms that thrive in damp, warm environments. They’re usually not dangerous, but sometimes can cause disease. When they infect the skin, they cause mild but annoying rashes. Fungal skin infections are also known as tinea infections.
When fungus grows on the feet, it is called athlete’s foot . It got this name because it affects people whose feet tend to be damp and sweaty, which is often the case with athletes. But anyone can get this infection.
These infections are caused by several types of mold-like fungi called dermatophytes that live on the dead tissues of your skin, hair, and nails.
How Can I Prevent Athlete’s Foot
Don’t go barefoot in public areas such as the pool or gym where many others are also barefoot. Cut your risk by keeping your feet clean, dry, and powdered with an over-the-counter antifungal foot powder. Other sensible steps:
- Wear synthetic socks, and shoes that breathe shoes that keep water out also keep sweat in.
- Never share shoes, socks, or towels.
- If you get athlete’s foot, wash your socks and towels in the hottest water possible.
- Be doubly cautious if you take an antibiotic. The medication can kill beneficial bacteria that normally control the fungus that causes athlete’s foot.
- Take your shoes off when you go home and let your feet get exposed to the air.
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.
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Cure Your Foot Fungus Quickly Today
Why wait? Arent you tired of life just happening to you? Do you lack control in some situations? If yes, then take action now! Being proactive about the situation youre currently in will reward you tenfold. Your fungus will not go away on its own. It will take your action and sticking with the program.
I detail what worked for my dad and I in the article about getting rid of toenail fungus fast in the complete toenail fungus treatment. Also, if you would like to see the keys of getting rid of toenail fungus naturally fast, then you can read those articles.
Does Toenail Fungus Turn Black After It Dies
Yes, a detached toenail can turn black after it dies.
- The most common pathway for this to happen is for fungus to an infected toenail. The toenail then can start to rip away from the toe after it gets thick and black.
- This can cause dry blood to form between the toenail and the skin, and eventually, the toenail dies.
- The toenail then starts to rot and become overrun by bacteria and toenail fungus.
- This eventually can make toenail fungus turn black after it dies.
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A Pharmacist Can Help With Fungal Nail Infections
Speak to a pharmacist if the look of your nail bothers you or it’s painful.
They may suggest:
- antifungal nail cream it can take up to 12 months to cure the infection and does not always work
- nail-softening cream it’s used for 2 weeks to soften the nail so the infected part can be scraped off
The infection is cured when you see healthy nail growing back at the base.
What Is Toenail Fungus
Toenail fungus is usually an infection of the toenail caused by opportunistic fungi, explains Oliva. It may cause your nail to turn a yellow or white hue, thicken, or crumble at the outer edges.
While toenail fungus can occur in people of all ages, board-certified dermatologist Marie Hayag, MD, says that its most common in older folks. As the nail ages, it is prone to becoming brittle and dry, which can result in cracks in the nails that make it susceptible to fungal infections, she explains, noting that all of the aforementioned causes can be even more of a concern as a result.
Meet the Expert
- , MD, is a board-certified dermatologist practicing in Manhattan. She is an assistant clinical professor at Mount Sinai Hospital and also teaches in the Dermatology Departments surgery clinic.
- Francisco Oliva, DPM, is a Miami-based podiatrist who has been in private practice for 25+ years.
Nevertheless, because developing a toenail fungus can occur at all ages, we reveal the best ways to treat toenail fungus at home, below.
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Treatment For White Superficial Onychomycosis
White superficial onychomycosis is diagnosed by its appearance. To determine the type of foot fungus you have, your podiatrist may also take a culture of the nail. This foot fungus treatment is usually carried out through oral antifungal medications or topical antifungal medications. By supporting your feet with proper care, a strong topical antifungal medication should eradicate the infection.
Nail Fungus Home Remedies
One of the most effective nailfungus home remedies is the use of tea tree oil. Tea tree oil is a natural fungicide that will kill nail fungus on contact. Tea tree oil is effective in all but the most serious cases of nail fungus. You can mix equal parts tea tree oil with thyme oil and olive oil and rub this blend of oils directly on your nails. Go ahead and rub this one all your nails even if they dont all have nail fungus.
After you apply the oil to your nails you can gently rub it in with a soft brush to help the oils soak into your nail. Scrubbing your nail can also help eliminate the top layer of the nail which contains the most fungus. This treatment should be repeated once or twice daily for a few weeks or until the nail fungus is no longer visible.
Another effective nail fungus home remedy is soaking your nails in a mouthwash like Listerine®. The antiseptic properties of the mouthwash will kill any fungus trying to make your nails home. Mixing mouthwash with a strong acid like vinegar or lemon juice will provide a potent mix that can kill any kind of fungus, yeast or bacteria living in your nails. Its recommended to soak your nails for 10 to 20 minutes once a day for maximum effectiveness.
One of the most popular home remedies for nail fungus is the use of vinegar. Now you might think that vinegar is a silly way to deal with a fungus but consider a fungus is actually a growing organism.
- A Hair Dryer
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When Should Someone Seek Medical Care For Athlete’s Foot
If you notice any redness, increased swelling, bleeding, or if your infection is not clearing up, see your health care professional. If a bacterial infection is also occurring, an antibiotic pill may be necessary. If you have fungal nail involvement, are diabetic, or have a compromised immune system, you should also see your physician for treatment.
- Body skin fungus
- Secondary bacterial infections
This type of fungus generally likes to live in the skin, hair, and nails. It does not invade deep, go into body organs, or go into the blood system.
Fungal infections of the nails are called tinea unguium or onychomycosis. Nail fungus may be very difficult to treat. Antifungal pills may be required in cases of more advanced toenail fungal infections.
People with diabetes, HIV/AIDS, cancer, or other immune problems may be more prone to all kinds of infections, including fungus. In patients with diabetes, fungal infections may lead to potentially dangerous foot ulcerations.
When the skin is injured or damaged, the natural protective skin barrier is broken. Bacteria and yeasts can then invade the broken skin. Bacteria can cause a bad smell. Bacterial infection of the skin and resulting inflammation is known as cellulitis. This is especially likely to occur in individuals with diabetes, chronic leg swelling, who have had veins removed , or in the elderly. Bacterial skin infections also occur more frequently in patients with impaired immune systems.
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How To Treat Fungal Nail Effectively
Owing to the high recurrence rate of fungal nail infections, pharmacy professionals should be able to advise patients on effective treatment and preventative and appropriate self-care strategies to avoid re-infection.
Fungal nail infection is a mycotic infection caused by fungal invasion of the nail structure and is one of the most common nail disorders, representing half of nail abnormalities in adults. Its prevalence in Europe is around 4.3% over all age groups and 15.5% of all nail dystrophies in children. OM is more commonly diagnosed in men and older people, affecting 2050% of people aged over 60 years. An increased incidence among older people may be attributed to multiple factors, including reduced peripheral circulation, diabetes, inactivity, relative immunosuppression, and reduced nail growth and quality. Toenails are affected more commonly than fingernails.
This article will cover the causes, types and treatment of OM, practical information to help guide patient consultations and when to refer to podiatry.
How Can I Prevent Future Athlete’s Foot Infections
Since some people are simply more prone to fungal infections, they are also prone to repeated infection. Preventive measures include keeping your feet clean and dry, avoiding prolonged moist environments, using socks in airport security lines, removing shoes, and allowing the feet skin to “breathe,” avoiding walking barefoot, especially in public areas like swimming pools and gyms, avoiding contact with known infected people, and avoiding soaking and contaminated tool usage at nail salons. Weekly applications of a topical antifungal foot cream or sprinkling of antifungal foot powder into shoes may also be helpful.
It is imperative to take your own nail instruments, including nail files, to any public nail salon, unless you know the salon practices strict instrument sterilization and/or uses all disposable supplies.
Use cotton socks whenever possible. Make sure any affected family members also treat their athlete’s foot at the same time to avoid cross-infections.
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Toenail Fungus Treatment Complications
Here are some things to think about when deciding on a nail fungus treatment.
If you have a disease like diabetes, your doctor will make sure you treat nail fungus. This illness often makes you more likely to have other problems from minor foot issues.
You may not be able to take antifungal pills because of side effects or because they donât work well with other drugs you take. If that’s the case, try a product that goes onto your nail. Your doctor will call this a topical treatment.
Be patient. Your nails may not look “normal” after treatment. It can take as long as a year to 18 months for your nail to grow out a fungus.
What Are The Treatments For Athlete’s Foot
Treat athlete’s foot at the first sign of itchiness.
Most cases of athlete’s foot can be cured with over-the-counter antifungal products and basic good hygiene. Wash and dry your feet every morning and evening, change socks or stockings daily, and don’t wear the same shoes day after day to allow them time to dry completely before wearing them again. Sprinkle antifungal powder on feet and in your shoes daily. Antifungal creams and sprays are also effective at managing the infection. Continue treatment for one to two weeks after the infection has cleared to prevent it from recurring.
Make sure your feet get plenty of air. If you can’t go barefoot or wear sandals, wear synthetic socks which will wick away moisture. Cotton and wool tend to trap the moisture and promote fungal growth. Wear shoes made of a porous material.
If not treated properly and promptly, athlete’s foot can be very stubborn. Even when treated with antifungal drugs, the infection may take several weeks to disappear and may come back after treatment.
Most of the time it responds well to these over-the-counter interventions. However, more severe cases may need to be seen by a doctor.
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When To See A Doctor
In most cases, toenail fungus is considered a cosmetic problem. Still, it may cause serious complications for some people.
If you have diabetes, toenail fungus may lead to foot ulcers or other foot problems. According to a 2012 study, chronic toenail fungus is a significant risk factor for bacterial cellulitis of the leg.
If you have diabetes or a weakened immune system, you shouldnt use home remedies for toenail fungus. Contact your doctor for the appropriate course of action.
How Effective Are Tablets In Treating Nail Fungus
Tablets for the treatment of nail fungus have been tested in several studies. All participants had an infection on their toenails caused by a skin fungus. Overall, the study results showed that tablets are considerably more effective than nail polishes or creams.
One year after a three-month treatment with terbinafine:
- About 17 out of 100 people who didnt have this treatment no longer had a detectable fungal nail infection.
- About 76 out of 100 people who had this treatment no longer had a detectable fungal nail infection.
In other words, the treatment with terbinafine got rid of the fungal infection in about 59 out of 100 people.
Itraconazole also proved to be effective. After one year,
- 7 out of 100 people who didnt have this treatment no longer had a detectable fungal nail infection.
- About 43 out of 100 people who had this treatment no longer had a detectable fungal nail infection.
In other words, the treatment with itraconazole got rid of the fungal infection in about 36 out of 100 people.
Some studies directly compared itraconazole and terbinafine with each other. They confirm that terbinafine is somewhat more effective than itraconazole.
Treatment with breaks is thought to be about as effective as continuous treatment. But that has only been looked into in a few studies.
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How Do You Treat Toenail Fungus
Depending on the nature and severity of your infection, treatments may vary. Most over-the-counter treatments are minimally effective at best, but almost none of them have produced a permanent treatment. The main reason for these poor results is that the fungal infection resides deep within the nail or nail bed and the topical medications have great difficulty in penetrating to this depth. A fungus may work its way through the entire nail, penetrating both the nail plate and the nail bed. Podiatrist Dr. Burns at Arizona Foot Doctors offers penetrative nail fungus treatments to completely remove the fungal infection. Each patient case is unique, so consult with Dr. Burns to find the best treatment option for you. Treatment may include:
- Topical or oral medication and debridement . The newer oral antifungal medications are the most effective . Common oral medications are Lamisil and Sporanox. A common topical medication is Penlac nail lacquer.
- Temporary removal of the infected nail
- Permanent removal
Ways To Treat Your Foot Fungus Today
If you have fungus, then one question youre probably asking is what can I do today?. Here are some things you can do today to help kill fungi on your feet for good.
Change your shoes Shoes and other footwear are typically not ventilated well and thus creates a dark, humid environment, perfect for fungus growth.
Most shoes are hot and humid inside and do not allow air to flow through the footwear. The sweating of feet also contributes to the damp environment.
So, alternating between different shoes and also investing in some foot powder would be advised.
Wear Socks Wearing shoes without socks allows for your feet to remain moist for longer periods of time. Socks absorb some of the sweat produced by your feet, allowing a dryer environment to exist and also reducing chances of fungus forming.
Become more active As we get older, our circulation becomes poorer. Being more active allows for the blood to circulate better and reach your toes. This increases the chances you will conquer toenail fungus and expedite the process.
Clean possible infected areas There is a high chance that if you have a fungal nail infection that your shower and bathroom is infected with the fungus. Cleaning it with bleach weekly will decrease the chances for the fungus to spread anymore that it has.
Limit chances of exposure If you frequent public areas such as showers or pools, protecting yourself from further exposure will be a key to your success.
Get an OTC Cream
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Antifungal Soap With Tea Tree Oil
Look for an antifungal soap that has tea tree oil, therapeutic grade essential oils, and skin healing botanicals.
A good soap with tea tree oil and other essential oils will help wash away harmful fungi, bacteria, and microbes from the skins surface.It will also protect against athletes foot, jock itch, nail fungus, tinea versicolor, ringworm, body odor, and other skin irritations.