Fungal Infections of the Foot

Treatment options for uncomfortable and unsightly fungal foot infections.

Fungal foot infections are just like they sound -- uncomfortable and unattractive, and caused by fungi. But don’t be embarrassed. Fungal conditions such as athlete’s foot or toenail infections are common, especially in communities like ours with lots of leisure and competitive athletes.

Our team of podiatrists (foot specialists) regularly treat fungal infections of the foot. These conditions often are easy to treat and rarely require surgery.

Athlete's foot

Athlete's foot is a skin disease caused by a fungus that usually develops between the toes. Symptoms of athlete's foot include:

  • Blisters
  • Dry, scaly skin
  • Inflammation
  • Itching

Athlete's foot can spread to the soles of the feet and the toenails. It also can spread to other parts of the body if you scratch the infection and then touch another part of your body, such as the armpits, groin area, or face.

Preventing and treating athlete’s foot

Athlete’s foot can be contracted anywhere the feet come in contact with fungus, such as dressing rooms, showers, and locker rooms. It also can develop in areas that are continually damp, such as persistent sweating of the feet or underarms.

We recommend these tips to prevent athlete’s foot:

  • Avoid walking barefoot
  • Use shower shoes in public showers
  • Use talcum powder to soak up excess sweat
  • Wear light, airy shoes
  • Wear socks that keep your feet dry, and change them frequently if you sweat a lot

If what you suspect is a fungal infection does not clear up after two weeks of hygiene changes and self-care, visit a podiatrist. The foot specialist will determine if a fungus is truly to blame and will recommend a treatment plan. We often prescribe oral or topical anti-fungal medication to help clear up persistent athlete’s foot.

Toenail infections

Fungal infection of toenails -- known as onychomycosis -- is a common foot health problem. It is an infection underneath the surface of the nail, which also can penetrate the nail.

If an infection is ignored, it could spread and impair your ability to walk, run, or even stand comfortably. The first symptom most people notice is a change in the toenail's color. See a podiatrist right away if this happens to you. The foot specialist can examine and test the nail, determine the cause of the discoloration, and develop a treatment plan.

Treatment will vary depending on how severe the infection is. Often, we prescribe topical or oral medication. In severe cases, we may recommend permanent or temporary surgical removal of the toenail.

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