Fungal Infections of the Feet,
Whether Skin or Toenails,
Requires Proper Treatment of Your Shoes.
I thought - as long as I am encouraging you to invest in proper shoes - it would be appropriate to spend some time on discussing the proper care and treatment for your shoes if you are trying to rid yourself of a fungal toenail or skin infection.
(also fungal) - it is impossible to clear up the toenails if you do not clear up the skin infection and vice versa.
even if you do clear up those infections, if the shoes are not properly treated also,
there are fungal spores that have been shed in your shoes and threaten to "break open" and re-infect your skin and toenails months after the infection has cleared.
four rules of proper shoegear:
wide, soft square toebox
and firm rearfoot control.
A wide toebox is important because a tight toebox applies pressure to the toenails, which causes injury to the toenail (onychauxis) which is what sets out the "welcome mat" for setting up fungal infections of the toenails.
even if it is constant repetitive micro-trauma to the toenails from a tight toebox or a flimsy sole on the shoe that allows too much motion through the forefoot area - will cause the onychauxis that sets up a perfect environment for a fungal infection to start.
"I dropped something on my toe and now it's thick and discolored."
over-the-counter topical anti-fungal spray
such as Lamisil or Tinactin.
You don't have to break the bank -
a good spray may cost anywhere from
four to ten dollars.
If you have a chronic infection of your feet and/or toenails and nothing clears it up -
if you've tried everything and nothing works -
it's probably not a fungal infection!
Follow up with your Podiatrist.
In the worst case scenario, we can take a biopsy and send it out to a Pathologist to look at under a microscope and tell us what it is so that it can be properly treated. I rarely have to do this but it is always an option.
It could be Psoriasis, Eczema, Dermatitis and any number of other skin conditions that are commonly mistaken for
an athelete's foot infection.
The same thing goes for the toenails - it is very easy to trim off a piece of the toenail and send it to a pathologist for what is called a KOH and PAS test to confirm the diagnosis of a fungal infection. There are many conditions that mimic a toenail fungal infection and, unless it is properly identified, it is hard to properly treat it.
Talk to your Podiatrist about treating your toenail and skin fungal infections.
Whether you choose to use oral antifungal prescription medication (i.e. Lamisil), topical antifungal prescription medications (i.e. Penlac), over-the-counter antifungal medications (Formula-Three) or homeopathic remedies such as white vinnegar, tea tree oil or Vick's Vapor rub -
Your Podiatrist will be able to discuss the pros and cons of each type of treatment and together you can decide what is best for you.
The "Golden Rule" with fungal foot infections:
If you don't treat it, it won't get better.
If you do treat it, it probably will get better."
Go to your Podiatrist or Dermatologist and get an accurate diagnosis of your foot infection -
this will greatly skyrocket your chances of successful treatment!
Once you do start treatment, you must be "consistent and persistent" with any treatment plan and it should resolve.
Hope this has been helpful!
Dr. Cathleen A. McCarthy