Trick or Treat, Smell My Feet

Halloween is coming up and the kids will be out in full force to get their sweet treats, so make sure your ready, so you don’t have to smell any feet. Two common foot conditions can be “scary” to some patients are:
1. Toenail fungus
2. Athlete’s foot/stinky feet

These two conditions are both caused by fungus. Usually patient’s present with both, but you can have one or the other. To begin, the most common cause of toenail fungus is trauma to the toenail. Trauma can consist of wearing shoes that are too tight, stubbing your toe, or dropping something heavy on your toes. The next most common cause is aging. As we age, the blood flow and your body’s ability to fight off infection may decrease allowing the fungus to successfully settle into your nail. So how can we get rid of fungus? Well, it is a slow process since it was a slow process for the fungus to begin growing there. There are topical medications that are harmless; however, the medication does not easily travel down to where the fungus is living. There are also oral medications with relatively low risks, such as Lamisil; however, the medication needs to be taken for at least 3 months. There is also laser therapy, which is a newer method to get rid of fungus, which has shown variable results. It takes 9-12 months for the big toenail to grow out and 6-8 months for the small nails, so it will take awhile to see results. Lastly, fungus does not usually pose any significant harm besides an unsightly nail, so there is antifungal nail polish that you can use to just cover it up in the event that all treatments fail.

Athlete’s foot is the number one cause for stinky feet. As the name suggests, athletes are more prone to getting this type of fungal infection due to showering in public showers where the fungus can be spread. In addition, athlete’s shoes are the perfect environment for fungus to grow. Fungus needs a warm, moist, and dark environment, such as an athlete’s shoe/sock. Athlete’s foot will present with symptoms such as burning, smelly, wetness in between the toes, scaling on the bottom of the feet, and itchiness. The same fungus as toenail fungus also usually causes athlete’s foot, but it is much easier and faster to treat than fungal nails. As with toenail fungus, there are also topical and oral medications that can be prescribed to help kill the fungus. In addition, to using the medications, it is very important to change your socks at least once or twice a day, especially if you have sweaty feet since fungus thrives in a dark moist environment. Also, if you are experiencing symptoms of athlete’s foot it is a good idea to wear shower shoes until the fungus has cleared to prevent spreading the fungus to your family members or teammates. There are several other skin conditions that can appear like athlete’s foot, so don’t be afraid to come to Peak to Peak Podiatry in Brighton, (720) 600-3380 or Boulder County Foot and Ankle (303) 442-2910 for further evaluation. Happy Halloween!

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