April Showers bring May Flowers and a Few Extra Steps to keep your Feet Fungus Free!

After a long winter here in Columbus, all of us are ready to pack away our snow boots and bust out our sandals for spring!  This may also be the time of year you notice that your feet aren’t looking quite as healthy as you thought they were.  In winter many people pay less attention to the health and care of their feet simply because with heavy boots and socks on, they spend less time looking at them every day!  With the end of the winter season, and the start of a very rainy spring, foot fungus may be an unpleasant surprise popping up.

Athlete’s foot, or tinea pedis and fungal nails, or tinea unguium are the two fungal infections most commonly seen in the foot.  The reason that wet spring and a winter filled with boots bring on these organisms is that a fungus thrives growing in a warm, damp, dark, dirty place.  These growing conditions make the inside of a sweaty boot or a damp sock from stepping in a puddle ideal for a fungus to grow.  Once someone has a foot fungus, it can be transmitted to others by contact with the infected skin cells.  This is why it is recommended to wear sandals in a public shower or swimming area, as everyone naturally sheds skin cells.  The most important way to prevent a fungal infection is to keep your feet dry and clean, the opposite of the fungus’ growing conditions. Good ways to do this are by thoroughly drying in between the toes after bathing and changing out of dirty wet socks as soon as possible.

An infection of dermatophytes, the fungi that cause both Athlete’s foot and fungal nails, is characterized by itchy, scaly skin patches.  Athlete’s foot typically is first seen in the spaces between the toes, and if not treated can spread over the entire bottom surface of the foot or also infect the nails.  Fungal nails will typically appear thickened, brittle and discolored or with white spots that may spread to the entire nail being white.  In some cases, a black, bruised nail can also lead to nail fungus.

Fungal treatment varies depending on the severity of the fungus, with nail fungus traditionally being more difficult to treat than Athlete’s foot.  A variety of different topical creams including Tinactin, and Lamisil can be used that cause damage to the cell membrane and thus kill the fungus.  Systemic drugs that you take orally are often needed in nail infections and can have a variety of adverse side effects throughout the body.  Treatment of fungus can last for an extensive period of time.   At Columbus Podiatry & Surgery, we offer thePinPointe Foot Laser as a preferred treatment method for toenail fungus, with no systemic effects and only about 30 minutes for a treatment.

Remember to check your feet this spring and that the best plan for a foot or toenail fungus is to avoid one in the first place by keeping your feet dry and clean

Please visit www.ColumbusFoot.com for more information or call 614-885 FEET (3338) to schedule an appointment with a podiatrist in Columbus, Ohio. Columbus Podiatry & Surgery is located on the North side of Columbus, Ohio near Worthington.

By Dr. Animesh (Andy) Bhatia