Athlete's Foot, Fungal Nail Infections, & Ingrown Nails: Skin & Nail Issues
Athlete’s Foot, Fungal Nail Infections, and Ingrown Nails are all surface issues that a podiatrist like Dr. Young can treat. Here are some brief descriptions of each below.
Athlete’s foot is a common foot fungus that causes irritation, itching, cracking, and flaking of the skin of the foot, and while common, can become a serious issue if left untreated. It is caused by a two-part process:
1. The fungus is contracted when one walks barefoot in a moist, public area (such as a locker room, pool) where the fungus is present on the ground from another carrier
2. The fungus incubates and turns into Athlete’s Foot from remaining in a warm, moist, uncirculated area, such as inside a shoe
Interestingly, Athlete’s Foot is almost non-existent in barefoot societies, leading to the understanding that in a dry, sunlit and cool environment, the fungus cannot grow. Therefore, if you suspect that you have walked through a contaminated area, usually walking around barefoot for several hours alone is enough to prevent infection.
Once infected, Athlete’s Foot resolves on its own in about 1/3 of cases. For all the others, a topical or oral medicine may be necessary. In the most severe cases, amputation has been used. If you live in Michigan, and have had a persistent case of Athlete’s Foot, please contact Dr. Young for tips on preventing spread to friends and family, and for treatment options.
Fungal Nail Infections
Fungal Nail Infections are an extremely common form of nail disorder, accounting for about 50% of all nail disorders. Signs that you may have a fungal nail infection includes thickening of the nail, and discoloration of the nail (green, white, black). As the infection progresses, nails can become brittle and begin breaking/chipping, revealing the tender underlying skin beneath the nail.
Treatment typically involves anti-fungal medications and topical treatments. If you are a Michigan resident suffering from a fungal nail infection, seek treatment with a podiatrist immediately because it is very difficult and slow to get to the underlying infection within the nail, and typically requires the infected area to completely grow out and be replaced with healthy nail growth.
Ingrown Nails are a common nail issue marked by a growing nail cutting into the surrounding skin or nail bed. It can often be very painful and prone to infection, and is caused by a shoe’s downward pressure on the nail. This disorder does not occur with habitually barefoot people.
Treatment usually starts with salt water soaks and topical treatments to prevent infection. Sometimes dental floss or a gutter splint can be used to redirect growth in the right direction. In worse cases, surgery is needed to remove the offending section or the extraneous skin surrounding it. Michigan residents can contact Dr. Young immediately for treatment options and ways to prevent infection.