Fungal Problems of the Feet: Signs and Treatments

Not only are your feet incredibly hard-working, they’re also prone to fungal infections that range from a mild nuisance to a downright pain in the foot. The two most common fungal infections that can strike your feet are toenail fungus and athlete’s foot, which have very different symptoms.

At Family Foot and Ankle Center of South Jersey, our experienced team of podiatrists is at the ready to solve any fungal problem that develops in your feet. The first step, however, is yours, as you need to be able to identify these infections.

With that in mind, we explore the signs of toenail fungus and athlete’s foot and how we go about treating each of these issues.

Athlete’s foot

The medical term for athlete’s foot is tinea pedis, and it’s caused by fungi that get into your feet, usually between your toes. The reason why this condition is called athlete’s foot is that these fungi lurk in damp and warm environments, such as locker rooms and sweaty socks.

Despite its name, anyone can get athlete’s foot, especially if you’re in public places like swimming pools.

The most common sign of athlete’s foot is a scaly, red rash that typically develops between your toes. This rash can cause uncomfortable itchiness, and when you succumb to the urge to scratch, you run the risk of spreading the fungal infection to your hands.

In more advanced cases of athlete’s foot, the rash can lead to open wounds, which are especially dangerous for people who have pre-existing conditions like diabetes.

The good news is that we can easily treat your athlete’s foot by prescribing a topical or oral antifungal medication.

Toenail fungus

Another way that fungi can affect your feet is by getting into your toenails and creating an infection called onychomycosis. Like athlete's foot, toenail fungus isn’t necessarily a serious condition, but it can wreak havoc on your toenails. About 12% of people have toenail fungus, and it’s especially common in people over age 65.

Toenail fungus typically starts out as a white or yellowish spot on your toenail. All too soon, however, the infection spreads and leads to toenails that are:

With moderate-to-severe cases of toenail fungus, your nail can completely separate from the nail bed.

Toenail fungus can be incredibly stubborn, so we suggest that you come see us at the first signs of a problem. We can start out with antifungal medications, but should these prove ineffective, we can turn to laser therapy to kill the fungus, once and for all.

Preventing fungal infections

Of course, the best way to deal with fungal infections in your feet is not to get them in the first place.

There are several ways you can protect yourself from foot fungus, including:

By following these rules of thumb, you can keep fungal infections in your feet at bay.

To learn more about fungal infections in your feet or to get treatment for an existing infection, contact our office in Cherry HIll, New Jersey.

You Might Also Enjoy...

Do I Need Surgery to Correct My Hammertoe?

A toe that won’t lie flat anymore can keep you from wearing open-toed shoes, but if it also limits your mobility or causes extreme pain, you may need surgery to correct the hammertoe.

Why Diabetics Are More Susceptible to Foot Problems

If you have diabetes, you may not think of it as a problem that requires a podiatrist. You likely already have a primary care doctor, an endocrinologist, and an eye doctor. Why do you need a specialist for your feet? We explain in this post.

Can an Ingrown Toenail Heal on Its Own?

An ingrown toenail may seem like a minor issue, but without proper care and attention, it can develop into a painful problem that boosts your risk of infection. Learn when it can heal independently and when it requires professional treatment.

Sports That Can Lead to Stress Fractures

Knowing what risk factors come with your sport is an important first step in preventing injuries, big and small. Keep reading to find out if your sport makes our list of activities that cause stress fractures.

Is it Safe to Get a Pedicure?

As the weather heats up and you break out your summer sandals, here’s what you need to know about the possible risks and side effects of getting a pedicure and what you can do to protect your feet.