Fungus is Among Us!

Fungus on our feet! This causes a lot of insecurity and alarm in the population. Fungus when present on our nails is called onychomycosis. When on our skin it is known as tinea pedis or more commonly known as athlete’s foot. Fungus is caused by dermatophytes which are a class of fungi known to cause fungal infections on our skin. Patients are usually concerned about appearance and possible infection to people who live with them.  In rare circumstances it can have a systemic effect on our bodies.

Fungal nails present as thick, discolored and can often cause the nail to separate from the nail bed. Patients usually portray  a history of one nail being infected and then spreading to the others. Although fungal nails are common, there are many other reasons nails can appear this way such as constant trauma to the area or psoriatic arthritis. 

An athlete’s foot infection classically presents with moisture between the toes, itchy and scaly skin on the bottom of the feet.  It is most commonly caused by Trichophyton rubrum which is a dermatophyte. Sometimes the excessive moisture can cause fissuring and ulceration of the skin. 

Treatment options for fungal infections of the skin and nails include oral medication (which requires blood testing), topical solutions, nail debridement or removal, and lasers. The most appropriate treatment for each patient is best determined by a fungal culture and a discussion with your podiatrist. A commonly overlooked component of treatment is in addressing the environment; sprays are available for shoes, disinfectants can be applied to shower floors and flip flops can be used on pool decks. Changing your socks  throughout the day and use socks that are absorbent. There are also different types of agents that can be used to help keep your feet dry which should be discussed with your doctor. 

These infections occur in many different types of people from young athletes to older retired people. Fungus is in our environment, It is very persistent and can spread from person to person. Fungus thrives on moisture and warmth. This environment is created when we wear shoes for long periods of time. this is why it is important to keep your feet clean and dry.  If you feel that you have or are at risk of a fungal infection, please get evaluated by a medical professional to see which treatments are best. Treatments are available. Prevention is best!






Podiatrists in Urbana, MD | The Foot & Ankle SpecialistsDr. Sana Shamim works in our Frederick, MD and Urbana, MD offices for your convenience.

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