The scenarios are all too common. The kids are playing outside in bathing suits and a kiddie pool; your little one stubs a toe. You’re gardening in the backyard, enjoying the feel of the cool grass on your bare feet, and then you drop a trowel on the top of your toenail. There are limitless ways to injure a foot outdoors in the summer, but the real danger comes weeks later — when bacteria and fungi creep into the open wound and cause summer-spoiling infection.
What Does Foot Fungus Look Like? What Does It Feel Like?
“It was kind of a white streak going down, with some black stuff in it,” Bonnots Mill, Missouri podiatry patient Betty Wilson recalls of the summer she had toenail fungus. On her other foot, she says, the right side of her big toenail had turned “thick and looked yellow.”
Most often, these infections don’t feel like anything, but they sure look ugly! They can start as a small brown, white, or yellow spot on the nail. The overall nail may simply look “dull,” or turn a shade lighter or darker than usual. One toenail may be affected, or it could affect them all.
Of course, toenail fungus is just one type of foot fungus. There is also the ever-so-popular athlete’s foot, which often begins as a dry, red rash in between the toes and can spread along the bottom or sides of the feet. Sometimes it looks like “weepy blisters,” and affects both feet. People say their feet feel “on fire,” and itch intensely. This infection can also get into the body and appear elsewhere — like in the groin (“jock itch”) or the upper torso (“ringworm.”)
Treatment Options for Foot Fungus
Athlete’s foot is usually not difficult to treat. An over-the-counter cream, like Lamisil or Lotrimin, is usually all it takes, although one particular type (the “moccasin” type) can be chronic. Sprays like Tinactin can also be used to defeat foot fungus within a week or two.
Toenail fungus, on the other hand, is often a chronic infection can persist for months, even years! There is no consensus on the best course of treatment. Most people see a podiatrist after being unable to treat the fungus using home remedies like tea tree oil or Vick’s VapoRub. Some people try topical treatments that fail to penetrate the nail plate down to the nail bed, where the fungal colony lies.
Oral medication is the most commonly prescribed treatment, but it’s hard on the liver and only works in a third of all patients. Laser toenail fungus treatment is a newer option, but it’s not yet covered by insurance. Betty Wilson chose this option and paid $600 to have her toenails remedied.
See how one woman reclaimed her summer with laser toenail fungus removal:
Why Treat Foot Fungus? Won’t It Go Away on Its Own?
Foot fungus rarely, if ever, goes away on its own. If left untreated, it can spread from person to person. People with diabetes run the risk of developing a foot ulcer and gangrene, which leads to amputation in 1 of 5 diabetic foot infection cases. Eventually, most people suffer some kind of pain or get so grossed out by their foot problem that they seek the help of a podiatrist.
“Men are kind of the worst,” said Jefferson City Medical Group Podiatrist Dr. William Duke, “because they wait until it gets really really bad and then they’ll come in and say what do you have for me? I need to get this fixed really quickly. I’m working 10 to 12 hours a day and I’m doing construction, especially this time of year, and I can’t afford to be off work at all.”
Don’t let foot fungus ruin your summer. Get it treated — and take steps to prevent re-infection!
How to Prevent Foot Fungus from Coming Back
Why pay for treatment only to re-infect yourself again? Most people get foot fungus again by slipping their feet into contaminated shoes. In addition to whichever treatment you choose, be sure to buy a SteriShoe UV shoe sanitizer that will kill the fungal spores inside your shoes in just 45 minutes. You’ll also need to take special care to sanitize your bed sheets, towels, and socks in the laundry. You can put your toenail clippers into the toe of your shoes to sanitize those, as well. Order a SteriShoe UV shoe sanitizer risk-free today.