Fungus/Athletes Feet

5 Most Common Causes of Toenail Fungus

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The 5 Most Common Causes of Toenail Fungus

Toenail fungus is very contagious and incredibly easy to get. It’s a common problem in the nail that affects millions of Americans.

But how do you get it? Well, there are a lot of answers to that question. Almost all fungal nail infections come from dermatophytes and the ones that aren’t, are caused by yeast and mold.

Many times, our lifestyle choices lead to fungal infections, but it really can be as simple as catching it from someone else. Read on to learn more about the causes of toenail fungus so you can prevent it from happening to you.

1. Barefoot in Public

When moisture gets trapped under the nail, toenail fungus begins. If you spend a lot of time in public barefoot, you’re opening yourself up to this.

Also, toenail fungus spreads from person to person, so if you’re walking barefoot in the same place that someone else with the fungus did, you’re asking for trouble.

People commonly walk barefoot in public showers and swimming pools. It’s easy for moisture to become trapped under our nails in these places, and when you add the fact that other people are walking barefoot there too it’s just a breeding ground for toenail fungus.

You should wear sandals and shoes in public places at all times, save the barefoot business for home.

2. Injury to the Toenail

There are two kinds of trauma that your toenail can experience, acute and blunt.

With acute trauma, you are injuring your nail over and over again. Think about athletes and runners with shoes that don’t fit. With every step they take, they drive their toe into the inside of the shoe.

When something heavy falls on your toes, or you bang them very hard, you’re experiencing blunt trauma. Even if it just happens once, it’s a lot easier to get toenail fungus. Make sure that your nail doesn’t turn black after an injury like this.

Both of these injuries are painful and they leave you susceptible to yellow toenail fungus. Your nail becomes weak and prone to infection.

3. Circulatory Issues

If you have poor circulation in your feet, you must be very careful to steer clear from toenail fungus. People with this condition are more prone to issues with their feet.

People with poor circulation often cant tell they are having problems with their feet because of nerve damage. But that same poor circulation also makes it harder to treat and messes up our ability to heal.

If you have circulatory issues, check your feet for fungus every day.

4. Pedicures

As much as pedicures make us feel pampered and look great, they put us at risk for toenail fungus. If the salon doesn’t properly sterilize their tools, nail salons are just as bad as public showers and pools.

If the tools the manicurist uses on your feet are the same tools that they used on someone with a toenail fungus, this spreads it around easily.

Try a home pedicure instead or bring your own tools for them to use.

5. Athlete’s Foot

People often think athlete’s foot and toenail fungus are the same things, but they’re not. However, one can often lead to the other. Athlete’s foot is a fungal infection of the skin that often happens in the toes and causes itching and burning.

If you don’t treat your athlete’s foot, it can spread to your toenails as well.

Causes of Toenail Fungus

These are just some of the causes of toenail fungus. You also leave yourself more susceptible to them if you get fake nails or if your body has a naturally weakened immune system. They are spreadable and they can affect anyone, and if left untreated they can become severe.

For information on how to treat this fungus and take better care of your feet, visit us today.

The Ultimate Guide to Dealing with an Infected Toenail

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The Ultimate Guide to Dealing with an Infected Toenail

Even well-maintained feet can be subject to infection. As we age, infected toenails are often a reality. Nails become dry and brittle and can crack. These cracks in the nails allow fungi to enter and wreak havoc.

A fungus infection can also be caused by a weakened immune system or poor blood circulation to the feet, which is often a symptom of diabetes. Also, athlete’s foot can sometimes spread into the toenail. However, these kinds of fungal infections are rarely contagious to others.

Mild symptoms can often be treated at home with over-the-counter medications. For persistent or severe symptoms, it’s best to consult a physician.

Symptoms of an Infected Toenail

Some of the symptoms of nail fungus include:

  • Thickened nails
  • Discolored nails, white, yellow or brown
  • Brittle or crumbly nails
  • Nails that are distorted in shape
  • Slightly foul smelling nails

Obviously, none of these are ideal conditions for your feet.

Causes of Toenail Fungus

Infected toenails are usually caused by a fungus, called dermatophyte. Although nail infections can happen to anyone at any age, it’s most common in older people with brittle and cracked nails.

Risk Factors include:

  • Being older
  • Reduced blood flow
  • Sweating heavily
  • Athlete’s foot
  • Walking barefoot in damp areas (swimming pools, gyms, and shower rooms)
  • Nail injury
  • Psoriasis
  • Diabetes
  • Weakened immune system

Some of these factors are easy to avoid. Others not so much. So what can you do if an infection occurs?

Home Treatment

1. Vicks VapoRub

A study at Harvard Medical School asserts that Vicks VapoRub, applied daily on the infected toenail, “might be at least as effective as most of the topical treatments for toenail fungus that are available by prescription or over the counter.”

2. Ozonized Sunflower Oil

One study found that Oleozon, or ozonized sunflower oil, when applied topically twice a day, cured 90% of fungal nail infections within three months of use.

3. Snakeroot Extract

Snakeroot plant extract, applied once or twice a week has also been shown to have great success. Traditionally used in Mexico, this plant extract contains encecalin, which has antifungal qualities.

4. Pau d’Arco Tea

Pau d’Arco contains naphthoquinones, which is an antifungal compound. The tea is made from the inner bark of a tree, native to South America. It’s important to note that soaking your feet in the tea, rather than drinking it, is how to apply treatment.

5. Oregano Oil

Mix 2 drops of oregano oil with 1 teaspoon of olive oil and apply to the infected toenail daily for no longer than 3 weeks. Thymol and carvacrol are both found in oregano oil, and both have antifungal qualities.

6. Apple Cider Vinegar

Soak toenails in a 1:2 ratio of vinegar to warm water for 20 minutes a day. The acetic acid in vinegar is antifungal.

7. Tea Tree Oil

Apply tea tree oil with a cotton swab twice daily to the mildly infected toenail. One study found tea tree oil to be just as effective as the antifungal medicine clotrimazole for mild cases.

Prevention

There are many precautions you can take to prevent fungal infections:

  • Wash your hands and feet regularly
  • Moisturize
  • Trim nails straight across to prevent ingrown nails
  • Disinfect your nail clippers
  • Wear absorbent socks
  • Wear shoes made of breathable materials
  • Disinfect shoes regularly
  • Wear flip-flops or water shoes in pool areas and locker rooms
  • Only go to nail salons that sterilize manicure tools after each customer

These are easy tips to follow and are very effective at preventing a nasty infection.

When to See a Physician

See a physician if self-care isn’t working, especially in severe cases and when symptoms are persisting.

Also, if you have diabetes or a weakened immune system, fungal infections can lead to more serious complications, so it’s important to see a doctor right away.

If you have complications from a toenail infection, it might be time to talk to a podiatrist.

Contact us to schedule an appointment today!

How to Find the Best Podiatrist in Your Area


How to Find the Best Podiatrist in Your Area

When you think about all the time we spend on our feet, it’s no wonder that so many people experience foot pain. Daily activity can put stress on this part of the body, and certain health issues like diabetes can also cause foot problems.

Taking care of your feet should be a health priority, and there are lots of things you can do to ensure foot health. Most importantly, if you do experience issues with your feet, you need to book an appointment with a podiatrist.

Finding the best podiatrist in your area doesn’t have to be a daunting task, and the sooner you book an appointment, the sooner you’ll be on the road to recovery.

Below, we’re sharing a few tips on how you can find the podiatrist that will work best for you so you can get back on your feet–literally.

Read on to learn more.

1. Online Resources

Finding the best podiatrist for you could be as simple as spending some time on the Internet. There are a lot of online resources that will help you locate what podiatrists are in your area.

Podiatric associations can be a good place to start. They typically keep a database of podiatrists who are members of their organization, and make it easy for patients to search podiatrists in their area.

Most pediatric associations will require podiatrists to adhere to a code of ethics as well, so any doctor you find through that resource should deliver the highest quality patient care.

2. Former Patients

Because foot problems are so common–especially among athletes or those with similar medical conditions–you probably know someone who has been to a podiatrist in your area.

Don’t be afraid to reach out to former patients to ask them about their experience with a particular podiatrist. Many will be happy to share. Whether they had a good experience or a bad one, they can help you make an informed decision.

3. Ask Questions

In order to determine if a particular podiatrist will be right for you, you need to have as much information about them and their practice as possible.

Create a list of questions that you want answered, so you can compare all of your options. For example, do they accept your insurance? Do they provide the specific services you need? What is their expertise or training in a particular area?

You should also pay attention to their attitude in answering your questions. Friendly staff who are happy to provide you with the information you request will likely make for a better medical team.

Ready to Book an Appointment with the Best Podiatrist in Your Area?

No one ever wants to have to visit the doctor. But if you do have a foot problem that requires a podiatrist’s attention, you want to do everything you can to ensure you’re getting the best care possible.

Do your research and ask questions so that you can find the podiatrist who will get you on your way to a fast recovery. For more information or to book an appointment, please contact us at any time.

Best Athlete’s Foot Medicine and If You Need It


The Best Athlete’s Food Medicine and If You Need It

If you’ve ever experienced athlete’s foot, you know that the affliction can be painful and uncomfortable. For some, including those with diabetes or a compromised immune system, it can even be downright dangerous.

If you suspect you may have athlete’s foot, you may not know what steps to take next. The good news is that there are treatments available to help curb your symptoms and make the recovery process much easier.

Today, we’re taking a look at the best athlete’s foot medicine, and how to discern if it’s required for your case.

Ready to learn more? Let’s get started!

Learn the Symptoms of Athlete’s Foot

Before you begin researching the best athlete’s foot medicine, you’ll need to figure out whether or not you need it in the first place.

Some of the infection’s telltale symptoms, such as a rash and blisters, may actually signal another skin affliction.

If you experience one or more of these symptoms, check with a foot care professional to get a true diagnosis:

  • Burning, inflammation, and itching between your toes or on the soles of your feet
  • An itchy, blistering rash anywhere on your feet
  • Dry, cracked, exposed or peeling skin on your feet (mainly sides and soles)
  • Discolored, peeling, or dislodged toenails

Understand How It’s Contracted

Consider if you’ve entered into an environment recently where a fungal infection like athlete’s foot might be present. Some of the most common ways to contract the affliction include:

  • Sharing your shoes or socks with someone else
  • Going barefoot in a public place, such as a gym shower
  • Not allowing wet or sweaty feet to dry properly
  • Wearing too-tight shoes for too long

An expert analysis can determine if your symptoms are infection-related, or if another foot problem may be the root cause.

Research the Best Athlete’s Foot Medicine

If you’re diagnosed with athlete’s foot, you’ll want to get started on a treatment plan immediately. Taking quick action can help stop any fungal growth in its tracks and help you heal faster.

While it can be tempting to grab an over-the-counter antifungal cream, keep in mind that this well-meaning approach may be less effective than you hope.

Most of these store-bought creams will provide temporary relief but will not address the core of the issue.

The best athlete’s foot medicine for you will depend on the severity of your case.

Mild Cases of Athlete’s Foot

If your infection is mild, you may be able to solve the problem by improving your foot hygiene.

Wash your feet with soap and water regularly and apply powder to keep your feet dry. Be sure to take notice of the area between your toes!

More Serious Cases

If your case is more severe, or if your mild athlete’s foot doesn’t respond to better hygiene, it’s time to go in for a foot care consultation.

If a fungus caused your infection, a professional can prescribe you a more powerful antifungal medication to address it.

The medication may be a topical one, or you may take it orally, depending on your case.

On the other hand, bacteria might cause your infection, rather than a fungus. While they often cause many of the same symptoms, these are two distinct substances that require different treatments.

If bacteria are the culprits, you’ll take an antibiotic medication to address it.

Professional Foot Care You Can Trust

Healthy feet are critical to your well-being. In fact, your big toe alone helps control your gait, balance, and mobility!

Whether you’re dealing with athlete’s foot or a host of other foot-related injuries and afflictions, you want to work with a professional healthcare expert.

That’s where we come in.

We’re a team of foot and ankle associates dedicated to helping our clients address and overcome myriad needs. From common foot problems to more advanced issues such as those associated with diabetes, we’ve got you covered.

Request an appointment today to get started. We’ll get you back on your feet in no time.

How to Get Rid of Toenail Fungus Naturally

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How to Get Rid of Toenail Fungus Naturally

Every athlete knows how gross foot fungus can be. It’s just part of the game if you participate in an active lifestyle.

But aside from its unsightly appearance, it can result in an infection, keeping you sidelined for way too long. Whether from sweat or swimming, toenail fungus can be painful and embarrassing.

That’s why you’ll want to take care of any fungal growth as quickly as possible. But it doesn’t always take a trip to the dermatologist or podiatrist to get rid of pesky fungus!

If you’re wondering how to get rid of mild toenail fungus at home, look no further! Here are some simple home remedies that you likely already have.

How to Get Rid of Toenail Fungus

What to Look For

The first step in figuring out how to get rid of toenail fungus is knowing what to look for.

If you’ve noticed your toenails looking yellow, you may have a fungal presence. 

Other symptoms include:

  • Peeling or cracked feet
  • Itching and burning
  • Painful blisters

If any of these symptoms sound familiar, you may Athlete’s Foot or a similar fungal strain.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar seems to be a key ingredient in nearly every home remedy out there.

It’s a great choice for fungal infections because of its acidic properties. The acidic nature prevents any spreading throughout the rest of the foot.

Take about a half-cup of water and mix it in with your apple cider vinegar. Then, soak your affected toe/foot for around a half hour.

Repeat this process once per day for as long as the fungus persists.

Tea Tree and Olive Oils

Tea tree oil is fantastic because it’s an antiseptic. While it won’t necessarily prevent any spread, it will keep the area clean and begin to weaken the fungus.

Mixing in a little bit of olive oil can increase its antiseptic properties drastically.

Take 1 teaspoon of olive oil, then mix it with a few drops of tea tree oil. You’ll likely notice the fantastic smell right away.

Take a Q-tip, toothbrush, or similar device and dab the liquid solution on your toe. Leave it to soak for around 10-15 minutes. Repeat a few times each day for several weeks.

White Vinegar

Like apple cider vinegar, the acidic properties of white vinegar are fantastic for home remedies. Not only will it fight infection, but it restores your skin’s natural pH balance!

Mix a few tablespoons of white vinegar with a half cup of warm water, then soak your toe for 15 minutes. Repeat this process 2-3 times a day for several weeks.

Baking Soda and Epsom Salt

One of the first remedies a podiatrist will likely give you for any type of foot infection is Epsom salt. It’s a wonderful, soothing solution that eases any pain you may experience after an injury.

When mixed with water, it changes into magnesium and sulfate, which your skin absorbs.

Take half a cup of Epsom salt, mix it with 4 or 5 tablespoons of baking soda, and add a cup of warm water. Soak your foot for roughly 20 minutes.

Tips to Prevent Foot Fungus

  • Wear close-toed shoes around moist areas.
  • Keep feet dry.
  • Change socks frequently.
  • Wash and dry your feet after exercise.

We understand that Athlete’s Feet and toenail fungus can be pesky, to say the least. If these tips don’t work for mild symptoms, your symptoms appear to get worse, or you’re still not sure how to get rid of fungus, contact us today

From diabetic foot care to ulcers, we can treat it all. Schedule an appointment and let us get you back in the game.