Foot fungus is, unfortunately, quite a common condition. It is important to know about it since anyone can get it easily.
Causes Of Foot Fungus
Several organisms can cause fungal infections. The most common one is the dermatophyte. When the skin and toenails are intact on the feet, it is adequately protected from infections. In case the skin is damaged or toenails are broken, creating an opening, the chances of fungus entering into its increase. Since our body is moist and warm, it provides an ideal space for fungus to grow, resulting in fungal infections.
Injuries are the most obvious reasons to get a break in the skin, and it can work as a catalyst to an infection. However, surprisingly most of the entry points for fungus are undetectable and far less obvious. Moist and wet skin softens and breaks down easily, making it vulnerable to the fungus already present on our bodies. This is why feet and toenails and more prone to infections than fingernails. Our feet are enclosed in shoes, which exposes them to long hours of moisture. To add to the surprise, moisture doesn’t need to cause fungal infections. Sometimes, extremely dry skin develops micro-tears, and fungus can inhibit these tears.
What Does It Look Like?
White or a yellow spot under the free edge of a toenail may be a symptom of fungal growth. As the fungus grows deeper, the toenail becomes darker. The yellow spot may become ragged, thick, and crumbly.
If the area between the toes is infected, it may appear flaky, red, and scaly. The skin may also peel, burn, crack, and itch. The classic ‘rough skin’ that we see as a Velcro-like heel can also be a fungal infection sign.
There is a bad dour in some fungal infections, while in severe infections, feet can also develop sores and blisters. It is vital to get the fungal infections treated as soon as you have gotten a hint of them. These infections get worse over time, so ignoring them is not going to help.
Treating Foot Fungus
The absolute worst that you can do to your feet is ignoring the fungal infections. If left untreated, infections can lead to permanent damage, and it can be really dangerous. Hiding the toenail infections with nail polish is not a solution.
Sometimes right home care through over-the-counter products solves the problems, but if it is not working and your pain worsens, it is best to see a doctor at the earliest. However, you need to be fully aware of what home remedies you are relying on, and they are not worsening the issue. If the remedies are ineffective, they will help the fungus to progress over time.
Even when you are prescribed treatment products, you should know the proper way to apply them. For instance, the products must be applied to clean and dry feet or toenails. If there is a spray, it should be applied across the nail’s free edge to penetrate in. topical mousses must reach the areas between the toes as it is these are the favorite spots for fungus to hide and grow.
Is It Contagious?
A big fat YES! Foot fungus is contagious. It can even spread to the other parts of the body. Commonly the infected toe spread the fungus to adjacent toes, but it can reach other body parts as well. For example, toenail fungus can spread to the genitals if the underwear comes in contact with the infected feet as it is pulled down or up. Luckily, this happens rarely.
Walking barefoot in an area where someone with a foot infection has been can also cause you to develop a fungus. This is why public swimming pools, showers, and dressing rooms are considered contaminated, and you should always cover your feet when visiting these places.
Suppose the pedicure tools are not disinfected properly. In that case, they can become the carriers; if you share shoes or socks with an infected person, the chances of you getting an infection increases.
Is It Possible To Prevent Foot Fungus?
It is possible to prevent fungal infection if you are careful. Intact and healthy skin is the best prevention. Keep your feet clean, dry, and moisturized adequately, and there will be no problems.
Neatly trimmed nails, wearing footwear at public places, checking for any changes in toenails also help keep the infections at bay. Keep your socks and shoes clean and dry at all times.