As the weather gets warmer, many people prefer to wear sandals in the sun rather than socks and sneakers. However, with your feet more exposed, you may notice a toenail that looks looks ugly, discolored or is thicker than the rest. Toenail fungus is a common and treatable condition. Find out more about protecting your feet from infection this summer with help from your Chicago, IL podiatrist.
How does toenail fungus form in the first place?
Fungus thrives in dark, moist and warm areas. Your feet, when inside of shoes all day, are the perfect environment for fungi. The fungus usually enters the toe through tiny cuts or scrapes which may be invisible to the naked eye. Feet commonly have reduced circulation, making it more difficult for to fight an infection in the toes. Additionally, people who are often in damp public areas, like locker rooms or swimming pools, are also more at risk for nail fungus.
How does one know if he has toenail fungus?
Nail fungus begins with a yellow or white spot on the nail. As the fungus grows, it may cause the nail to present other symptoms. They include:
- thickening of the nail
- discoloration of the nail
- crumbling of the nail at its edges
- changes to the nail’s shape
- separation of the nail from the nail bed, known medically as onycholysis
Most over-the-counter medications do not work. Your Chicago podiatrist may recommend stronger, prescription medication. In the most stubborn cases of nail fungus, Laser or surgery to remove the nail may be necessary.
How does one protect my feet from infection?
One of the most effective ways to prevent nail fungus is to keep your feet dry and clean. Be sure to wear fresh socks daily and change into a clean pair if they become wet. Anti-fungal sprays and powders available over-the-counter may also help reduce the chance of nail fungus. Always wear shower shoes in public showers or pools and socks in locker rooms. Finally, wear moisture-wicking shoes and socks to keep your feet dry and cool.
For more information on protecting your feet, please contact your podiatrist at Affiliated Podiatrists in Chicago, IL. Call (773) 631-2079 to speak with a friendly and knowledgeable associate about scheduling your appointment for a foot examination today!