Karla News

Feet Fungal Infections

Fungal Infections, Onychomycosis, Tinea

I remember there was one summer I went rafting with a friend of mine along with her boyfriend. He was a good-looking guy but his toes were one to run away from. They were yellow and peeling along the signs. I wanted to throw up. I had trouble enjoying the rafting trip because his ugly toes got my eyes attention. After the rafting trip I asked my friend why her boyfriends feet are so yellow and yucky looking. She told me he had feet fungus and is currently getting treatment for it. I asked her if it was contagious and she told me as long as I didn’t rub my feet on his I would be fine. Recently I have had flashbacks of the rafting day and those nasty feet. I thought about researching and seeing what feet fungus is truly all about. I have learned through my research how someone can get feet fungal infection, what the symptoms are and treatment options for feet fungal infections.

According to Darryl Haycock, DPM, a spokesperson for the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons, “There are two different kinds of fungal infections. One is a nail infection, which is called onychomycosis, and then the other one is a skin infection, what is called tinea pedis, commonly known as athlete’s foot.” So it seems my friend’s boyfriend had onychomycosis since the fungus was located on and around his toenails. All of us have dead skin surrounding our toes. Fungus loves to attach and grow on those dead skin tissues. There are some people who seem to have more dead skin surrounding their toes, which can make them more susceptible to feet fungal infection. People who are more likely to contract the infection are the elderly, a diabetic, someone who has had trauma to their feet, places such as the gym where the fungus can spread from one person to another. I thought to myself that day I went rafting I could have easily contracting the feet fungal infection from my friend’s boyfriend. However I was lucky I didn’t contract the infection.

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Having feet fungal infection is not a pretty sight. According to Darryl Haycock, “Usually it appears as a yellow, brownish discoloration of the toenail. It usually starts at the end of the toenail, then starts working its way back underneath. It makes the nail thick, yellow, crumbly. Sometimes you’ll see yellow streaks coming into the toenail as the fungus progresses.” This is just a common example of what the feet fungus infection can look like. However there are various symptoms that may differ slightly from the one Darryl Haycock described.

Fortunately there are treatment options for someone who has feet fungal infection. There are some over the counter topical creams that you can by to cure feet fungus. However those topical creams seem to be effective only for someone who had athletes foot not the type of feet fungus that my boyfriend’s friend had. For someone like my friend’s boyfriend oral medication is often recommended. Within two to four weeks of regular use of the oral medication can cure the feet fungal infection. The only bad thing about the oral medications is that a person can have problems later in life with their liver. So a doctor can examine the health of the liver before prescribing the oral medication. In rare cases a nail will be removed as part of the treatment. This happens if the nail has been badly deformed from the fungus. Darryl Haycock states, “The podiatrist will take the toenail off, and then they will put the patient on an antifungal medication. The idea being that if you take away all of the old nail and then start off with a new bed that doesn’t have all that fungus, a healthier new nail may come back in.”

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It is important if you notice a discoloration in your nails or any type of change to seek help from a medical professional. Lack of treatment could get the infection spread to all the toenails and worse you may end up losing some toenails that could possibly never grow back.

Christine Haran, “Two Feet Under: Treating Fungal Infections” Sacramento Bee URL: (http://sacbee.healthology.com/skin-problems/foot-care/article1214.htm)