Nail Fungus & Athlete's Foot Disease
Although you may not see the evidence of a nail or foot disease on a daily basis, these conditions can still be uncomfortable and embarrassing. For example, if you suffer from nail fungus, you may not feel comfortable wearing open-toed shoes or flip flops. Likewise, if you suffer from toe nail fungus or Athlete's Foot, your feet may burn and itch. Fortunately, either condition can be treated at Metropolitan Dermatology in Clark, Kearny, Teaneck and Staten Island.
A fungal infection of the nail can occur when a fungus, such as yeast, begins growing beneath the surface. These infections may occur on the toes or under the finger nails on your hand. They are more likely to occur among people who have nail disease, immune system deficiences, minor injuries or exposure to fungus in public areas such as the gym, swimming pool or nail salon.
When a fungal infection occurs on the skin of the feet, it causes athlete's foot. Athlete's foot is caused by yeast, which is the same fungus that causes nail fungus. You may be at an increased risk for getting athlete's foot if you sweat frequently or wear closed shoes on a regular basis.
Signs and Symptoms
Signs and symptoms of nail fungus include:
- Dull nails
- Yellow streaks
- Nail thickening
- Material trapped in the nail bed
- Crumbling and bitterness
Signs and symptoms of athlete's foot include:
- Peeling or cracked skin on the foot or between toes
- Oozing blisters
- Itchiness and redness
Diagnosis and Treatment
In most cases, nail fungus and/or athlete's foot can be diagnosed with only a physical exam. The symptoms of these conditions are often visually apparent, so your physician or dermatologist can identify them easily. If a doctor wishes to identify the specific type of fungus that is causing the condition, he or she may look at scrapings from your skin or nails under a microscope.
Doctors usually prescribe oral antifungal medicines to treat nail fungus and severe cases of athlete's foot. To treat mild to moderate athlete's foot, however, you may be able to simply apply an antifungal cream or powder. These medications are available over the counter.
Outcomes and Follow-up
In most cases, one course of treatment will resolve fungal infections of the feet. However, both of these conditions can recur even after they have been cured. To prevent the recurrence of athlete's foot, you should wear well-ventilated shoes and clean socks at all times. If you frequently visit locations where you encounter fungus, such as the gym, consider using a preventative drying powder.
Nail fungus is more difficult to treat than athlete's foot. Because the nail won't look normal until a new one is fully grown, it may take up to 12 months for the symptoms to resolve completely.