Dr. Berg's Foot Facts

Posts for category: Fungus toenails

By Dr. Rion Berg
November 13, 2018
Category: Fungus toenails

Have you wondered if you need treatment for your fungal toenails? A recent article in Health Day News, a health information news site by US News and World Report, gives some great information for people with fungal toenails but misses the mark because it doesn't discuss the importance of treatment.

The article includes the following recommendations from the American Academy of Physicians (AAP). I've added my comments in parentheses. These recommendations will help reduce the chance of spreading the infection to your other toenails and other people and is best practice when you get your toenail fungus treated.

  • Cut nails short and file down thick areas.

  • Don't use the same nail trimmer or file on healthy nails and infected ones (be sure to keep your nail implements for your own use to prevent spread to other family members).

  • If you go to a nail salon, bring your own nail file and trimmer (you should always let the nail salon know you have fungal nails when you make your appointment; some salons won't allow people with fungal nails to be seen).

  • Wear socks made of wicking material to draw moisture from the skin (an excellent sock is the Copper Anti-bacterial Antifungal Low Cut Socks; these are wicking and anti-microbial. If you're a hiker a sock liner from Fox River will keep the moisture away from your feet.

  • Change your socks when they are damp from sweat or your feet get wet.

  • Wear clean, dry socks every day and apply over-the-counter antifungal powder inside socks to keep feet dry.

  • Wear shoes with good support and a wide toe area (in addition shoes should fit well and leave about a thumbs length from your toes to the tip of your shoes. Tight shoes can cause your unaffected toenails to lift making it easier for the fungal infection to develop in them).

  • Avoid walking barefoot in public areas, such as locker rooms (always wear flip flops to prevent spread of the infection to others).

  • (Wear a different pair of shoes every day to let them dry out between wearings).

  • (Use a UV shoe sanitizer like Sterishoe Essential to kill the fungus in your shoes and keep down your fungal load).

It's important to get your fungal toenails treated for these reasons:

  • Toenail fungus can cause nails to thicken and distort making them difficult to cut.

  • Toenail fungus can be painful. This won't occur when your fungal nail infection first starts, but can happen over time.

  • Toenail fungus and diabetes are a dangerous combination. If you have both of these conditions your chance of developing an ulcer is 3X greater than if you didn't have diabetes.

  • Toenail fungus can spread in families. While many of the recommendations above will help prevent you from spreading the condition to others, however, getting it treated will help ensure it.

Don't wait to get your toenail fungus treated. Call us today at 206-368-7000 for an appointment. You can also request an appointment online.

Your free foot book "No More Foot Pain" is waiting to be sent to your home.

In addition, our newsletter "Foot Sense" comes out monthly.  You can also check out our past issues. Every issue contains a mouth-watering recipe and can be printed out for easier reading!

Seattle foot and ankle specialist, Dr. Rion Berg offers foot care for patients with bunions, heel pain, diabetes, fungal toenails, ingrown nails, and surgical solutions when needed to residents of Seattle, Bellevue, Kirkland, Shoreline, Lake Forest Park, Mountlake Terrace, Lynnwood and other surrounding suburbs.

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What's the best approach for treating fungal toenails? First let's look at the history of how fungus of the toenails has been treated. For many years the only available treatment was topical medication. And while somewhat helpful these medications had to be applied daily for up to a year. With all that effort, only 20% of patients saw clearing of their fungal nails.

In the 1960s and 70s the pharmaceutical industry developed an oral medication. Initially these medications were harmful to the liver. Eventually they developed a medication called oral Lamisil which had fewer side effects. The patient took one pill a day for three months and with that the success rate was about 75%. To be safe patients got their liver enzymes tested after one month.

However, even with testing the liver many patients were still hesitant to take the oral medication. Also, fungus would reoccur in some patients (as with any fungal nail treatment). Something that was non-invasive that had the potential to work better was needed. That's why laser treatment was developed. When we first started using laser in 2012 we found a success rate of 60%-70%.

After we added in topical medication for the skin and nails and put in place a program where patients used a UV light sanitizer in their shoes our success rate went up to 75%. Finally this year we added a one month course of oral medication and grouped our laser treatments closer together. Then our success rate went up to 80%-90%.

If you're looking to get rid of your fungal toenails in time for the 2019 sandal season, now is the best time to start. With treatment your clear nails will still need to grow out which can take nine months or longer.

Call us today at 206-368-7000 for evaluation. You can also request an appointment online. We'll test your nails to make sure you have fungus before we start treatment.

Your free foot book "No More Foot Pain" is waiting to be sent to your home.

In addition, our newsletter "Foot Sense" comes out monthly.  You can also check out our past issues. Every issue contains a mouth-watering recipe and can be printed out for easier reading!

Seattle foot and ankle specialist, Dr. Rion Berg offers foot care for patients with bunions, heel pain, diabetes, fungal toenails, ingrown nails, and surgical solutions when needed to residents of Seattle, Bellevue, Kirkland, Shoreline, Lake Forest Park, Mountlake Terrace, Lynnwood and other surrounding suburbs.

Follow Dr. Berg on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+

You may be wondering about the plastic shoes that Rhianna, Kim Kardashian, and Kendall Jenner are sporting these days. They sure look trendy. But are they OK for your feet?

It all depends.

It's one thing if you want to don some Crocs which have holes in them and are breathable. But the kind of plastic shoes I'm talking about are the ones that look like they just left a steam room. Witness like the ones you see in the photo.

Here are 5 foot problems that can bubble up from wearing enclosed plastic shoes.

Blisters

Wearing plastic shoes can leave you with some pretty awful blisters. I already tell my patients to wear socks that wick away moisture particularly if their physically active. With no socks and feet encased in a terrarium blisters are inevitable. And I'm not talking about one blister on the back of your heel, but wherever those shoes rub on your toes and feet.

Fungal Toenails

Anyone wearing closed toed shoes (pretty much all of us) is already at some risk for fungal toenails. Fungus loves a moist environment to grow. But walking around with your feet in a humidifier will only make the fungus happier and more likely to thrive. In addition, if those plastic shoes are tight and pointy your toenails are more likely to lift letting the critters under your nail bed where they'll set up shop.

Hot Foot

I'm not referring to walking on coals, but an allergic reaction to plastic that can feel like your feet are on fire. This reaction is called contact dermatitis.

Tripping and Falling

Plastic shoes can also be very rigid, putting you at greater risk for tripping and falling.

Foot Pain

Plastic shoes with plastic soles have absolutely no ability to absorb shock. If you have any foot problems they're likely be magnified in this type of shoe.

If you want to be trendy and wear these shoes on occasion that's fine. Don't walk very far in them and make sure to buy them in the afternoon when feet are the most swollen. You wouldn't want your feet to feel like they're in a straitjacket later on. Of course wearing socks that wick away moisture, like these socks from Saucony, would also be best.

Having foot pain from wearing bad shoes, call us today at 206-368-7000 for an appointment. Often same day for emergencies and less than 2 weeks for chronic foot pain. You can also request an appointment online.

Your free foot book "No More Foot Pain" is waiting to be sent to your home.

In addition, our newsletter "Foot Sense" comes out monthly.  You can also check out our past issues. Every issue contains a mouth-watering recipe and can be printed out for easier reading!

Seattle foot and ankle specialist, Dr. Rion Berg offers foot care for patients with bunions, heel pain, diabetes, fungal toenails, ingrown nails, and surgical solutions when needed to residents of Seattle, Bellevue, Kirkland, Shoreline, Lake Forest Park, Mountlake Terrace, Lynnwood and other surrounding suburbs.

Follow Dr. Berg on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+

 

By Dr. Rion Berg
May 03, 2018
Category: Fungus toenails

It's spring and it's time for sandal season. You look forward to getting your first pedicure of the year. But before you pick up the phone and make that appointment, spend some time reading about what to look for in a nail salon and how to get a safe pedicure.

A pedicure is not a matter of simply getting nail polish decoratively layered on your toenails. Before the pedicurist gets to the colorful part, she has the potential of exposing your toes to all kinds of infections. In addition, there are some things you need to know about what to do and not do before you get a pedicure.

Here are 7 steps to getting a safe pedicure.

Always Wait 24 Hours After Shaving

Be sure to wait 24 hours after shaving your legs to get your pedicure. Some potentially life threatening skin infections can occur (eg. cellulitis) if your legs and feet are exposed to certain bacteria. Shaving creates small cuts in your skin creating the perfect environment for bacteria to enter from improperly sanitized instruments and foot baths.

Don't Let Nail Technicians Cut Your Cuticles

Your cuticles are barriers that prevent bacteria and fungus from getting into your body. Although it may look good to get your cuticles removed, don't let the technician do it. Removing the cuticle is removing that barrier and allowing potentially harmful germs in. In addition to cellulitis, the fungus that causes fungal toenails can get under your nail and set up shop.

Bring Your Own Tools

Unless you know a salon is autoclaving their tools or using barbicide and washing their tools properly between clients, don't risk it. Tools you should bring with you are nail files, clippers, and a cuticle pusher.

Don't Let Nail Technicians Remove An Ingrown Toenail

Some nail technicians may claim to do this safely but don't risk it. Getting an ingrown toenail removed is a surgical procedure that requires the expertise of a podiatrist. Most ingrown toenails are already infected and so the potential for further exposure to other bacteria is a bad idea.

Beware of Salons That Use Whirlpool Footbaths

Most salons use a whirlpool type of bath. If these baths aren't cleaned properly in between clients, then you're exposing yourself to whatever bacteria and fungus the previous clients have. Salons should be draining the water after each client and then filling them with disinfectant for at least 10 minutes before draining it and filling with water for the next person.

Salons may also use individual bath liners that are removed after each client or glass bowls that they clean between each client. These are both good practices.

Don't Let Technicians Remove Your Calluses

Many technicians are too aggressive when it comes to removing calluses and/or your skin using graters that look like they could cut cheese. This can be very dangerous particularly for people with diabetes or poor circulation. Either have your calluses removed by a podiatrist or use a cream with urea to gently remove them. Even these creams can be too much for a person with a medical condition and should be prescribed by a doctor.

Bring Your Own Nail Polish

Although salons provide nail polish, we recommend that you use a non-toxic nail polish such as Dr.'s Remedy Enriched Nail Polish. Regular nail polish can weaken your nails leaving you more vulnerable to toenail fungus.

If you really want to play it safe the Foot and Ankle Center of Lake City highly recommends doing your own pedicures. Check out this DIY pedicure. Remember if you have diabetes or poor circulation don't remove your own calluses.

If you have toenail fungus, an ingrown toenail, or another skin infection on your feet, call us today at 206-368-7000 for an appointment. Often same day for emergencies and less than 2 weeks for chronic foot pain. You can also request an appointment online.

Your free foot book "No More Foot Pain" is waiting to be sent to your home.

In addition, our newsletter "Foot Sense" comes out monthly.  You can also check out our past issues. Every issue contains a mouth-watering recipe and can be printed out for easier reading!

Seattle foot and ankle specialist, Dr. Rion Berg offers foot care for patients with bunions, heel pain, diabetes, fungal toenails, ingrown nails, and surgical solutions when needed to residents of Seattle, Bellevue, Kirkland, Shoreline, Lake Forest Park, Mountlake Terrace, Lynnwood and other surrounding suburbs.

Follow Dr. Berg on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+

Toenail fungus. It's ugly. It's nasty. And it's embarrassing.

If you know someone with toenail fungus, you've probably heard them complain endlessly about how awful it is and how it's preventing them from showing off their toes in the summer.

You may have also heard that it's tough to get rid of. Well, it is. And the problem is more than on the nail surface.

Although fungal toenails look really bad on the outside of the nail, the source of the problem is in the toenail bed. That's why if it was simply a matter of applying topicals to your nails, most people would be rid of it in a snap. But because it lurks beneath the surface of the nail it's much harder to treat.

The best possible solution is to prevent yourself from getting nail fungus in the first place. Although this isn't always possible it's worth knowing the hacks to reduce your risk for toenail fungus.

Wear Socks That Wick Away Moisture
Fungus loves to grow in a moist, dark environment. If you're a runner, love to hike, or have other athletic pursuits your feet are going to sweat when you're active. To combat fungus from growing you need to keep down the moisture levels in your shoes and socks.

Synthetic socks such as polypropylene or polyethylene are the best socks for wicking away moisture. Socks I recommend for runners are Thirty 48 made of Coolmax fabric or Wrightsock Coolmesh II. For hikers I recommend SmartWool Trekking Socks.

 

Use An Ultraviolet Shoe Sanitizer
Another excellent way to keep your shoes dry and free of fungus is by using an Ultraviolet (UV) Shoe Sanitizer. UV Shoe sanitizers eliminate 99% of all fungus and bacteria from your shoes in 15 minutes.

 

Wear Flip Flops In Pool and Gym Locker Rooms
Nothing screams fungus like a pool or gym shower and locker room. Never ever go barefoot in these fungal hotbeds. Although I often tell my patients not to wear flip flops for everyday wear, this is the one time I absolutely recommend them.

 

Do A Home Pedicure
Nail salons can pass along nail fungus if they don't properly clean their tools and footbaths. It's always best to check ahead of time by asking how they sterilize their equipment (autoclaving is the best) and footbaths between clients. In addition, never let them cut your cuticles. Fungus and bacteria can enter the body through skin breaks. The best way to avoid fungus is to do a home pedicure.

Don't Share Nail Tools With Friends or Family Members
Nail fungus can spread among family members and friends who share nail tools. It's best for each person to have their own set of nail tools and avoid sharing with friends. If you need to share, be sure to clean and sanitize properly.

Keep Your Weight Down
Onychomycosis or nail fungus has been found much more frequently in people who are overweight or obese. It is also found often in people with diabetes. People with diabetes who have nail fungus are three times more likely to develop a foot ulcer than people without nail fungus.

If you think you have nail fungus, come in today for a consultation to determine the best way to treat it. Our office uses laser and other methods to give you the best chance for eliminating it.

Call us today at 206-368-7000 for an appointment. Often same day for emergencies and less than 2 weeks for chronic foot pain. You can also request an appointment online.

Your free foot book "No More Foot Pain" is waiting to be sent to your home.

In addition, our newsletter "Foot Sense" comes out monthly.  You can also check out our past issues. Every issue contains a mouth-watering recipe and can be printed out for easier reading!

Seattle foot and ankle specialist, Dr. Rion Berg offers foot care for patients with bunions, heel pain, diabetes, fungal toenails, ingrown nails, and surgical solutions when needed to residents of Seattle, Bellevue, Kirkland, Shoreline, Lake Forest Park, Mountlake Terrace, Lynnwood and other surrounding suburbs.

Follow Dr. Berg on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+