athletes footAthlete’s foot is a common skin infection and nothing to worry about. Right? Wrong. Although we think about athlete’s foot as an easily treated infection, it has its darker side.

According to Dr. Warren Joseph, an expert in the field of infectious disease, tinea pedis or athlete’s foot almost always precedes the development of toenail fungus. In addition, those with toenail fungus will often develop athlete’s foot.

Also, left untreated toenail fungus is a progressive disease that can spread to other nails and to other parts of the body. Finally, there is a genetic predisposition to T. Rubrum (one of the most common yeasts/molds that cause athletes foot and fungal nails) in some families.

What Does This Information Mean for People With Athlete’s Foot and Fungal Nails?

  • Make sure that you treat your athlete’s foot when it occurs.
  • Ask your podiatrist if they treat the skin in addition to your nails.  If your podiatrist only treats the nails then there is a higher likelihood of reinfection from the surrounding skin.
  • After treatment for fungal nails, keep up a maintenance routine.  Disinfect your shoes with products such as the SteriShoe+ Ultraviolet Shoe Sanitizer, wash your feet regularly and thoroughly dry them, and contact your podiatrist at the first sign of infection.

When I talk to patients about toenail fungus I tell them it’s a chronic condition that needs maintenance just like your teeth. Brushing should be done daily to prevent bacteria from forming plaque and creating the acid that causes tooth decay. Likewise being proactive about your foot maintenance will keep fungus from taking over. 

To learn more about toenail fungus, check out our Comprehensive Laser Treatment Program. For an appointment, call 206-368-7000 or request an appointment online.

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