Foot fungus: causes, symptoms and treatment - psychology - 2023
Our feet are probably one of the most important parts of us in our daily lives, and also one of the most ignored. And it is that this part of our body, in addition to being strongly innervated and connected with the rest of the body, is the basis on which our body leans to remain upright thanks to the action of our muscles. Thanks to them we can walk and move and as we do, in a bipedal way.
But this part of our anatomy can suffer from various types of problems, including unwanted visits and infection from other beings. This is the case of fungal infection of the feet, of which we will see the main characteristics throughout this article.
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Fungal infections in the feet or the presence of fungus in the feet occur when the skin or the nail of this part of our anatomy is invaded by some type of fungus. An invasion that generates an infection which in turn will cause symptoms that can be quite diverse depending on the species and the place of infection. These infections are produced by dermatophyte fungi, which feed on the keratin of our skin and nails.
When we have foot fungus, they settle and develop on different parts of our limbs, generally between the toes, on the nails or on the sole or heel. Symptoms may vary, but at a general level we are going to find that those who suffer from foot fungus usually manifest itching and burning in the affected area, possible spots and lesions, peeling of the skin and inflammation.
The presence of a bad smell can also be indicative (although the bad smell of feet does not necessarily equate to fungus). When the affected part is the nail, there may be deformations, fragmentation or color changes (white, yellow or dark). They can also become thicker or thinner, and break or come off very easily.
Among fungal infections that of the feet is one of the most common, and among the most common types of fungal infection in this area we can find nail onychomycosis, athlete's foot (usually on or between the fingers) or paronychia (where the infection usually occurs in the nail cuticle).
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Causes: how are they transmitted?
Although we do not usually go barefoot in nature, the truth is that it is relatively easy to get to suffer from the presence of fungus on the feet. There are many factors that can contribute or facilitate this fact, but in general for these to grow it is necessary that a series of conditions exist that allow the fungus to grow and expand on the skin.
One of the main and most common is our use and choice of footwear. Fungi grow easily in hot, humid areas, conditions that can be found on our feet, especially if we have them tucked in tight, poorly breathable shoes. Likewise, a very typical contagion route is to share hygiene material with an infected person or go barefoot to shared areas that are usually humid, such as showers and swimming pools.
Another factor to take into account is that there are conditions that contribute and facilitate that those who suffer from it can get to have foot fungus. Examples of this are found in diabetes (in which the subject should also have frequent checks to avoid problems such as diabetic foot), hyperhidrosis or conditions that decrease the immune system's ability to fight infections.
Linked to the above, we also have to take into account that fungi are much more frequent in periods of heat, and especially during the summer, this being a period in which they reproduce with great ease. In addition, it must also be borne in mind that there are more risky professions to contract them, such as athletes and professional athletes (the name of one of the best known infections, athlete's foot, is not mere chance) or those professions in which one remains long standing.
Fungal infections of the feet should be treated differentially depending on each case. In this sense, it is necessary to take into account possible alterations that occurred at the same time as said infection. For example, people with diabetes are more likely to have fungus and foot problems and should be more vigilant in this regard. Likewise If the infection also extends to the leg, a doctor should be consulted to verify that something more serious does not happen
In general, the treatment to be used is antifungal drugs and even antibiotics, often in topical cream form. Laser treatments can also be used. Despite this, there are also oral presentations for severe cases or when the fungus occurs in the nail area. In some of the latter cases, it is even possible that it may be necessary to remove the nail.
Maintaining proper hygiene in the foot area It is essential both at the level of treatment and prevention: you will need to wash your feet with soap and water and rinse them properly without leaving traces of soap. The use of footwear and socks that allow perspiration will hinder the infection and the growth of fungi. It is also necessary to avoid going barefoot in damp terrain such as swimming pools or sharing hygienic items such as towels due to the ease with which the type of fungus that appears on the feet is contagious.