Nasty Feet Fungus | Dos and Don’ts

Dr. Dipali Rani MBBS
Dr. Dipali Rani is a dermatologist and skincare specialist. She practices medicine in Bangladesh and other countries. She writes about skincare and other dermatological conditions on different websites and publications. Dr. Dipali Rani is the Dermatologist and Skincare specialist of learnfromdoctor.com.

Overview

Nasty feet fungus occurs when there is any fungal infection in your feet or toes.

Feet fungal affects your feet or your toes when there are any cracks or any damage in your feet. Wearing a wet sock for a long time, not cleaning the feet after coming from outside, walking on damp waters are the common causes of nasty feet fungus.

Not cleaning your shoes properly, sleeping with the shoes on, not maintaining the basic hygiene status of your feet he’s also other causes.

Feet fungus can be painful, smelly, dangerous looking. The feet fungus can often become severe if they’re not treated properly and may lead to many complications.

This article will discuss the feet fungus, its symptoms, causes, complications, risk factors, treatment, prevention, and many more.

Feet Fungus Symptoms

Feet fungus can affect one or both feet at the same time. Some common symptoms of foot fungus that appear in most affected people may include;

  • Cracked feet skin
  • Scaly and peeling appearance
  • Itchiness on the affected area, especially after removing the shoes and socks
  • Redness of the skin
  • Burning sensation
  • Skin blisters
  • High skin temperatures on the affected site
  • The hardness of the skin
  • Gangrene like appearance
  • Spreading infections (continuously increasing the size of the affected area)

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Nail Fungus Symptoms

The feet fungus often affects the nail and the nail bed simultaneously along with the feet. When the fungus affects the nail bed, it arises some additional symptoms.

  • Thickened nails
  • Whitish, purple, or Green yellow appearance
  • Crumbly and ragged appearance
  • Distorting shape
  • Foul-smelling nails
  • Pain in the nail bed
  • Continuous tingling or burning sensation
  • A dark color debris substance are stored under the nails

The feet or nails can be affected by viruses, bacteria, and fungus. If you experience or notice any of the symptoms of feet or nail fungus, you should not delay and consult the doctor immediately to get rid of them.

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Feet Fungus Causes

Nasty feet fungus is caused by some type of fungi, especially the dermatophytes. This special fungus also causes ringworm and typical itches. Some special environment is needed for these fungi to grow and create a colony.

These fungi are contagious and can be spread by physical contact.

Poor foot health maintenance is the main cause of feet fungus. The common causes of feet fungus may include;

  • Wearing uncleaned socks and shoes
  • Working on damp environment
  • Sharing towels, shoes, and other personal belongings
  • People who work in the water such as swimmer, pool worker
  • Having an untreated feet injury
  • If you itch a particular body area that is already affected by the fungus

Feet fungus is a skin fungus. It can affect almost anyone who does not maintain personal hygiene and cleanliness. Sharing personal belongings is not a good option as it can be contaminated.

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Nasty Feet Fungus Risk Factors

There are some risk factors of feet fungus. People related to these risk factors are more likely to be affected by foot fungus than other people. The common risk factors may include;

  • Old age
  • Athletes
  • Having a feet or toe injury
  • Having feet cracks
  • Work on water or damp environment
  • Wearing enclosed footwear for a longer period
  • Heavily sweat
  • Share personal belongings such as clothes, shoes, towels to the person who has a fungal infection
  • Walking bare feet
  • Having poor feet hygiene
  • Diabetic person
  • Immunocompromised person

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Feet Fungus Complications

There are many complications of feet fungus infection. Primarily the feet fungus causes some common complications such as pain, discoloration, tenderness, etc.

If the foot fungus is left untreated, it can spread to the other body parts and from person to person. The foot fungus also left your feet prone to other bacterial infections.

If the foot fungus is left untreated, other bacterial infections might cause serious inflammation, leading to gangrene-like severe conditions.

However, the foot fungus is treatable, and if you go to the doctor on early condition, it does not need longer treatment.

The athletes face the most complication in the case of foot fungus because they have to stay away from participating in sports until the condition is treated properly and healed.

Nasty Feet Fungus Diagnosis

The diagnosis of feet fungus is clinical and also needs some laboratory investigations. The doctor will examine your feet to evaluate the signs and symptoms.

Nasty Feet Fungus - Athlete's foot
Nasty Feet Fungus – Athlete’s foot

The doctor may ask you some questions such as duration, pain, etc.

The doctor may advise you for some laboratory investigations to identify the exact species of the fungi for ideal treatment.

The common laboratory diagnosis for a fungi infection may include;

  • Taking skin swabs from the affected areas for investigations
  • Blood test
  • Urine test

Nasty Feet Fungus Treatment

The treatment of the feet fungus is antifungal medications. There are two types of antifungal medications.

  1. Local antifungal medicines: They includes cream, ointments, jelly, powder, etc.
  2. Systemic antifungal medicines: They include oral tablets, pills, injections, etc.

The doctor determines the species of the fungus and the best treatment plan for it. If your condition is not severe, the doctor is more likely to prescribe you some local antifungal medications.

Suppose the doctor suspects the spreading of the fungus or it’s a specific species of fungus that is treatable only by systemic antifungal drugs. In that case, the doctor may prescribe you some oral pills or tablets.

Feet fungus is not that severe and completely curable by medications. The duration of the drugs varies according to the species of the fungus that affects you. A normal feet fungus, specifically the dermatophytes, needs a 14-day treatment plan.

Feet Fungus - athlete's foot treatment infographics
Feet Fungus – athlete’s foot treatment infographics

Note: make sure to take any antimicrobial medications to complete the course. If you do not complete the course, the fungus will reappear, and that medication will not work anymore. Because the fungus will become resistant to that drug, this phenomenon is known as antibiotic resistance. 

Prevention of Feet Fungus

Nasty feet fungus is perfectly preventable if you maintain a good feet health habit. Cleanliness and proper hygiene are the best prevention methods against the feet fungi.

The other prevention methods may include;

  • Wear clean and fresh socks every time
  • Wear clean shoes
  • Do not keep your toenail long and clean the area underneath the nail
  • Ensure your nail cutter is clean, rust-free, and sharp
  • If you sweat much, then try not to wear thick shocks
  • You may use antifungal sprays in your feet to prevent any feet infection if you are an athlete
  • If you are a water worker, make sure you do not stay longer in water and clean your feet each time you get out of the work
  • If you have any crack or wound in your feet, use a bandage and clean the boundary area daily.
  • Do not share your towel, clothes, or other personal belongings with anyone who has a fungal infection
  • If you ever get affected by nasty feet fungus, make sure you have taken the full course of antifungal drugs to eliminate the fungus completely

Takeaway

Nasty feet fungus is preventable, treatable, and completely curable. Maintaining proper feet hygiene is enough to prevent the feet fungus.

Feet fungi might become irritating, painful, and dangerous if left untreated. If you are ever affected by a nasty feet fungus, consult with your doctor, and get cured as soon as possible.

Last Updated on April 6, 2022 by Learn From Doctor Team

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