One of the most common problems encountered in our podiatry office is fungus of the toenails. How exactly does someone get fungus, and why is it common in athletes?
The fungus is an opportunistic organism that will attack the nail after any type of injury or trauma to the toenail. Whether it be from a hard tackle in football, someone stepping on your foot in soccer or basketball, or constantly stubbing your toes in your track & field spikes; all these events could potentially lead to a fungal outbreak.
Another issue is the environment within the shoe/spike/cleat. Typically it is warm and moist which inevitably will lead to athlete’s foot. Athlete’s foot commonly causes dry, peeling skin (looks like dry skin) or blistering with associated itching and/or burning. If athlete’s foot is not treated properly, the fungus on the skin can also inoculate the toenail and cause the fungus to grow on the toenail too!
The major problem with fungal toenails, is that there is no guaranteed approach to get rid of it, and it is almost impossible to resolve without professional help. At Healthy Feet Podiatry, our approach is to provide multiple treatment modalities simultaneously to provide optimal care to resolve the fungus infection. These modalities include topical, oral and laser treatment. When multiple therapies are combined, especially with laser treatment, patients have a greater percentage of resolution of the fungus, rather than depending on one treatment alone. We recommend at least 6 laser treatment sessions, followed by maintenance treatment to reduce the risk of the fungus coming back.
So, I ask all you athletes out there: take a look at your toes. Do you have fungus? Are your toenails thickened, discolored or you see debris around the nail edges? If so, give us a call at Healthy Feet Podiatry to schedule an appointment so we can help you get rid of it!