This Summer Dare to go Bare

Florida summer months are guaranteed to be hot and humid. Because of this most people prefer wearing sandals such as flip-flops.  However, for the person afflicted with nail fungus, summertime can be an embarrassing time of year.  Nail fungus (onychomychosis) is a fungal infection in one or more of your nails.  It can begin with a white or yellow spot under the tip of your toenail. As the nail fungus spreads deeper into your nail, it may cause your nail to discolor, thicken and develop crumbling edges — an unsightly and potentially painful problem. For those of you who have extremely thick distorted and discolored nails it is recommended that you either cut or file away as much diseased nail as possible or better yet, consider seeing a podiatrist who will be able to remove most of the diseased nail (painless procedure), so that the medication can be more effective.

Aging is the most common risk factor for nail fungus for several reasons, including:

  • Diminished blood circulation
  • More years of exposure to fungi
  • Nails may grow more slowly and thicken with age, making them more susceptible to infection

Other factors that can increase your risk of developing nail fungus include:

  • Perspiring heavily
  • Working in a humid or moist environment
  • Having the skin condition psoriasis
  • Wearing socks and shoes that hinder ventilation and don’t absorb perspiration
  • Walking barefoot in damp public places, such as swimming pools, gyms and shower rooms
  • Having athlete’s foot.
  • Having a minor nail injury, a damaged nail, or another infection
  • Having diabetes, circulation problems or a weakened immune system
  • Getting pedicures at non-sanitary salons

The gold standard treatment of  onychomycosis is the use of oral anti-fungal medication, the most popular being Lamisil tablets.  Lamisil is only taken once a day for 90 days. For some people, Lamisil is not an option because effects on the liver or kidney.  So obviously people with severe liver disease or kidney disease would not be candidates for Lamisil.  In these individuals topical application of medically prescribed anti-fungal medication is a viable option. Over the counter topical medication typically are not effective. The down-side of topical antifungals is it takes a while for the nails to totally clear up. Your podiatrist will discuss with you the most effective and safe treatment. Additionally antifungal foot soap, and shoe spray will be started to help you get rid of this contagious problem.  This summertime there is still time for your feet to dare to go bare without embarrassment.

Dr. Olga Garcia Luepschen and the Gentle Foot Care Center are located 2 Ryant Blvd (on US27) can be reached 314-9255(walk).  Check us out at www.gentlefootcarecenter.com

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