Fungal Nails and Skin Disorders
Your skin covers everything. It’s your largest and most visible organ. Like any other part of your body, though, it does have its own problems. When those problems develop on your feet, they can make normal walking and wearing shoes uncomfortable for you. Worse, some of those problems—like fungal infections—can go on to affect your toenails, too. Skin disorders and fungal nails are common, but they are also highly treatable, especially when they are caught and addressed early.
Common Nail and Skin Disorders
Just like everywhere else on your body, the skin on your feet protects your lower limbs from infections and keeps foreign objects out. It also allows your feet to feel and interact with the world around you. Sometimes, however, problems develop that damage and irritate your skin and nails, causing discomfort and potentially increasing your risk for additional infections. Here are some of the most common disorders:
- Ingrown toenails – Due to genetics, trauma, or even bad shoes, nail edges and corners can dig sideways into tender flesh, causing pain and possible infection.
- Athlete’s foot – This is a fungal infection that damages the surface of your skin. It causes burning and itching sensations, and spreads easily to others and even your own nails.
- Blisters – Friction, particularly from shoes, can damage the top layers of your skin, leading to painful, fluid-filled bubbles on the surface of your feet.
- Contact dermatitis – Sometimes your feet develop allergic reactions to something they touch, whether that’s a plant, chemicals in your shoes, the detergent for your socks, or something else. Your skin reacts by swelling and becoming irritated.
- Dry skin/cracked heels – When feet dry out, the skin becomes less elastic, rough, and irritated. It can even crack, especially in thickened areas around the heels, that are already stiffer than normal.
- Eczema – This is another form of dermatitis, or skin swelling and irritation. It’s a common condition that flares up periodically and may have both genetic and environmental factors that trigger it. While a flare-up could be triggered by an allergen, it could also be related to stress or other factors.
- Psoriasis – This is an autoimmune disease that often runs in families. During a flare-up, thickened and itchy plaques of skin develop. These may crack and be quite painful, especially on your lower limbs.
- Warts – These develop when a virus gets into the top layers of skin. The contagious bump grows over time and may look slightly different depending on where it appears on your feet. Warts are unsightly and may be uncomfortable when they develop under your soles.
- Wounds – When circulation or your immune system is compromised, any breakdown in the surface of the skin can actually give rise to slow-healing ulcers. This is common with diabetes.
Fungal infections are quite common for the feet. The microorganism that causes them thrives in warm, damp places, particularly places like locker rooms, public restrooms, community showers, pools, and saunas. You can pick it up from a contaminated surface or another person. The infection doesn’t necessarily just stay on your skin, however. It can also transfer to your toenails, causing a fungal nail infection.
This infection breaks down the hard keratin, making it brittle, crumbly, discolored, thickened, and unsightly. It’s hard to eliminate, and can re-contaminate your skin, contributing to athlete’s foot problems. Fungal infections of the feet need strong intervention to kill the pathogen at its source, whether that’s on the surface of your skin or under your toenails.
The skin on your feet deserves just as much care as the skin on your hands or even your face. When it’s hurting, you feel it. Don’t ignore common skin disorders and risk the problems getting worse, especially when they’re so treatable. Let our team at Aadvanced Footcare Associates take care of your lower limbs—your skin and your nails—so they look and feel their best. Contact our New York offices today to make your appointment. Use our website contact forms, or call (718) 896-4433 for Rego Park, (516) 822-9595 for Plainview, or (718) 969-2266 for Flushing.