Foot Skin and Nail Care

Foot Skin and Nail Care

Taking good care of your feet and toenails can ward off calluses, athletes foot and other problems. For people with diabetes, good foot care is particularly important. Wash and dry your feet daily with mild soap and warm water. Cut toenails straight across after bathing and pat feet thoroughly dry, then apply a soothing lotion. Wearing comfortable shoes and roomy socks made from natural fibers like cotton and wool will allow moisture to escape and help avoid athletes foot and calluses. So will using talcum powder and wearing sandals in public areas like locker rooms.

Recently Answered

  • 1 Answer
    A
    AUCLA Health answered
    For athlete's foot infections that involve the sole of the foot, prescription oral medication may be prescribed. It is also helpful to wash feet and keep them dry and in the open air to inhibit the fungus from growing. Maintaining a disinfected environment to discourage fungal infection is ideal but not always feasible.

    Parents should talk to their children about how common these infections are in order to get them to recognize symptoms and seek treatment before the rash becomes more bothersome and uncomfortable.
  • 1 Answer
    A
    AUCLA Health answered
    Doctors can generally diagnose athlete’s foot just by looking at the infected feet. Athlete’s foot can also be diagnosed by scraping the affected skin and looking at it under a microscope to see if the fungus is present.

    Not all foot skin problems are athlete’s foot. If you suspect your child (especially a pre-teen) has athlete’s foot, it is a good idea to have a doctor take a look in order to make a correct diagnosis.
  • 1 Answer
    A
    AUCLA Health answered

    Athlete’s foot is a very common rash on the skin of the foot. Most people, especially teenage boys, are likely to contract athlete’s foot at some point in their lives. Athlete’s foot is rare in pre-teens.

  • 1 Answer
    A
    AMichael Roizen, MD, Internal Medicine, answered
    Walking with plantar warts can feel like walking with a pointy rock in your shoe. That's because these warts grow inward from your sole (the plantar surface of your foot).

    Several treatments are available for the elimination of plantar warts, but while you wait for the treatment to work, exercise like a mermaid: Do water aerobics. They'll give you a real workout without putting a load on your feet. So will doing floor moves, such as crunches and bicycles. You’ll break a sweat, but your feet won’t touch the floor.
  • 1 Answer
    A

    Nail care refers to the proper maintenance of the fingernails and toenails. Nail care is important because it helps prevent nail problems, such as fungal nail infections and ingrown toenails. However, in some cases, nail problems are symptoms of an underlying medical condition, such as an infection throughout the body.

    The fingernails and toenails help protect the fingers and toes. The nails are made up of several different parts. The nail plate is the largest and most visible part of the nail. It is the hard part that covers the tips of the fingers. The nail bed is the skin that is beneath the nail plate. The nail folds are the skin that surrounds the three sides of each nail. The cuticle is the thin u-shaped tissue that overlaps the nail plate at the base of the nail. It protects new nail as it grows from the nail bed. The lunula is the white-colored half-moon shape at the base of the nail beneath the nail plate.

    The nails start growing underneath the cuticle, in what is called the matrix. As new cells grow, older cells harden and are pushed out to become part of the nail plate. On average, nails grow about 0.1 millimeters daily. In other words, if a nail falls off, it takes about 4-6 months for it to completely grow back.

    Nails are considered healthy if they are smooth and uniform in color and consistency. Healthy nails do not have ridges or grooves, and they do not have spots or discoloration.

    In order to maintain healthy nails, it is recommended that individuals keep the nails clean, trimmed, and moisturized. Moisturizing the nails helps prevent the nails from becoming brittle and breaking or cracking. Although nail biting does not usually cause nail problems, it is not recommended. In some cases, nail biting may worsen a nail condition, such as an infection around the nail bed.

    You should read product labels, and discuss all therapies with a qualified healthcare provider. Natural Standard information does not constitute medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

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  • 1 Answer
    A
    AHealthwise answered

    If you have been diagnosed with athlete's foot before and the symptoms have returned, a fungal culture will probably not be needed. Your doctor may suggest you treat the infection with nonprescription or prescription antifungal medicine.



    This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. To learn more visit Healthwise.org

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  • 1 Answer
    A
    AHealthwise answered
    Negative: No fungi are present in the skin or nail scrapings. Other skin tests may be done to find out the cause of the skin or nail problems.

     

    Positive: Fungi are present, and the type of fungus is identified.

     

    Treatment may vary depending on the type of fungus present.



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  • 1 Answer
    A
    AHealthwise answered

    A fungal culture may be done to find out the cause of cracking, scaling, peeling or blistered skin, or to find out why there is an area of persistent irritation (and sometimes redness) on the feet. The presence of fungi suggests that the condition is athlete's foot (tinea pedis).



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  • 1 Answer
    A
    AHealthwise answered

    A fungal culture is used to find out whether fungi are present and, if so, what type of fungus it is.

    Your doctor will take samples by lightly scraping your skin with a sharp blade or the edge of a microscope slide. He or she may also take toenail samples if the nail is infected. The skin sample is placed in a container with a substance (called growth medium or culture medium) that helps fungus grow. If no fungus grows, the culture is negative. If a fungus grows, the culture is positive. The fungus will be identified with a microscope, chemical tests or both.

    Fungi are slow-growing, so it can take up to 6 weeks to identify the fungi and get results.



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  • 1 Answer
    A
    AHealthwise answered

    Antifungal medicines that are used on the skin (topical) are usually the first choice for treating athlete's foot (tinea pedis). They are available in prescription or nonprescription forms. Nonprescription medicines are usually tried first.

    For severe cases of athlete's foot, your doctor may prescribe oral antifungals (pills). But treatment with this medicine is expensive, requires periodic testing for dangerous side effects, and does not guarantee a cure.

    When you are treating athlete's foot, it is important that you use the full course of the medicine. Using it as directed, even after the symptoms go away, increases the likelihood that you will kill the fungi and that the infection will not return.

    Medicine Choices

    Nonprescription antifungals are usually tried first. These include clotrimazole (Lotrimin), miconazole (Micatin), terbinafine (Lamisil), and tolnaftate (Tinactin).

    Prescription antifungals may be tried if nonprescription medicines do not help or if you have a severe infection. Some of these medicines are topical antifungals, which are put directly on the skin. Examples include butenafine (Mentax), clotrimazole and naftifine (Naftin). Prescription antifungals can also be taken as a pill, which are called oral antifungals. Examples of oral antifungals include fluconazole (Diflucan), itraconazole (Sporanox), and terbinafine (Lamisil). 

    What to Think About

    You may choose not to treat athlete's foot if your symptoms don't bother you and you have no health problems that increase your risk of severe foot infection, such as diabetes. But an untreated athlete's foot infection causing skin blisters or cracks can lead to severe bacterial infection. Also, if you don't treat athlete's foot, you can spread it to other people.

    If your symptoms do not improve after 2 weeks of treatment or have not gone away after 4 weeks of treatment, call your doctor.

    Some topical antifungal medicines work faster (1 to 2 weeks) than other topical medicines (4 to 8 weeks). All of the faster-acting medicines have similar cure rates. The fast-acting medicines may cost more than the slower-acting ones, but you use less of these medicines to fully treat a fungal infection. Oral antifungal medicines are typically taken for 2 to 8 weeks.



    This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. To learn more visit Healthwise.org

    © Healthwise, Incorporated.