Preventing Common Foot Problems Seen In the Summer Part 3 (Athlete’s Foot Infection)

foot pain in kids

Once again adding to my prior posts regarding this topic, I am discussing  prevention of foot problems that we commonly see an increase of during the summer months.  Once again, there are several common foot conditions that we see year round that become somewhat more prevalent during the summer months, for various reasons.

Today, I will discuss athlete’s foot infection.  This infection is due to invasion of the foot skin by fungus, a microorganism similar to bacteria that is found everywhere.  Fungus and related yeasts and molds are well known by their larger family members, including mushrooms.  The kinds of fungus that infect humans are microscopic.  There are a few species that take a liking to warm, dark, moist parts of the body.  These include skin folds, the groin area, as well as the bottom of the feet and in between the toes.  The resulting infection by these fungal species causes red, scaling, irritated skin that can itch and can also be blistery.  It can easily pass from person to person, especially through contact with moisture and moist skin, such as seen in showers and locker rooms.

Athlete's foot

While athlete’s foot fungus is fairly easy to treat, it is a nuisance infection, and if present long term can spread to the toenails where it causes a much harder to treat infection.  Preventing the infection is possible if one avoids direct contact with moist surfaces in shared bathing and changing areas.  Shower shoes can help prevent spreading this condition, both for those wanting to prevent it and those with the condition.  If one does develop the common symptoms associated with athlete’s foot, prompt treatment can help keep this condition from becoming chronic, and place family members at less risk for developing the infection.  Fungus cannot be outright avoided, as it is found in multiple sources and some people may simply be more genetically likely to get the infection, but simple avoidance measures and early treatment of developing infections can help.

 

I will continue this discussion next post.

Preventing Common Foot Problems Seen In the Summer Part 2

Continuing on from my last post, I am discussing  prevention of foot problems that we commonly see an increase of during the summer months.  Once again, there are several common foot conditions we see year round that become somewhat more prevalent during the summer months, for various reasons.  These reasons depend on the condition, and can include barefoot activity, increased activity, and specific risks of increased temperature and ultraviolet exposure.

Next up is warts.  Warts are hard, callus-like lesions found on the feet and hands.  They are due to an infection from a virus, which enters the skin through small cracks, fissures, or other skin defect.  In the feet, the virus is often stepped on, which leads to most foot warts being found on the bottom of the foot.  They are transmitted from person to person through skin cells that are shed from the infected wart.  The skin tissue containing the virus is then left on the ground, and another individual contracts the virus by stepping on the skin cells.  If there is a defect in that person’s skin where the virus is stepped on, the virus will enter the second person and begin the infection.  Of course, the most common locations warts are spread are going to be where people walk barefoot.  These places include pools, locker rooms, changing rooms, community or shared bathrooms, and even piers and boardwalks.

foot warts

While warts can be treated, they can potentially be nonetheless a tough infection to remove.  Prevention is the key to limiting their contagious spread.  By wearing sandals, shower shoes, or generally avoiding walking barefoot in public spaces, one can reduce their risk of contracting this infection.  This is certainly easy to do in locker rooms or changing rooms and showers.  At pools, this is not always feasible or desirable, but if one can protect their feet when on the pool deck well away from the water, then the chances of contracting a wart is lessened as the chlorine in the pool water will likely eradicate any virus where the pool water is present.  If a family member has a wart, the rest of the family should either avoid using the same bathroom or use shower sandals to protect their feet until the wart is eradicated.  To be fair, passing along a wart virus is not even close to being as easy as passing along a cold virus, as one typically has to be in the right place at the wrong time become infected.  However, family members are at risk, and should act accordingly.

If one does become infected, prompt and early treatment may spell better success than delaying treatment for months or years.

Preventing Common Foot Problems Seen In the Summer

Over the next several weeks, I am going to write in this blog about the prevention of foot problems that we commonly see an increase of during the summer months.  There are several common foot conditions that we see year round that become somewhat more prevalent during the summer months, for various reasons.  These reasons depend on the condition, and can include barefoot activity, increased activity, and specific risks of increased temperature and ultraviolet exposure.

The first topic I want to discuss is the worst of them and may take many summers to develop….. I’m of course referring to skin cancer.  Despite what one may assume, skin cancer can be found on the feet, even areas under the foot where one does not expect sun exposure.  There are several skin cancers that form as a result of sun exposure and mutation of the skin cells by the suns ultraviolet rays.  One such cancer, squamous cell carcinoma, is not uncommon in the foot and ankle, although it is usually found elsewhere on the body.  Usually, on the foot and ankle, squamous cell carcinoma is found in a contained form called squamous cell carcinoma in-situ.  In this variation, it is less likely to metastasize and spread to other organs, although the risk is still there.  Other forms can spread, and do form a danger to one’s life.  This cancer often appears as a slowly growing reddish bump that can be scaly or crusted.

Of far more danger to the body is the appearance of melanoma.  This is a tumor of pigment cells, and often appears as a dark mass or mole.  There is one variation that has no pigment, and is particularly dangerous as it is hardly recognized as a cancer.  Melanoma is very deadly, and spreads to other organs easily to cause death if untreated.  Melanoma has a variety of different appearances, ranging from a tan or brown patch to a black bump, and all ranges in between.  Any new dark spot on the foot or skin in general that has an irregular shape or borders, inconsistent colors, or appears to be growing in size or height, should be looked at by a physician.  Any old mole that changes in appearance should also be looked at as well.

melanoma on toe

Because the summertime allows for more sun exposure, the possibility of damaging one’s skin with the sun’s ultraviolet light is much higher.  While people today are more aware of the dangers of excessive sun exposure, people often ignore their feet when protecting skin.  The foot, from top to bottom, needs sun protection in the form of appropriate sunscreen or the cover of a shoe.  The bottom of the foot should not be ignored, especially if one is lounging at the pool or beach, because an upright foot position will expose the sole of the foot to sunlight.  While the damage may take a while to appear, skin mutation and mass growth from sun damage on the foot is not something that can be ignored, and in some cases can be deadly.