Summer brings lots of opportunities to go barefoot here in Atlantic County. While soft grass and summer breezes on your feet may feel great, here at Paul S. DeMarco, DPM, we want to warn patients that going barefoot puts you at risk for several podiatric conditions that you’d probably rather avoid:
Athlete’s Foot — this irritating disorder is caused by a fungus and produces a red, itchy rash that can leave the skin on your feet dry and flaking. It usually develops between the toes and on the soles of the feet. As the condition progresses, blisters may weep and cracks may form, which create an entry point for bacteria that may result in a secondary infection.
Fungal Toenails — in many instances, athlete’s foot spreads to the toenails and causes a fungal nail infection to develop. Fungus thrives in warm, moist places. During the summer months, feet sweat more and this is why we often see more fungal infections at this time of the year. Although slow moving, fungal toenail infections will eventually move underneath the nail and cause the nail to thicken and appear deformed. The edges may crumble and chip and the nail may also become discolored, turning yellow or brownish. Laser treatments available in our Somers Point office can help eliminate toenail infections quickly and painlessly.
Plantar Warts — coming into direct contact with the human papilloma virus (HPV) is the cause of plantar warts. Signs of a wart include: a tough or thick patch of skin that may at first be mistaken for a callus. You might notice tiny black dots on the surface of the wart. Warts grow deep within the skin and if walking or standing puts pressure on a wart, it can be very painful.
All three of these podiatric conditions are the result of bare feet coming in direct contact with the fungi or virus that causes them. For this reason, it is essential to wear shower shoes or flip flops when you will be walking in public places like community pools, beach and lake changing areas and restrooms, gyms and nail salons. Also, avoid sharing socks, shoes, towels and any other items that come in contact with another person’s feet.
Fungal and viral skin conditions can spread to other parts of your body and are contagious. If you believe you may have contracted one of these disorders, make an appointment as soon as you notice anything abnormal about the skin on your feet so that our podiatrist, Dr. Paul S. DeMarco, can examine your feet and prescribe the correct treatment. Call us at: (609) 927-4894.