Toenail fungus is a common problem that can be rather challenging to get rid of. While toenail fungus can happen to anyone it most often occurs in older adults. If you are noticing that one of your toenails has thickened, become brittle and turned yellow then chances are good that you are dealing with a toenail fungus.
What causes a fungal infection in the toenail?
A toenail fungal infection, known as onychomycosis, is the result of a fungal known as a dermatophyte. While less common, molds and yeasts can also infect the toenails. The reason older adults are more prone to fungal nail infections is because nails dry out as we age, which leads to cracks within the nail. These cracks make it easier for a fungal infection to get inside the nail.
Fungal is all around us. They are more often found in warm, dark, and damp places such as communal locker rooms and showers, gyms, and local swimming pools. It’s also possible to get a toenail fungus from a nail salon so it’s important to know the hygiene and sterilization practices of your local nail salon to make sure that you aren’t at risk for developing a fungal infection.
Treating Toenail Fungus
The good news it that healthy individuals may be able to tackle their toenail fungus on their own with over-the-counter medication. If you don’t have a weak immune system, diabetes or circulation problems then you may choose to try at-home treatments first before turning to a doctor. Those with circulation disorders or diabetes should see their podiatrist right away for treatment if they notice symptoms of a fungal infection. Not seeking treatment could greatly increase a person’s risk for bacterial infections and other potentially serious complications.
There are many over-the-counter products available to treat fungal infections. You will want to find a treatment that is geared specifically to treating fungal infections of the nail. Talk with your local pharmacist to find out the best treatment option. Over-the-counter antifungal medications often come in the form of a cream, ointment or nail polish that you will need to apply regularly for several weeks. If these medications don’t work then it’s time to talk with your foot doctor.
A foot doctor offers a variety of effective strategies for getting rid of toenail fungal infections. The most common treatment option is an oral antifungal medication that works systemically to kill the fungus. This medication is taken for several weeks but you won’t actually see results until the nail grows out clear, which can take up to four months or longer.
Other treatment options include:
- Medicated nail polish
- Laser fungal treatment
- Nail removal surgery (in rare cases)
If you are dealing with a pesky nail fungus then turn to your podiatrist to discover the best strategies for getting rid of this infection as quickly as possible.
A child's feet grow rapidly during the first year, reaching almost half of their adult foot size. This is why podiatrists consider the first year to be the most important in the development of the feet. Proper care at a young age is essential for healthy development. Since many adult foot ailments develop in childhood, periodic visits to your child’s podiatrist and basic foot care can help minimize these problems later in life.
A child’s feet are formed from soft, pliable cartilage which makes them more susceptible to deformities. A young child can be affected by foot conditions such as:
- Flat feet
- Heel pain
Tips for Parents
Parents can help promote normal, healthy foot development for their baby.
- Examine your baby’s feet regularly. If you detect anything unusual, contact your child’s pediatrician or podiatrist right away.
- Encourage exercise. Lying uncovered allows the baby to kick and move feet and toes freely so not to inhibit normal development.
- Cover feet loosely. Tight clothing or covers restrict movement.
- Alternate your baby’s position several times a day. Lying too long in one spot may place unnecessary strain on the feet and legs.
As your baby continues to grow and develop, so will the feet. It may be necessary to change shoe and sock size every few months, as tight-fitting footwear can aggravate pre-existing conditions. After your child takes their first steps, you should also carefully observe walking patterns. Intoeing, out-toeing, and gait abnormalities can be corrected when they are detected early.
A baby’s feet will carry them throughout life, so it’s important to begin good foot care at a young age. Neglecting your child’s foot health invites problems in other parts of the body, such as the back and legs. Whether you have questions about your child’s foot health or suspect a problem with the development of your child’s feet, please contact our office. We want every step your child makes toward adulthood to be pain-free and easy!
Older adults across the country are developing plans to age in place and to reach lifelong health. The AARP estimates that over 90% of the population over age 65 are striving to remain in their homes as long as they possibly can and live independent lifestyles.
According to Joseph Coughlin, Ph.D. at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Age Lab, older adults are making an investment in home improvements for longevity.* The top trends for aging in place include access and lighting improvements throughout the home, moving bedrooms to the main floor with more accessible closets and beds, creating kitchens that are more accessible for wheelchair use, and partnering with providers who offer home assistance services.*
Older adults are also preparing for the next stage in life to live life to the fullest.
Many are transforming good intentions into new lifestyle habits to age well. According to Kay Van Norman, President of Brilliant Aging, older adults are spending more time deciding where they want to live, what they want to do, and what they need to do to make that happen. They are making plans to create a strong foundation for lifelong health.*
Marc Middleton, author of Growing Bolder and creator of the Growing Bolder Ambassador Movement, is rebranding aging with energy and enthusiasm for life. Middleton aspires to the belief that you don’t have to dread aging. He believes that this new life stage can become an exciting journey!
According to Dr. John Sigle, founder of the Foot & Ankle Center of Illinois, “many of our older adults are undergoing a major transformation in their lives. They are changing their lifestyle and fine tuning their bodies to prepare for the next stage. Many of them seek help to resolve long-standing foot problems to resolve pain and improve mobility.”
According to the American College for Foot and Ankle Surgeons, there is a common misconception that growing older means having to cope with sore feet; however, foot pain is not the consequence of aging. Although many older adults have foot pain, aging alone is not responsible. Foot pain is not a normal part of aging.
According to Dr. Grant Gonzalez, Associate podiatrist at the Foot & Ankle Center of Illinois, “most common foot and ankle problems can be treated successfully with the right diagnosis, conservative treatments, and proper rehabilitation. Some conditions require more advanced diagnosis and surgical corrections. We use advanced 3D CT Imaging to diagnose and preplan surgeries for bunions, hammertoes, stress fractures, and Flatt-foot corrections.”
According to Dr. Sigle, some of the more serious foot and ankle problems associated with aging include joint deterioration that often lead to painful Arthritis. “Arthritis in the big toe (Hallux Rigidus) is a common problem that causes improper biomechanics and structural abnormalities of the foot. The ankle is also prone to Arthritis if there is a history of trauma or sprains. Often, these conditions lead to end-stage Arthritis requiring advanced surgery.”
According to Dr. Gonzalez, “We encourage older adults to take proactive steps to live an independent lifestyle. We will partner with you to reach your goals and transition to the next stage of life!”
If you are seeking advanced foot and ankle surgeons call the Foot & Ankle Center of Illinois at (217) 787-2700 to schedule an appointment. Clinics are located in Springfield, Decatur, Taylorville, Carlinville, Shelbyville, and Sullivan. Visit the medical library at myfootandanklecenter.com to obtain information on foot and ankle treatments.
*Growing Bolder/Spring 19
With the ability to cause nagging discomfort throughout the day and prohibit daily movements as simple as walking, bunions can quickly turn from a barely noticeable bump on your toe, to a painful deformity that detracts from your over wellbeing. Fortunately, if caught early, you can prevent this podiatric issue from developing into a serious problem. Read on to learn if you could be suffering from this condition, and whether you should take a visit to your local podiatrist.
Signs That You May Have a Bunion
Generally forming on the side of your big toe, bunions are hard, bony lumps that are often caused by wearing poorly-fitted shoes (especially high heels), having genetic predispositions, or experiencing a foot injury. If you think that you may have a bunion, be on the lookout for these symptoms:
- A bony protrusion at the base of your toe
- A generally red discoloration
- A feeling of tightness in previously comfortable shoes
The above-listed symptoms describe the beginning stages of a bunion, a point during which your podiatrist will likely recommend a conservative approach to treatment. However, you may require more extensive medical care if you begin to notice these signs:
- Persistent pain and swelling
- Periodic numbness of the foot
- Restricted and slowed movement of the toe/foot
For less serious bunion cases, ones in which there isn’t pain yet and movement is still unrestricted, your podiatrist may recommend:
- Soaking your foot in warm water
- Taking anti-inflammatory medications such as Aspirin
- Wearing appropriate shoe inserts
- Avoiding tight-fitting footwear
In severe bunion cases, your podiatrist will likely recommend a more rigorous treatment approach in order to alleviate pain and increase mobility. Some of these options include:
- Custom-made orthotics to maintain toe alignment
- Regular physical therapy and a specialized exercise regiment
- Bunionectomy, a surgery to remove the bunion and realign the foot (this is only necessary in the most extreme of cases)
Concerned? Contact Us
If you feel that bunions are disrupting your life, then take the pro-active approach and schedule an appointment at our office to learn how to regain your health.
Make sure you are doing everything to protect yourself both on and off the field.
Injury prevention is the name of the game when it comes to the longevity of an athlete’s performance. We all know how important it is for every athlete to keep themselves healthy and strong. Foot and ankle injuries are some of the most common sports-related injuries. Our podiatrists Dr. John Sigle and Dr. Grant Gonzalez at Foot and Ankle Center of Illinois, with offices in Springfield, Decatur, Carlinville, Shelbyville, Taylorville and Sullivan, IL want athletes to know how to safeguard against these problems.
Always Warm Up First
While some cars may be able to go from zero to 60 in a few seconds, our bodies weren’t meant for that kind of sudden intensity. You need to give your body time to warm up and prepare for activity. Jumping right into your training could lead to injury.
Before training or a game, make sure that you give yourself ample times to warm-up (about 15 minutes). Get the blood flowing to all areas of your body with simple activities such as light jogging, riding a stationary bike and dynamic stretches.
Wear the Appropriate Shoes
You also need to be wearing the right shoes for your activity. Not all athletic footwear works the same and the type of shoes you need will depend on your sport or even the intensity of your training (low-impact versus high-impact workouts). The ideal shoe will cushion and support the foot, particularly the heels and arches.
You also need to replace shoes once they are worn out to reduce your risk for fractures, sprains and strained muscles. Custom orthotics, or shoe inserts can also provide additional support and stabilization for active feet. Ask our foot doctors if orthotics are right for you.
Gradually Build Up Your Workout
Again, just as you wouldn’t immediately jump right into an activity without first warming up you also shouldn’t suddenly increase the intensity or severity of your activity. You need to give your body time to adjust and strengthen the appropriate muscles, ligaments and tendons for the job first. Putting a lot of unnecessary stress on these unconditioned soft tissues can leave you prone to some serious injuries including fractures.
If you are faced with an injury it’s important that you turn to a doctor who understands the unique needs of athletes and their bodies. You’ll find the care you need at Foot & Ankle Center of Illinois with offices in Springfield, Decatur, Carlinville, Shelbyville, Taylorville and Sullivan, IL. Call us today to schedule an appointment.
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