Foot fungus is an infectious disease that spreads from person to person. Foot fungus is the most common type of fungus in adults. It affects both women and men and even children.
Mycoses (fungi) are skin diseases caused by parasitic fungi. It is easily infected through contact with an infected person or through objects and things that the sick person has touched. The fungus is very fond of warm and humid environments, so public places such as saunas, bathhouses, water parks, beaches and swimming pools are considered potentially dangerous. Doctors in the UK dubbed the disease "Hong Kong foot syndrome" because athletes wear closed, breathing shoes that trap moisture.
Fungal diseases are very insidious, and despite the appearance of the disease, they are difficult to cure and tend to recur.
The treatment of fungal diseases is a rather long and complicated process, so it is important to determine as early as possible what the fungus looks like on the legs, why it appears and begins to work. The fungus usually first appears between the toes. Then, if left untreated, the infection can invade the nail plate, causing damage to the nail. If the cause is an infection from the pedicure salon, the disease begins with the nail plate.
Usually, after an infection, the fungus feels it very quickly and you immediately understand that "something" is wrong. But the manifestations of leg fungus can have different characteristics: hidden or obvious. That's why it's worth figuring out how fungus on the legs starts, what it looks like and how to recognize it.
What are the early symptoms of toe fungus?
After contact with the skin, the fungus on the legs goes through an incubation period (3-14 days, depending on the person's immunity), during which time the disease does not manifest itself.
The first symptoms that should make you consider seeing a dermatologist may be:
- The skin on the legs looks red or blotchy, itchy, and burning. This can cause severe discomfort and you'll want to scratch your leg all the time. Symptoms of this foot fungus are found in 99% of cases.
- Thickened or rough skin on the feet. Often this sign of toe fungus goes unnoticed because it looks like a callus or corn.
- Air bubbles with fluid appear in the affected skin area. If the patient combs them, the infection enters them, and then the blisters burst, suppuration and erosions, ulcers, abscesses appear on the skin.
- Cracks appear between the toes. Most often, the failure of foot fungus begins in the space between the fingers (between the first and second or fourth and fifth). Fissures can cause discomfort and even pain.
- If treatment is not started in time, the skin on the legs can become rough and scaly while excessive dryness of the skin on the legs is observed - a sure sign that you have fungus. Subsequently, the affected skin areas (toes, heels, feet) appear softened and covered with a whitish coating.
- smelly feet.
- The skin on the legs looks sickly shiny.
- Edema occurs. This is a sign that you have chronic fungus on your feet.
An interdigital infection begins when the skin between the toes looks excessively pale, soft, and moist, and symptoms such as burning skin and a faint foot odor may occur. Bacterial infections are added to fungal infections if the infection is left untreated. And this, in turn, can lead to unpleasant odors in the feet.
Even with treatment, finger infections can become complicated. Cracks and flaking develop until the skin becomes very dense and thick.
If nothing is done, the infection can spread to the nail plate, causing them to repel and fall off.
A less common fungal infection of the legs. It usually begins with the fact that under the skin of the leg suddenly appears an area filled with fluid contents, resembling a blister. Most often, blisters appear on the top of the foot, but they can also appear between the toes or in the heel area, as well as on the sole of the foot.
This type of disease can develop after a primary infection. Also, secondary infections can affect the same area (skin on the legs) and other parts of the body as the primary infection. Usually, in these cases, the rind begins to be shelled.
This fungus begins with the manifestation of foot pain. Then, over the course of the disease, the skin on the soles of the feet gradually thickens and then begins to crack.
This form of fungal disease usually affects the nails, which then thicken, begin to crumble, or even fall off completely.
Symptoms and type of fungus
The manifestations of toenail fungal symptoms depend on the type and the extent and depth of the fungal infection.
Symptoms of nail fungus include the following:
- Nails look cloudy and lose their luster;
- Nail color changes from yellow to black;
- The surface looks rough and the nail itself begins to crumble;
- pathological thickening of the nail, or, conversely, extreme thinning;
- Painful curvature of the nail plate;
- The cuticle around the diseased nail is either unaffected by the fungus or looks slightly inflamed.
With fungal diseases, it becomes very difficult, sometimes impossible, to trim the nails without prior preparation because they are so thick. Pain may occur if the thickened nail presses against the underlying skin.
Fungal infection is a very complex disease and it is not easy to get rid of it, especially if the disease is running. Therefore, if you notice "something" happening, you should seek immediate medical attention, as only the initial stages of the disease are easier and faster to treat.
Hurry to see a doctor!
If you notice signs of foot fungus on your body, don't expect it to go away on its own. The longer the fungus grows on the feet, the more difficult it is to cure, and the greater the damage to the whole body. Long-term mycosis can lead to weakened immunity, allergic reactions and exacerbation of chronic diseases. That's why contact a dermatologist or mycologist at the first sign of doubt. The doctor performs an examination to determine the extent of the disease, the structure of the affected skin or nail, and makes tissue fragments for analysis. Therefore, the doctor will determine whether there is a fungal infection of the leg, its type and prescribe the appropriate treatment, tablets, syrup or injection (in the most difficult cases).
So if you have very painful soles of your feet, it could be that an old fungus has returned and seek medical help right away. In order to recover yourself from an unpleasant disease and to protect others, it is very important to start treating the fungus right away.
Initial stages of nail fungus
Onychomycosis is a common pathology in which pathogenic microorganisms multiply deep within the nail and adjacent tissues. As a result, the nail plate is gradually deformed. The initial stages of nail fungus can be treated effectively.
According to the recommendations, patients recover within a few months. Further precautions will help keep your nails healthy.
How is the primary stage
Early symptoms of the disease look the same in the arms and legs. First, the nail plate changes color. From pink, it becomes yellowish and dull, sometimes light gray. It is possible to change the structure of the plate - nodules or other bumps appear on it.
In the future, noticeable longitudinal streaks, yellow spots or stains appear on the nails. The plates begin to puff up and thicken, while becoming crispy. The skin next to the nail can also become infected with the fungus, becoming inflamed and red. Most often, spore infections occur on the legs, starting with onychomycosis on the big toe (but there are exceptions).
In the initial stages of the disease, the fungus affects only one side of the deck. There are the following types of lesions:
- distal form - the upper part of the nail is affected;
- Side view - the fungus is on both sides of the plate;
- Surface Damage - damage to the surface of the sheet;
- Proximal Form - The periungual roll is affected.
In the photo you can see what the nail looks like in the early stages of onychomycosis.
how is the treatment
If you suspect onychomycosis, you should seek help from a dermatologist. The doctor examines the nail and, if necessary, scrapes it for the presence of mycelial fungus. After a diagnosis is made, your doctor will tell you how to treat the disease.
Topical treatments aim to eliminate inflammation and restore blood supply to the diseased nail. Preparations can be in the form of varnishes, sprays, emulsions. They are applied to the affected nail plate and applied to the skin around them.
The most famous antifungal agents:
- varnish. They are applied several times a week. Active substances penetrate deep into the nails. They are one of the most powerful antifungal agents;
- cream. Specifically designed to treat the skin and periungual ridges. They are treated with healthy nails to protect them from the penetration of fungi;
- drop. These medicines are applied to diseased nails. 1 - 2 drops;
- The lotion kills the fungus on the top layer of the nail.
The spray is used as a convenient preventive remedy for onychomycosis. They process soles, fingers and shoes.
In addition to topical treatments, doctors also prescribe systemic treatments. The patient is taking antifungal tablets or capsules. They kill infection and help to respond to pathology quickly.
- Laser therapy - the effect of laser beams on microorganisms. In the initial stage of the disease, only three or four surgeries are enough for the patient. This method can not only kill pathogenic fungi, but also improve blood circulation.
- Ozone therapy - ozone is injected into the skin near the affected nail plate. Cells are filled with ozone, which fights infection. Enhance immunity in the body. But this procedure is only effective in the initial stages of the disease.
Both of these methods supplement traditional treatments only at the initial stage. They are prescribed along with pills and topical treatments.
How traditional medicine can help
Healing the fungus at an early stage will help with the advice of a traditional healer. They have the advantage of using natural products without chemical additives.
Primary treatments include:
- Apple cider vinegar - Dilute in equal parts with warm water. Take a shower and soak for 15 minutes. Perform this procedure daily until all symptoms disappear. But apple cider vinegar is only suitable for treating foot fungus.
- In the first stages of onychomycosis, ordinary hydrogen peroxide actively suppresses the fungus. Soak your fingers in water with soda added (one tablespoon per two liters of hot water). Soak cotton pads in peroxide, place them on the affected nail and secure with a Band-Aid. Wear the compress for at least 40 minutes.
- Tea tree oil helps in healing. This antiseptic is used as an add-on medicine for diseases of various degrees. Rub a few drops of the extract onto the affected nail plate without washing off the oil. Start treatment at 2 weeks until complete cure. But this method is not suitable for children and women in interesting positions.
- Soda baths can help fight fungus. Dilute a tablespoon of club soda and a few drops of liquid soap (or grated laundry soap) in two liters of hot water. Dip your hands or feet into the solution. Leave them on for 15-20 minutes. The nails are then treated with medication or antiseptics.
- Regular treatment of the nail plate with iodine can help get rid of onychomycosis. Lubricate your nails daily with an iodine solution. You can make a sanitizing bath - add a bottle of iodine to three liters of water and place your feet or hands in it for 10 minutes.
Nails, fingers, and the skin between fingers should be thoroughly dried after bathing and other home remedies. Then put on your socks.
what are the complications
If this problem is ignored, the fungus will not disappear on its own, and the microorganisms will continue to multiply.
This is fraught with consequences:
- complete deformation of the nail plate;
- the disease becomes chronic;
- The infection can spread to the healthy nail plate;
- The immune system will decline, creating a favorable environment for the development of other viral or bacterial infections.
Treatment of onychomycosis is lengthy and requires financial investment. Preventive measures will help protect yourself from the fungus, although they cannot be called a panacea for the disease.
- Don't wear other people's things or shoes. As a last resort, treat them with antifungal drugs;
- Use only personal hygiene items - towels, scissors, nail files;
- Walk in galoshes only in public places (sauna, bath or swimming pool);
- Do not try on new shoes in the store or market barefoot, wear socks.
Relapses are common. Observed in 6-8% of cases from the recovered population.
Fungal diseases affect people regardless of age and gender. Not everyone knows what fungus looks like in its early stages, nor does it take nail changes seriously. Treatment in the early stages of the disease is easy, and new and healthy nails will grow in place of the affected nails.
Dermatologists prescribe treatment, in addition to topical methods, complex therapy with antifungal drugs. In the initial stage of onychomycosis, in addition to traditional medicines, folk remedies can also be used.