It’s Fungal Disease Awareness Week: Common Infections of the Foot

No matter how clean you keep your feet, they are constantly in contact with microorganisms that can cause infection. Bacteria and fungus are the most common offenders. Because this is Fungal disease Awareness Week, Dr. Hubert Lee of CarePlus Foot & Ankle Specialists is sharing information regarding the most common foot infections.

Fungal Foot Infections: These are familiar to many of us who may have picked up a toenail or foot infection in a spa or locker room. The foot, particularly between the toes, provides the perfect environment for infection. All it takes for the infection to develop is for the foot to come in contact with a contaminated surface.

Athlete’s Foot: When itchiness, flaking, and a rash develops between the toes, it is most often related to a common condition known as athlete’s foot. The fungus thrives in moist, warm environments such as saunas and gyms and can flourish in sweaty shoes and socks. It is very contagious and can be easily spread through contaminated towels, clothing, or floors.

Toenail Fungus: This fungal infection typically slowly grows underneath the toenail. Its symptoms include a yellowish or white discoloration, and the flaking and thickening of the nail, which separates from the nail bed. It often accompanies athlete’s foot and is more common in people with a weakened immune system.

Bacterial Foot Infections: While somewhat less common than a fungal infection, a bacterial foot infection can sometimes become serious, and develop from a local infection to a systemic one. Most are established through abrasions or breaks in the skin, often as a result of a penetrating wound.

Foot Abscess: Bacterial foot infections sometimes consolidate into a pocket of pus known as an abscess. This is most often caused by a puncture wound or the infection of a hair follicle.

Cellulitis: This is a potentially serious skin condition in which a local bacterial infection spreads from the site of the initial wound. It typically starts as a small area of inflammation that quickly spreads to surrounding tissues.

If you’re dealing with one of these or any other foot issues, contact the office of Dr. Hubert Lee at CarePlus Foot & Ankle Specialists to schedule a consultation. Call our office today at (425) 455-0936 to book your visit or schedule an appointment online.

Is It Athlete’s Foot or Psoriasis?

August is Psoriasis Awareness Month, and the condition is often confused with athlete’s foot. But they are two very different conditions. Today, Dr. Hubert Lee of CarePlus Foot & Ankle Specialists discusses how you can distinguish between the two.

Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease that causes the skin cells to grow more quickly than normal, making them accumulate on the skin instead of flaking off. The extra skin cells change into scales or white-silver thick patches that are often itchy, painful, and dry. The condition is typically genetic.

On the other hand, athlete’s foot develops when fungal cells on the skin begin to grow and multiply too quickly. It commonly develops in body areas that are disposed to moisture, such as between the toes.

Symptoms of Athlete’s Foot and Psoriasis

The two conditions have some symptoms in common, but they also have some important differences.

For instance, patches of psoriasis can be large and cover large areas of your body or small and cover just a few tiny areas of skin. Because it’s an autoimmune disease, it isn’t contagious.

Because athlete’s foot is caused by a fungus, it is contagious. You can contract it by coming into contact with infected surfaces, like shoes, gym floors, and clothing.

Tips For Telling The Difference Between Athlete’s Foot And Psoriasis

These points may help you distinguish between athlete’s foot and psoriasis.

  • Affected body areas: If only your foot is affected, you likely have athlete’s foot.
  • Response to antifungal treatment: If the rash doesn’t disappear, you may be dealing with psoriasis or some other issue.
  • Response to no treatment: Psoriasis may be active for a short time, and then the symptoms may vanish. Athlete’s foot rarely goes away without treatment.
  • Diagnosis with testing: The only way to be sure if your symptoms are caused by psoriasis or athlete’s foot or (or something else), is to have a skin test.

If your condition is diagnosed as athlete’s foot, treatment will likely be quick and easy; but if it is psoriasis, treatment will be more involved. Regardless of which condition you are experiencing, you should be treated by an experienced podiatrist. Contact the office of Dr. Hubert Lee at CarePlus Foot & Ankle Specialists ASAP at (425) 455-0936 to book an appointment or schedule it online.

Are You at Risk for Plantar Warts?

The first step in preventing any toenail or skin condition is understanding how and why it develops. It’s not any different when it comes to preventing a wart, so today Dr. Hubert Lee of CarePlus Foot & Ankle Specialists is sharing information regarding various risk factors for plantar warts.

There are many misconceptions when it comes to how a wart develops. The myth that frogs cause warts likely stems from the fact that certain toads have bumps that look similar to warts found on humans.

So if warts don’t come from frogs or toads, where do they come from?

Simply put, plantar warts are caused by a few different strains of a widespread virus known as HPV. Interestingly enough, not every person responds to those strains in the same manner, meaning that a strain that produces warts in one person might not do the same thing for someone else.

It only takes a minor cut, abrasion, or scrape to provide a way for one of these tiny organisms to enter your body, and when it does, you will begin to notice one of the unsightly growths.

Considering that, a noticeable risk factor for plantar warts is having any type of skin damage that provides entry for the virus. Technically, anyone can get plantar warts, but those who are at higher risk include:

  • Teenagers and children;
  • People who have had plantar warts before;
  • Individuals who have a compromised immune system;
  • Individuals who walk barefoot in places where they are exposed to a wart-causing virus.

The virus – much like bacteria and fungus – is often found in damp, warm environments where it thrives such as gym locker rooms, indoor pool decks, and communal showering areas. The good news is that you can lower your risk factor for developing a plantar wart by wearing clean shower shoes or sandals in these places.

Almost everyone develops a wart at some point, so it’s tricky to completely prevent this from happening. If you already have a plantar wart on your foot, or you get one in the future, the best course of action is to visit us for safe removal. Contact the office of Dr. Hubert Lee at CarePlus Foot & Ankle Specialists today at (425) 455-0936 to book an appointment or schedule it online.