How a Wichita Podiatrist Can Help You Overcome Foot Fungal Infections

Fungal infections develop between the toes, on the soles, and on the toenails. Since our feet are frequently exposed to moisture due to sweating and wet weather conditions, getting a fungal infection is common, but that doesn’t mean you want one. They can be long-lasting and hard to cure. 

Dr. Weaver at Central Kansas Podiatry Associates recommends prevention above all else, but he and the team in our Wichita office also offer treatment solutions when home care doesn’t solve the problem. 

Common Foot Fungal Infections

Foot fungus problems are typically caused by microorganisms that thrive in warm, moist environments like sweaty socks and shoes. They’re highly contagious and spread through direct contact with infected skin or by touching contaminated fabrics and surfaces, such as pool and locker room floors. The most common foot fungal infections include:

  • Athlete's Foot (Tinea Pedis). In the same family as ringworm, this infection occurs all over the foot, particularly between the toes. Most forms cause itching, burning, redness, and skin peeling. There are four types of athlete’s foot: moccasin, toe web, vesicular, and ulcerative. 
  • Toenail Fungus (Onychomycosis). Caused by dermatophyte fungi, a bacterial or yeast infection, or molds, this condition affects the toenails and causes them to become discolored, thickened, and brittle. Toenail fungus can be difficult to treat and may require antifungal medications in severe cases.

Diseases such as diabetes that weaken the immune system can also leave people prone to foot fungal problems.

Some bacterial infections may present similar symptoms to fungal infections but often require a podiatry exam for an accurate diagnosis. They include abscesses, cellulitis, and erythrasma.

What Dr. Weaver Suggests for Home and Professional Fungus Care and Treatment

If you’re diligently checking your feet daily for signs of problems, you can often catch fungal infections early enough to where some off-the-shelf treatments can help. 

  • To eliminate athlete’s foot, some people find success with foot powders, sprays, and ointments featuring clotrimazole or terbinafine. 
  • For toenail fungus, if it’s only one toe infected or the condition seems minor overall, products containing undecylenic acid, clotrimazole, or tea tree oil might help. 

However, different fungi respond better to individualized treatment, so we often advise more specialized professional solutions—including topical or oral prescription medication in more chronic cases.  

Prevention is key to warding off foot fungal infections. Here’s what we recommend: 

  • Wash and dry feet thoroughly, taking extra care to dry between the toes. 
  • Apply lotion to your heels and sides of the feet to prevent cracking.
  • Use powder to keep the feet dry.
  • Never share socks, footwear, or towels.
  • Avoid injuring the toenails and nail beds while clipping.
  • Sanitize nail clippers, nail files, and pedicure instruments, and don’t share them with others.
  • Don’t walk barefoot in public areas such as showers, pools, and locker rooms. Instead, wear plastic flip-flops, slides, or shower shoes.
  • Keep socks and footwear clean and dry—socks can be changed several times daily.
  • Wear moisture-wicking socks. 
  • Choose footwear made of breathable materials that allow air to circulate around the feet—restrictive footwear, stockings, and socks trap moisture and perspiration.
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