Podiatrist Recommends Daily Antifungal Foot Care

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Daily foot care can prevent and manage recurrent fungal infections of the foot.

The profession of dentistry has helped us to understand that daily oral hygiene has long term benefits. Brushing your teeth and regular check-ups with your dentist can have a significant long term benefit.

Does this proactive approach apply to other parts of our bodies? A Granville, Ohio podiatrist thinks so. Jeffrey Oster, DPM is a board certified podiatrist and is the medical director of Myfootshop.com. Dr. Oster recommends daily foot hygiene to prevent and manage fungal infections of the foot. Dr. Oster said, "We really don't assume in practice that we can cure fungal infections of the foot. Instead, we manage the growth of the fungus trying to keep the acute infections to a minimum." Dr. Oster said the single most significant contributing factor to fungal infections of the foot is the environment in which the foot lives. "The shoe is dark, damp, warm and moist; everything a fungus loves."

How do you know if you have a fungal infection of the foot? Common athlete's foot is well known by its' itch and rash. But surprisingly, the most common form of fungus is a chronic fungus that resembles dry skin. "We see patients everyday that have tried to treat dry skin on the bottom of the foot with limited success. They've tried every skin softener known to man. The reason that they can't clear the problem is that it's not dry skin, it's a chronic fungal infection," Oster said.

Dr. Oster recommends a daily hygiene program for control of fungal infections of the foot. His recommendations include;

  •     Daily rotation of shoes to allow the shoe to dry out. Wear a single pair of shoes no more that 3 days/week.
  •     Frequent changes of the socks - socks wick moisture away from the foot.
  •     Go barefoot whenever possible.
  •     Daily cleansing of the foot with antifungal soap and water.
  •     Daily application of an 'over the counter' antifungal cream.
  •     Periodic spraying of the shoes with an antifungal shoe spray.

Dr. Oster said that when treating fungal infections of the foot, it's important to define the term infection. "Fungus is a plant and behaves differently than bacteria. And that's an important aspect of understanding how we treat fungal infections. As an example, we treat bacterial infections, like strep throat, with penicillin for ten days and the infection will resolve. It's a finite problem. But fungus is not a bacteria. Fungus is a plant and therefore responds differently than treating bacteria." Oster said he uses a silly example with his patients to stress this fact. "I call it the crabgrass analogy. Crabgrass is an invasive nuisance plant that most of us are familiar with. When treating crabgrass, we know that we need to treat it three times a year. Not just this year, but every year. Fungus is also an invasive nuisance plant and requires the same kind of care; an ongoing care plan and daily hygiene." Oster stressed that early discontinuation of care and poor compliance are the reasons why so many people are unsuccessful managing their fungal infections.

More information regarding fungal infections of the foot can be found at Myfootshop.com.

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Thalia Oster
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