Common Fungal Problems
Skin and nail fungus can be unsightly and even painful. Most of the time it is a dermatophyte that causes skin and nail fungus. Dermatophytes prey on keratin. Kerartin is a protein that makes up a large part of our skin and hair. Fungal infections are contagious! You can pick them up from other people, animals, fabrics (such as socks), clothes, or even just walking barefoot. Fungus can be found in the soil and most of the surfaces we walk on, inside and outside.
Types of fungus that can affect the lower extremity and feet:
1. Tinea Corporis or “ringworm”: This is a type of fungus that most people have heard of, but didn’t necessarily know was a fungal infection. The term “ringworm” can be misleading, since no worms are involved at all! Tinea corporis causes a rash that is typically in a ring shape, which is how it got its nickname. This kind of fungus forms on the body’s trunk or extremities.
2. Tinea Pedis or “Athlete’s Foot”: This is the most common form of skin fungus. This fungus likes warm, dark, moist places; which is why sweaty feet in athletic shoes make a great place for it to start. But you don’t have to be an athlete to have Athlete’s Foot. You can pick this fungus up anywhere you walk barefoot. It can range from an itchy rash on the skin or in between the toes to the formation of inflamed, blistered skin.
3. Tinea Versicolor: This type of fungus usually forms of the chest and back, but can occur anywhere on the body. Tinea Versicolor causes small spots or patches on the skin. These spots can be lighter or darker than your normal skin, but are typically lighter. They can appear white, brown, tan or pink. They may become more visible if your skin tans, as they prevent the affected skin from tanning, making them easier to see.
4. Onychomycosis or Nail Fungus: This is the most common disease for the nails. When the nail is affected, it may become thickened, brittle, and detached from the nail bed. Infected toenails may become painful as well.