Skin

23 October 2017

SEE: How this woman's foot fungus got out of control

Warning: The video below is of a graphic nature. It's what happens when seemingly small foot problems get out of control.

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Your feet are an important but often neglected part of your anatomy. Consider the seemingly insignificant foot problems people suffer from: ingrown toenails, nail fungus, athlete's foot (tinea pedis), warts etc. 

The danger is, however, that if you leave these conditions untreated, they can end up becoming a serious problem. 

When something less serious goes wrong

Next time you see the onset of nail fungus but don't feel like bothering about it, think twice.

Elizabeth, a 19-year old from England, was so grossed out by her ingrown toenails that she couldn't even look at them. She even showered with socks on to hide them!

When she finally consulted a doctor, ingrown toenails ended up being the least of her problems – she had developed a severe fungus in both toenails, which resulted in their removal.

The results are nasty – watch the video at your own peril!

What's the deal with foot fungus?

There are thousands of species of fungi, but only a few can cause disease or uncomfortable symptoms. Early symptoms of nail fungus may involve the nail lifting off the skin, turning white or yellow, and thickening. If a fungus is left untreated, it can get to the point where the nail becomes so thick, it needs to be removed.

It's not only fungal infections that can take their toll on our feet. Ingrown toenails occur when one or both sides of the toenail grow into the skin. Left untreated, the areas can become badly infected. 

Take care of those feet

While conditions such as toenail fungus, athlete's foot and ingrown toenails are not uncommon, it's important to treat the problem before it becomes serious. Here are some tips on how to take better care of your feet and avoid these unfortunate conditions:

  • Keep the skin on your feet and between the toes clean and dry, especially after using public showers and swimming pools.
  • Put on clean socks every day and give your shoes time to air instead of wearing the same pair day after day.
  • If you exercise, get your workout shoes fitted properly to avoid ingrown toenails and bunions.
  • Don't try and lodge out an ingrown toenail by yourself.
  • Consult a doctor or pharmacist to treat a case of toenail fungus. 

Image credit: iStock

 

Ask the Expert

Skin expert

Dr Suretha Kannenberg holds a degree in Medicine and a Masters in Dermatology from the University of Stellenbosch. She is employed as a consultant dermatologist by Stellenbosch University and Tygerberg Academic Hospital, where she is involved in clinical duties and the training of medical students and dermatology residents. Her areas of interest and research include vitiligo, eczema and acne. She also performs limited private practice work in the Northern suburbs of Cape Town in general and cosmetic dermatology.

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