Warts and fungus: Two great reasons to think twice before going barefoot

It’s almost summertime in Kansas City; that means summer vacations, days spent at area water parks or neighborhood pools, working out at the gym or just enjoying the weather outdoors.  This is also the warm, moist environment that viruses and fungus flourish in.

Unfortunately, going barefoot in gym showers, locker rooms, hotel rooms, airport security lines, at public pools or really any place that other people walk around barefoot can lead to contracting viruses and fungi that cause athletes foot, toenail fungus and plantar warts.  These conditions are not only unsightly, but can also be painful.

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Plantar warts are caused by the HPV virus that enters the body through cracks, cuts or sores in the skin. It results in an abnormal growth of tissue, which is the wart.  It’s important if you have a wart to get it treated so it doesn’t spread to other areas of the foot or body.   Plantar warts can become painful since they are on the bottom of the foot and grow into the skin due to the pressure of walking.

Athlete’s Foot and toenail fungus are both fungal infections occurring on the skin or toenail.  It’s the same fungus, so if you have it in the nail, it can easily spread to the skin and vice versa.  It’s important to see your local podiatrist to get a proper diagnosis and treatment so the fungal infection doesn’t spread.  In the toenail, fungus gets in between the layers of the nail and grows, spreading the layers apart.  This results in a thickened, discolored and sometimes painful nail.  It’s important that you visit your local podiatrist when suspecting nail fungus, as not all thickened, discolored nails have fungus.  Other causes of thickened nails include trauma or repetitive pressure.  So before you have the nails treated, make sure you know what you’re treating.   Sometimes a culture of the nail is necessary in order to know that fungus is present.  The podiatrists at Kansas City Foot and Ankle can help determine whether you have a fungus, and discuss treatment options with you, including laser.

Be sure to plan ahead and protect your feet against these viruses and fungus.  If you do happen to cross paths and notice the signs of Athlete’s Foot such as red, scaly, itchy skin on your feet or yellowed, thick toenails or plantar warts on the soles of your feet call Kansas City Foot and Ankle at 816-943-1111 to discuss the latest, most effective treatments with our foot and ankle specialists.