Summer means freedom from your socks and shoes, but what happens when your feet don’t look “sandal ready?”
It may be that you have athlete’s foot or toenail fungus. These infections commonly follow the cooler seasons due to the lack of air circulation in socks and boots. Signs of an infection may include cracking of the skin, redness, itching, burning and discoloring of the toenails.
If you think you have a fungal or bacterial infection, make an appointment to see your primary care provider or dermatologist because often these infections don’t go away on their own. It’s important to identify what the cause is, because there are a variety of diseases, including melanoma, that can cause changes in the toenails.
Your doctor can recommend strategies such as over-the-counter antifungal creams, prescription drugs or other remedies. Not seeking treatment may allow the infection to spread to other parts of your body, like the hands and groin.
Practicing good foot hygiene is crucial for the treatment and prevention of any foot or toe infection. This includes keeping your feet clean and dry on a daily basis. Always wear flip-flops or shower shoes in a moist environment, and especially avoid being barefoot in public areas, such as locker rooms, public pools and showers.