Posts for: June, 2016

By Dr. Donna Barrese
June 27, 2016
Category: treatments
Tags: toenail fungus  

Toenail fungus is a common condition that starts as a yellow or white spot underneath the nail. As it develops, it can cause the nail to thicken, become discolored, dull, misshapen, or crumbly at the edges. Toenail fungus can also cause the nail to detach from the nail bed, and patients with an infection may detect a foul odor from the infection site.


socksFungal infections are usually caused by the dermatophyte fungus, a microscopic organism that thrives in dark, damp environments. Toenails are particularly prone to fungal infections due to regular exposure to the moisture and darkness inside shoes and socks. Also, toes receive less blood flow than hands and fingers, which makes it more difficult for the body’s immune system to ward off an infection in the area.

Older people are more likely to develop toenail fungus since poor blood circulation often occurs with advanced age. People with diabetes, lowered immune function, and other conditions that cause poor circulation are also at higher risk. Additionally, frequent and heavy perspiration and walking barefoot in damp communal areas, like gym showers and swimming pool areas, increase the risk of exposure.

Toenail fungus may or may not cause pain, but the condition can spread, and even if treatment is successful, the patients often experience a return of the infection. A severe fungal infection in the toenail can cause permanent damage to the nail and cause other infections that spread beyond the feet.

If your condition is mild, self-care strategies and over-the-counter anti-fungal medications may help. To help reduce your risk, keep your feet clean and dry and wear moisture-absorbing socks, such as wool or nylon. Wear open-toed shoes whenever possible and discard old shoes that may harbor fungi. Wear flip-flops in any communal showers, locker rooms, and pool areas, and keep your toenails short and dry. If your condition is more severe or causing pain, other treatments are available from the podiatrist, such as nail removal or laser therapy.





The Achilles tendon, running from the heel bone up to the calf muscle, is one of the longest tendons in the body. It gets its name from ancient Greek mythology. The hero Achilles was dipped into the River Styx, which was said to offer the powers of invulnerability, by his mother, and his entire body became invincible. Every part that is, except for his heel, which was held by his mom as she dunked him in the magical water. He grew up to be a legendary warrior, but this small area led to his downfall when he was shot in the ankle with a poisonous arrow during battle.


Achilles Injuries

Like Achilles, athletes and especially runners are prone to injuries in this tendon. Achilles tendon injuries can occur when a person increases the intensity or duration of their training, particularly when it comes to running. Also, adding elevation or sprints to a running routine can increase the probability of Achilles tendinitis.



What can be done to prevent this serious injury? Prevention starts with proper preparation. Simply developing a walking routine for a few minutes before training can help stave off injuries, as this will warm up the calves and ensure blood flow through the legs, which helps prevent calf tightening. A proper warm up is important because tight calves lead to tendon tugging, over-stretching, and even twisting.
Along with a pre-run walk, another way to prevent injury is to keep calves strong. Calves need to be able to withstand the pressure that comes with long, intense runs. To strengthen the calves, doctors recommend toe raises. To perform these exercises, athletes should rise on the balls of their feet and slowly lower their heels back to the ground.


To combat Achilles heel pain, quick and proper action can help the area heal and reduce the chances of an Achilles tendon rupture. At the first feeling of prolonged pain, it is important to wrap the affected area with a compression sleeve to keep swelling down and provide support. Next doctors recommend that sufferers attempt low impact activities while keeping the area iced and elevated. Massage therapy also facilitates blood flow to promote healing.
Should symptoms remain, the injured person should see a podiatrist to customize footwear and an exercise routine to help strengthen calf muscles. Also, if symptoms get worse, or if there is a sharp pain in the lower back, it is likely that the tendon has ruptured. Unfortunately, the only effective Achilles tendon rupture treatment is surgery.
Whether preventing or treating an Achilles injury, regular visits to a podiatrist will help strengthen lower extremities.