Fungal Skin and Toenail Infections Treatment in Melbourne


 

Fungal skin and toenail infections are a common condition seen in a large population throughout the world. They can passed between individuals and thrive in any warm moist environment. Fungal infections, particularly of the toenails are a growing problem here in Australia and are most effectively treated when caught early.

Here we shall discuss fungal skin and toenail infections in brief.
 

Fungal skin infections

There are a number of different types of fungal skin infections that can occur that affects various parts of the body. The characteristic features of fungal infections are a red rash, dry skin and itching. Below is a table that briefly lists the common types of fungal skin infections –

 

Name of the Condition

 

Site of Involvement

Clinical features

Tinea Pedis/Athletes foot

Foot, between the toes and on the side of the foot.

 

Itchy red rash. Can cause skin flakiness and cracks. Can progress to cause small infected blisters.

 

Ringworm

Occurs on the body or on the groin. Can also occur on the scalp.

Characteristically appears like a ring shaped rash that is red and itchy. Usually acquired by using communal showers cubicles in gyms and in swimming pools.

 

Pityriasis versicolor

This is a condition caused by Malassezia furfur. Commonly seen on the trunk and back.

 

Light colored scaly, flaky appearance which is itchy.

Thrush

Caused by Candida albicans. Commonly seen in genital area in women.

 

Itchy white patches in the genital area.

Intertrigo

Caused by Candida albicans. Seen in skin folds.

Red, itchy skin in the skin folds. Common in patients who are obese.

 

Treatment of Fungal Skin Infections

Podiatrists are fully aware of and can easily identify fungal skin infections. While they may treat Tinea Pedis themselves, they may refer patients on to a skin specialist if required.

Treatment mostly consists of maintaining proper skin hygiene. Application of antifungal creams such as Ketoconazole is usually effective in managing most fungal infections. In some cases however, stronger tablets may be required. Natural alternatives such as tea-tree oil can also be useful in mild cases or as a preventative.

 

Fungal Toenail Infections

Also called Tinea unguium or Onychomycosis, this condition is one that takes a long time to develop and manifest. Classical clinical features include a nail that becomes discoloured and can become thickened and rather brittle. It is commonly seen in the toe nails though it can be seen in the fingernails as well. This is usually passed on in communal bathing areas, hotel bathrooms or from nail salon’s.

Fungal nail infections in the nails rarely cause discomfort, however can be unsightly in many cases.

 

Treatment of Fungal Toe Nail Infections

Unfortunately treatment can be quite difficult. Treatment for fungal nail infections are only fungo-static, rather than fungo-cidal. This means the treatment stops the growth of new fungus, but does not kill what is already there. In many cases anti-fungal tinctures or paints can be helpful. These are available these days over-the-counter. The chances of successful treatment with tinctures are low, and in many cases oral tablets may need to be prescribed. The podiatrist may also provide advice about the type of footwear to be worn and how to look after nails. As with fungal skin infections tea-tree oil can also be used as a natural alternative.

 

Conclusion

Fungal skin and nail infections are common. They can be seen in a number of different places of the body and can be itchy and occasionally painful. Podiatrists can effectively treat most cases of fungal infections and can refer patients to the right specialist if further input is needed.

 

 

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Dr Leah WatersWritten by Leah Waters

Leah Waters is a Melbourne Podiatrist and founder of Pivotal Podiatry Clinic. A Melbourne based Podiatry Clinic.

You can find Leah on
Google+ and Facebook. Make an appointment call (03) 9939 3339.