The importance of detecting skin infections
At the San Román Clinic we carefully assess any alterations to the nails and the foot as a whole. Skin infections that mainly affect the feet are:
Paronychia: an infection that surrounds the nail and causes inflammation (pain, swelling and redness of the skin and even pus) and destruction of the cuticle. It can be of acute origin, usually bacterial (S. Aureus and Streptococcus), or chronic, caused by fungi (mainly Candida) and sometimes by mixed infections. It is often the result of an ingrown toenail. Treatment is extensive and may include drainage of pus, treatment with antibiotics or antifungals, and other conservative measures, depending on the source. Occasionally, surgical removal (extirpation) of the nail may be necessary.
Onychomycosis: the most frequent infection of all. It consists of an infection of the nail by fungi (mould, dermatophytes or Candida). The appearance of the nail in this case is different, and it causes changes in color, thickening and flaking, as well as fragility.
Dermatophyte infection: Skin fungi can affect any part of the body, and the most common sites are the feet (ringworm of the foot known as athlete’s foot) and nails (ringworm of the nail). Athlete’s foot has maceration, fissures and interdigital (i.e. between the toes) flaking.
Who suffers from them and how do they contract?
Fungal infections are very common and their incidence is increasing due to factors such as old age, diabetes, peripheral vascular disease (poor circulation in the legs) and other diseases that condition a state of immunosuppression, but above all it is due to everyday factors such as exposure to damp and warm environments such as swimming pools, showers and changing rooms in sports and leisure facilities, where these infectious agents usually grow. The route of infection can come from human, animals and soil. Onychomycosis is more common in men and is also related to the use of non-breathable footwear due to the humidity that can be generated.