Prevent & Treat White Spots On Your Nails

White spots or discoloration is a common issue amongst individuals of all age groups and mostly develops around the cuticle of finger nails or toe nails. When we bump our toes on a hard surface, the impact can cause minor damage to the root of the nail, leading to whitish areas that disappear when the nail grows out.

However, in some cases white discoloration or spots under nails is a result of a more serious issue. If the discoloration in your nail does not disappear, increases in size or is associated with changes in the texture of nails (like thickening, yellowing, splitting or separation from nail-bed), you should consult a healthcare professional for an evaluation.

Apart from an obvious nail injury, there are several causes of white spots on toenails listed below that should be evaluated.

  1. Improperly Fitted Footwear: Improper footwear (use of wrong size, either too big to too small) can cause extra stress or strain on the feet, including the toenails, which can cause damage that may lead to development of white spots.
  2. Fungal Nail Infection: Some people are more prone to fungal infections than others. For example, individuals who wear shoes for long periods of time, especially in hot humid environments, are prone to develop fungal infections. Toenail fungus can be picked up in damp areas such as public gyms, shower stalls or swimming pools, and can be passed among family members. Athletes and people who wear tight-fitting shoes or tight hosiery that cause trauma to the toes or keep the feet from drying out are at higher risk. The condition can also spread from one toe to another, or to other parts of the body. Other risk factors include abnormal PH level of the skin, not drying off the feet thoroughly after bathing or exercise, and a compromised immune system in someone who has been exposed to a fungus. Diabetics have an increased risk of contracting a toenail fungus because their immune system is compromised. They should have their nails cut and debrided by a podiatrist.
  3. Nutrient Deficiency: Deficiency of certain nutrients can also be associated with changes in the texture of nails, skin, and hair. White spots on toenails are typically an indication of deficiency of calcium, an essential mineral that is associated with strong bones. In addition, zinc deficiency is also associated with changes in nail and skin.
  4. Allergy: An allergy to cosmetic products like nail enamels, thinners, nail polish removers and nail hardeners can also cause white spots on toenails because of irritation due to allergens. The allergic response may be limited to nails, but can also include skin surrounding nail surfaces.

How Can I Treat White Spots on My Toenails?

There are many wonderful natural remedies that can be tried before seeking medication to treat the white posts on your nails. The results may not happen as quickly when using natural remedies, but they can be effective over time, and much less toxic to the body.

Tea Tree Oil: The most active ingredients of tea tree oil that is responsible for its anti-fungal properties are 1.8-cineole and terpinen-4-ol. In addition to hindering fungal growth, tea tree oil is also helpful in managing the growth of other microbial agents without causing any damage to nails or surrounding skin. You can use 100% tea tree oil applied topically 3 to 4 times a daily after scraping the fungal lesions.

Vinegar Soaks: The acetic acid in vinegar is responsible for its anti- fungal properties. You can prepare a 1:1 solution of vinegar and water, then soak your feet for 30 minutes once daily to help decrease the fungal or microbial growth.

Dietary Approach: An anti-fungal diet can also help reduce fungal growth in the body overall. Eliminating foods containing sugar or sweeteners, white/processed foods, dairy and anything containing yeast/gluten can be effective. There are many versions of the Candida Diet, each with different variations, and they can be very effective in eliminating fungus from the body.

How Do I Prevent Fungus From Spreading?

Because it is difficult to treat or eradicate toenail fungus, it is a good idea to try to prevent it. It helps to wear protective shoes or sandals in public showers, pool areas and gyms, and to avoid borrowing someone else’s shoes or sharing socks or towels with someone who has toenail fungus. An orthotic device can be used to add cushioning and/or control over-pronation, support the longitudinal arch, and reduce stress on the lower leg muscles. Wash your feet regularly, and dry them thoroughly when they get wet. Wearing nail polish on the toes is not advised because it can seal in fungus and allow it to grow. Keep toenails trimmed, and be sure to disinfect any pedicure tools before using them. If you do develop toenail fungus, see your foot doctor.

DISCLAIMER:  The information contained on this site is not provided by medical professionals and is provided for informational purposes only.  The information on this site is not meant to substitute consulting with your podiatrist, doctor or other health care professional. The information available on or through this site is in no way intended to diagnose, influence treatment or cure any foot or other health problems nor is it a substitute for the services or advice of a podiatrist, physician, or health professional.  You should always consult a physician licensed in your state in all matters relating to your health.

Improving Your Foot Health With Your Socks

Fall is here! That means sandal season is quite a way off. It’s important to remember that socks are important foot health accessories. Damp and dark conditions, such as those found in shoes, promote the growth of fungi, bacteria and odor – eew!

You can protect your feet by wearing socks made with copper fibers that have been clinically proven to help eliminate these common problems and improve your skin’s appearance and texture. Copper ions, embedded in the yarn and guaranteed to last for the life of the sock, provide superior protection and eliminate 99.9% of bacteria, fungi and odors commonly found in feet.

In addition to eliminating the bacteria, germs etc in your shoes, it’s important to choose socks that also offer the proper support and help to keep your feet dry and healthy. I don’t know about you, but my feet totally know the difference between cheap socks and good quality socks. I feel like my athletic performance improves when my feet feel their most comfortable. Below are a few key attributes to look for when choosing athletic socks.

  • Added heel to toe cushioning for superior shock absorption
  • Elasticized arch support for added performance
  • Reduces friction to help prevent blistering
  • Technologically advanced Moisture-Guard wicking system
  • Helps controls odor and rejuvenates your skin

If you have Diabetes, it’s very important to be sure that you select socks that will help protect your overall foot health and minimize potential injuries.  Below are a few key attributes to look for when choosing socks for those with Diabetes.

  • Non-binding yarn with Spandex hugs leg without restriction
  • Hand linked smooth toe seam for extra protection
  • Technologically advanced Moisture-Guard wicking system
  • Extra cushioning option for superior comfort & shock absorption
  • Doctor recommended for diabetes

If you suffer from varicose veins, swollen legs, post surgery, or moderate edema, you may benefit from compression socks. Below are a few key attributes to look for when choosing compression socks.

  • Graduated compression from ankle to knee (20-25mmHg)
  • Energizing action for all day comfort
  • Reduces swelling and leg fatigue

It’s just as important to select the proper socks as it is to select the proper footwear. When your feet feel great, you feel great!

Below are some link to where you can find great socks, all of which are embedded with copper ions to create the healthiest environment possible for your feet.

To purchase Men’s Copper socks, click here.

To purchase Women’s Copper socks, click here.

DISCLAIMER:  The information contained on this site is not provided by medical professionals and is provided for informational purposes only.  The information on this site is not meant to substitute consulting with your podiatrist, doctor or other health care professional. The information available on or through this site is in no way intended to diagnose, influence treatment or cure any foot or other health problems nor is it a substitute for the services or advice of a podiatrist, physician, or health professional.  You should always consult a physician licensed in your state in all matters relating to your health.

Tips To Avoid Infections When Getting A Pedicure

Spring aka sandal and pedicure season is almost here. It’s time to head down to your nail salon and get a nice fresh pedicure to prep your feet! Pedicures can make your feet look and feel amazing, but it’s important to remember to take certain precautions when getting a pedicure to avoid infections, fungus etc. Below are a few of my favorite tried and true tips for a healthy pedicure. After getting a horrible infection many years ago, I always make sure to be extra careful!

  1. Don’t let them tamper with your cuticles. Allowing them to clip or aggressively push back your cuticles can let bacteria in and invite infection.
  2. Be sure to have the nail technician cut your nails straight across or with a slight curve. Cutting too far down on the corners can cause ingrown toenails which can lead to infection.
  3. Be sure that all pedicure instruments are sanitized in an auto clave. Don’t be embarrassed to ask them to see their sanitizing machines! Be sure to watch closely, as your instruments should come directly out of the sanitizer when they are used on your feet. Otherwise, there is no way to know for sure that they were properly cleaned.
  4. Bringing your own pedicure instruments is another great way to ensure they are cleaned. I always bring my own file, buffer and pumice stone to be sure I don’t pick up bacteria from someone else. The technicians never mind and it seems to be a common practice.
  5. Don’t shave your legs the day of your pedicure! It can open your pores, cause tiny abrasions and make you more susceptible to bacteria. I always shave the day before I go. The one time I didn’t was the time I got an infection…on my leg! The follicle was irritated from shaving and then the bacteria from the nail salon infected it. It was awful and I certainly learned my lesson.
  6. Going along with the theme of tip #5, be sure not to get a pedicure if you have an open wound, scrape, bug bite or injury in the area that will be soaked. It will leave you susceptible to infection.
  7. Be sure they properly disinfect the soaking tubs after each use. I like to visit a new salon ahead of time and watch what happens when they get new clients. Do they take the instruments directly from the sanitizer AND do they properly sanitize the foot tubs after use? Don’t be afraid to ask them what they use to clean the tubs.

Some of the less desirable conditions that one can contract as a result of a pedicure gone bad include:

  1. Fungal infections: If your nail turns yellow and starts to lift from your nail bed, this is often a sign of a fungal infection. These can be treated topically or orally with medication depending on what your health care professional feels will be most effective.
  2. Plantar warts: A viral infection that may not even show up for months after the pedicure. These are transmitted anywhere your feet get wet in a common public area, including pools, showers and nail salons. These are typically treated topically by your health care provider.
  3. Bacterial Infections: If your nail bed or the skin surrounding your toenails appears red and swollen, you may have a bacterial infection. Your health care provider may need to drain the area depending on the severity of the infection, and sometimes antibiotics are prescribed.

In order to avoid these nasty and inconvenient foot infections and fungi, be sure to take the proper precautions mentioned above.

DISCLAIMER:  The information contained on this site is not provided by medical professionals and is provided for informational purposes only.  The information on this site is not meant to substitute consulting with your podiatrist, doctor or other health care professional. The information available on or through this site is in no way intended to diagnose, influence treatment or cure any foot or other health problems nor is it a substitute for the services or advice of a podiatrist, physician, or health professional.  You should always consult a physician licensed in your state in all matters relating to your health.

Natural Athlete’s Foot Remedies

In cold weather months, many of us are spending time in indoor swimming pools and locker rooms, which are breeding grounds for communal foot diseases. Athlete’s foot is a common condition, especially for those who are frequently walking around barefoot in heavily trafficked areas.

Athlete’s foot is a fungal infection that causes red, dry, flaking skin, sometimes accompanied by pain or itching. The condition usually occurs between the toes or on the soles or sides of the feet. In its acute stage, the infected foot exhibits blisters that itch or “weep”. Athlete’s Foot can spread to the toenails, causing chronic fungal infections. Often when a patient thinks the feet are only dry and cracking, Athlete’s Foot is responsible for the problem.

Fungal infections like Athlete’s Foot are often contracted in showers, gyms, dressing rooms, swimming pool lockers, or other warm, damp areas where fungus can thrive. The name of the condition comes from the fact that athletes spend the most time in these environments and therefore are at a higher risk of fungal infection.

Once fungal spores are present on the feet, they can enter fissures or sores and remain there to spread, unless the feet are carefully washed and thoroughly dried after exposure. Athlete’s Foot can spread from the toes to the toenails. If the patient touches or scratches the infection and then touches other parts of the body, the fungus can spread to fingernails or other parts of the body, including the groin or underarms. Like any foot condition, Athlete’s Foot is of special concern to people with diabetes and compromised immune systems who are more susceptible to developing infections that can lead to serious medical problems.

Vigilant foot hygiene can prevent Athlete’s Foot. Daily washing of the feet with soap and water followed by thorough drying, especially between the toes, is important. Wearing dry, airy shoes and socks, not borrowing footwear from others, avoiding tight hosiery and using foot powder all help to keep the feet dry and infection-free. When using public showers or pool areas it is a good idea to wear protective shoes.

Traditional treatment plans include prescription antifungal medications, either topical or oral, and continued attention to keeping the feet clean and dry. However, there is a natural remedy that can also be just as, if not more, effective.

  • Expose your feet to fresh air and sunlight, wear sandals if possible.
  • Tea tree oil, extracted from the leaves of Melaleuca alternifolia, is highly effective at eliminating athlete’s foot. Apply a light coating to the affected area 2-3 times a day, and continue to apply it for 2 weeks after signs of the infection have disappeared to make sure the fungus is completely eradicated. Be sure to select brands that are 100 percent tea-tree oil.

DISCLAIMER:  The information contained on this site is not provided by medical professionals and is provided for informational purposes only.  The information on this site is not meant to substitute consulting with your podiatrist, doctor or other health care professional. The information available on or through this site is in no way intended to diagnose, influence treatment or cure any foot or other health problems nor is it a substitute for the services or advice of a podiatrist, physician, or health professional.  You should always consult a physician licensed in your state in all matters relating to your health.