Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Common College Foot Problems

You have just dropped off your kid at college. You are looking forward to their next visit home to see the changes that have occured with the next step in their life. However, you are not looking forward to some of the problems they can bring back from college, such as athlete's foot infections, warts or even fungal toenails. With co-ed dorms and large numbers of students living together these problems can be easily spread from person to person. here are some helpful tips to keep your college student healthy.

Wear flip flops in the shower. Warts are caused by a virus and can be easily transmitted in the shower. This virus is spread from person to person through even a small puncture area on the foot.  The virus develops an elevated lesion anywhere on the body. These lesions have small black dots and can be very painful especially if they are squeezed form side to side. Viruses are difficult to eradicate but can be treated. Warts are more difficult to treat on the feet than the hands. Those found on the bottom of the foot are called plantar warts. Over the counter treatment tend not to be effective on the bottom of the foot because of the thickness of the skin and because we walk on the soles of our feet so they get pushed inward.

Don't share shoes. Fungus is found in shoes. The fungus likes the dark moist environment. By sharing shoes you can develop a fungal skin infection, called athlete's foot or tinea pedis. Or the fungus can get underneath the nail causing a fungal toenail, called onychomycosis. The treatment can be difficult because the medication needs to be able to penetrate the nail to kill the fungus within the nail, as well as under the nail. There are some effective topical treatment options, oral medication and laser treatments.

No barefoot walking. College dorms are not always the cleanest. Make sure your child wears shoes to prevent foreign bodies in the bottom of the foot. These can easily get infected, so early treatment is essential.

These are some simple tips to prevent your student from returning with more than just an education.

Dr. "Sandie" Grulke