Athlete's foot is caused by Fungi (microscopic organisms that invade the skin). These fungi only become active when they are exposed to the right combination of conditions – a warm humid environment, a change in the condition of the skin, or a lowering of the body's natural resistance.
Normally, the skin acts an effective barrier to these fungi. However, when perspiration accumulates due to hot weather, exercise, obesity, or tight-fitting footwear, a moist environment (perfect for harboring fungi) is created. In addition, moisture can soften the skin to allow fungi to penetrate more easily.
Athletes foot is commonly contracted by walking barefoot on floors where the fungi are present. For example: locker rooms and pool and shower areas of athletic facilities.
Symptoms either singular or combined: Pain, burning, itching, skin dryness, cracking, scaling, blisters, and swelling.
Nail Fungus is an infection of the toenails and fingernails caused by microscopic organisms, similar to those that cause athlete's foot. But unlike athlete's foot which occurs o the skin's surface -nail fungus lives on the nail bed (the soft skin that lies underneath the nail) and the nail plate. The nail provides the fungus with an extremely well-protected place to live.
Organisms that cause nail fungus are all around us. It often starts with a simple injury to the nail - trimming too close, wearing tight or poorly ventilated shoes or dropping something on your toe. All of these things break the nail's protective armor. If left untreated a bacterial infection may eventually occur causing problems.
Laser Surgery is often used to treat this type of foot problem, however new medications, taken by mouth, such as Sporanox or Laimisil have rendered a high success rate with little to no side effects. Milder forms may be treated with topical medications available at the Foot Care Products Center at Foot and Ankle Specialists.