At various times I’ve had a house full of athletes. From basketball to volleyball, gym visits to yoga, my family is active and we all strive to avoid the dreaded world of the couch potato. There are a lot of benefits to being physically active, of course, but there are some dangers that lurk too, some healthy living challenges that seem to be problems mostly for the physically active. What’s interesting is that they tend to all revolve around unhelpful fungi.
Yep. The fungus among us.
Basically, it’s all about our sweat. Dogs regulate their internal temperature by panting, but we humans cool off our overheated bodies by perspiring.
When you’re active, parts of your body heat up, get sweaty and create a favorable environment for a fungus called dermatophytes (der-mat-o-phytes). They’re infectious fungi that live in soil, animals, and humans. Problem is, they really like those hot, wet environments and can produce such unfun health conditions as ringworm, athlete’s foot, and jock itch. Unhealthy fungi, meet HealthierToes…
Some of these are relatively easy to treat once you’re aware of them and have been properly diagnosed, but if that fungus creeps under a toenail, it can be a problem. But ya gotta get it diagnosed: if you have a discolored toenail you might just shrug it off and resolve to wear socks more often. If it is toenail fungus, it only gets worse unless you do something about it. Worst case scenario? It destroys your toenail. (And it’s not pretty). Once you do know that’s the problem, however, it is treatable with a proper treatment plan. HealthierToes.com has a ton of resources for checking out what is going on.
My family’s been lucky, however, and we haven’t really had any health issues with athlete’s foot or jock itch through basketball season, hot yoga, volleyball, or even daily visits to the gym – with showering in the locker room thrown in.
Actually, if you do frequent a gym and shower on-site, you’ll notice the regulars know to wear flip-flops or other footwear to avoid picking up that athlete’s foot fungus!
For sure, there’s nothing wrong, embarrassing or shameful about fungal infections, so it’s good to educate your athletic children on the basic signs of toenail fungus. Encourage them to talk with you if there are any concerns. If you’re the one hitting the gym twice daily to get really pumped, well, props to you! Just wear footwear in the shower area. You’ll thank me when your feet and toes remain pink, healthy, and comfortable.
Now you’re thinking about your feet, aren’t you? That’s okay, slip off those shoes, pull off those cozy socks, and have a close look at your feet and toes. Thinking that you might actually have a potential foot problem? Not to worry!
A good place to start with your self-diagnosis to see if there’s a reason to check in with your primary care physician is HealthierToes.com. Yes, there’s a site just for toe and foot health, and it’s darn useful to know about. If there’s a problem, the site will suggest what to do next, before things get worse.
Keep exercising, practice good personal hygiene, and if you think you might have da fungus, check out HealthierToes to see if it’s time to get some help. Me? I’m off to the gym, with flip-flops in my bag…