Some people are unfortunately more concerned with the way that their shoes look than what’s happening to their feet due to wearing those shoes on a daily basis. Some “fashionforward” shoes, as nice as they may look on the outside, can actually be fungus traps, leaving the feet susceptible to the effects of foot and toenail fungi. Talk to a podiatrist about foot fungus and how your shoes can be creating the ideal environment for fungi to live on your feet.
What Is Foot Fungus?
A fungus is an organism that feeds and thrives on other organic matter. When it’s not controlled, it can lead to infections in parts of the body, like the feet. There are two types of fungal infections that commonly attack the feet:
- Athlete’s Foot
- Toenail Fungus
In both cases, overgrowth of fungus causes redness, itching, burning sensation and peeling of the skin. Toenail fungus also causes the nail to thicken, become yellow and flake. A strong, unattractive odor is also commonly associated with foot fungus infections.
Those FashionForward Shoes...
The problem with many fashionforward shoes is that they’re not designed to help your feet—they’re designed only to look a certain way for style. Some shoes don’t allow any room for your feet to breathe. Foot fungus thrives in warm, moist environments, so shoes that are enclosed or made of very restrictive materials (like plastic or pleather) often foster fungal infections. Fashionable women’s shoes often have pointy toes and very high heels (as high as six inches), causing the toes to push up against the front unnaturally. That pressure, combined with sweat, can also cause toenail fungus to develop.
Making Better Shoe Choices
If you are concerned about or have had past problems with foot fungus, it could be due to the choices you’re making in shoes. Here are a few tips for buying better shoes:
- Whenever possible, wear shoes that have an open toe to allow the toenails to remain dry and cool
- Pick shoes made of breathable fabric (like leather) and soles (ask your doctor about orthotic inserts that best manage moisture)
- Do not share your shoes with other people who may have fungus problems
- Ask your podiatrist about SteriShoe, an ultraviolet light that can kill fungus and bacteria that can form inside of your shoes
Your foot health should always trump your desire to wear fashionable shoes. Consult your podiatrist about better footwear choices that will both look good on your feet and prevent problems with fungal infections.