Saturday, August 24, 2013

Fungus Among Us, I mean really in my own home, Mommy Foot Doctor's Worst Nightmare!!!

As I sit and have breakfast with my three beautiful children I reflect on just a couple weeks ago when my oldest asked me to check her feet.  It was 8:30pm when she decided to ask me to give her an impromptu foot exam.  See Lily's bedtime is 8:00 pm, so when she asked for her gratis foot exam I declined:) The next night went very similar to the night before. "Mom! please check my foot", Lily cried at 8:20 pm.  Of course, my mommy, not foot doctor response was, "GO TO BED".  My kids know I love talking feet, but I felt that my very smart 8 year old was trying to manipulate me.

Several days passed and finally my poor Lily said to me at exactly 7:59pm, "Please just take a peek at my toes mommy." I gave in to her request only to discover that:
1. My daughter had Athlete's foot and 2. I am a TERRIBLE MOTHER:)
Now you may insert the music from any horror movie.  I looked in shock at the peeling red skin between all of her toes and on the bottom of her feet. I quickly threw down her covers over her feet and ran to my 7 year olds room. Ripped the sheets off of her feet while she was resting peacefully in her bed.  You may now insert the sound effect of a horror movie scream that went off in my head! My two sweet baby girls had fungus in between all of their toes and on the bottoms of their feet.  Abby, my 7 year old, woke up and said "Yeah, that's been there forever, can you turn out the light."

I scrambled through my house looking for a topical anti-fungal, but much to my dismay, I had none.  What kind of podiatrist doesn't have anti-fungal in their house, right.  Honestly, that is not something you think about keeping in your house on a regular basis.  Both my Lily and Abby are in gymnastics. They go into the gym every time with out shoes and socks and walk several steps outside of the gym barefoot to get their shoes on before leaving the building at the end of practice.  My kids are not immunocompromised, they are not more susceptible to fungus than the next guy, they are normal kids. 

Why them? This is the questions patients ask me all the time when I tell them they have fungus on their skin or nails.  The reality is when you wear an organ on the outside, i.e. your skin, you are exposing it to everything.  Fungus does not discriminate, it does not care if you are young or old, it is out there just waiting for you(insert scary music once more:))!!!

Fungus can thrive for quite some time without a host, it can hang out on some dry skin that has flaked off of someone with a fungal infection.  You then step on the fungal flakes of skin and bam you gots the fungus! But that's not all, if left untreated, like my poor neglected children ( I blame their father, he's a foot doctor too), it can lead to the much more difficult to treat NAIL FUNGUS.  That night I discovered my childrens fungus, I could not sleep at all, I just kept seeing that "Digger the Dermataphyte" lifting up my poor sweet babies toenails. 

The story has a happy ending, as I was able to get an anti-fungal from the office, Clarus Foot Cream, shameless plug, but great product we sell in our office:) In three days it looked better. But I tell all my patients that you always treat skin fungus at least for a week or two longer than you think you have to.  This gives you time to do all the important things like evaluate your shoe gear, throw out whatever is questionable and treat the rest either with spray or SteriShoe.  See once you personally have fungus, skin or nail, the biggest offender for your reinfection is YOU.  The shoes you put back on that have already been exposed to the fungus, the floor surfaces in your house that may have a nice little fungal spot of dead skin waiting to attack, the repeating of PEDICURES in establishments that do not take your health into consideration, these among others are reasons that you should treat athletes foot for a little longer. (Also shameless plug number 2, in our office we have a Safe Pedicure Experience for those who do not want to get nail fungus while getting a pedicure, check us out at  The Natural Nail Spa). And if you are struggling with a nail fungus, taking Lamisil pills by mouth or having the Laser performed, you must continue with a sound preventive program.  It is true that the Laser and Lamisil may increase the nail clear appearance but we tell ALL of our patients that it is so easy to get reinfected.  The patients success is linked and tied closely to them understanding that preventing nail fungus is a life long journey and anti-fungals become a daily occurrence FORVER, to prevent any reinfection.

The reason I even mention nail infections from fungus is because the fungus that commonly causes athletes foot is the same fungus that often cause a toenail fungus.  So if you have athletes foot and no toenail fungus this is a warning, prevention is the best medicine.  I see people on a daily basis who come into my office with ankle sprains, heel pain and other non skin related conditions, many of these people are in shock to find out that they also have athletes foot. But these lucky people are able to treat their condition so it doesn't progress to something worse.

If you are reading this, I would encourage you to check your feet. Inspect the bottoms of your feet, do you see peeling skin in between your toes? Are the soles of your feet peeling? Do you have weird little cracks on your feet? This may be fungus, don't be like my gross, neglected kids, TREAT IT:)

If you know me then you know I have one other child, she was lucky enough to not get the athletes foot in our fungal laden house:) 
But She has her own issues, see below:)
KEEP YOUR FEET HAPPY AND HEALTHY:)  Thank you for taking the time to read our little blog. As always, if you ever have any foot or ankle problems, Dr. Henne and myself are there for you.  If you would like any more information about foot stuff please visit our webpage at we have tons of information on all different kinds of foot and ankle conditions and information about the PinPointe Laser for Nail Fungus. 
Take Care, 
Dr. McGowan:)

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Do you have a sweet tooth?

In a recent article published in Nature (link here) found that consumption of added sugar in your diet could be harmful to your health. They found in their study that when mice had added sugar that made up 25% of their diet, female mice died two times as fast while the male mice were less likely to reproduce. This of course excludes sugar that are naturally present in foods, but how does this all relate to you?
                According to the American Diabetes Association there are 25.8 million children and adults in the United States have diabetes in 2011 and about 86 million people are estimated are undiagnoised with diabetes or have prediabetes. The results of this study suggest that diabetes may be on the rise and there may be more side effects than previously known. About ¼ of Americans have diets that are made up of 25% added sugar and these people are at the highest risk of acquiring diseases such as diabetes. Other diseases and complications may also be seen such as heart disease and stroke, high blood pressure, blindness, kidney disease, neuropathy, and amputation.

                The most common form of diabetes is type 2 diabetes.  This type of Diabetes is commonly linked to a higher percentage of belly fat around the abdomen.  These individuals are more often than not producing insulin but it is getting trapped in their fat cells. Many of the people with type 2 diabetes are insulin resistant for quite some time before obtaining the diagnosis of diabetes.  Insulin resistance, this term means is that you have high blood glucose levels compared to a normal person as your body is struggling to regulate your blood sugars. The reason why some people are undiagnosed is because there are no clear symptoms and you may or may not know that you have it. There are risk factors associated with diabetes type 2 and being overweight is one of them. The American Diabetes Association lists the risk factors here. What about those that have diabetes, what can you do? From a podiatrist’s perspective there are steps you can do to take care of your feet because one of the areas you first display symptoms are in your feet. The complications in the foot can be devastating and diabetic non-traumatic amputations are globally happening at the rate of 1 every 30 seconds.  Visit our website to learn more about these steps!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Head over heels, what would you do for fashion?

It is inevitable, that parents are the first adults that children look up to as role models. Little girls love to play dress up with mom’s clothes, jewelry and makeup. But as a parent, when would you draw the line? In  2009  photos of Suri Cruise, daughter of Tom Cruise and Kate Holmes,  sparked the “Suri Effect” wearing heels in the tabloids. This trend has now spread across the country to little girls everywhere. This has become a problem for moms and dads during back to school shoe shopping. Would  you let your daughter choose heels? While many parents are undecided, marketing research companies have shown steady increase in sales of fashionable shoes for girls in the last two years. It is now a 4 billion dollar industry.

One of the concerns expressed by some doctors is that it sends the wrong message to girls, promoting sexuality and by being ‘sexy’ you can become popular. From a Podiatrist’s perspective this can pose many foot health problems. Many of the bones in our legs and feet are still forming.  This process called ossification, can take up the age 20 + years. An elevated heel in a child can put abnormal strain on the bones, not to mention the ligaments and tendons that holds the bones together and helps us walk. But wearing heels may cause problems during development and this may lead to health concerns later on in life.

As a  parent of 3 little girls, all under the age of 9, I will invoke my own personal opinion.  We should be teaching our little girls less about how important fashion is and more about being leaders. As women have held over 50% of the college degrees for the last several years according to Sheryl Sandberg the CEO of Facebook.  We should be teaching little girls to Lean In, not tilt up in a pair of shoes! 

If you are concerned about a certain type of shoe for your children or have questions on how to select the right shoe, you can contact us at Center for Ankle and Foot Care.