Drug based treatment of superficial fungal infections, such as onychomycosis, is not the only defense. Sanitization of footwear such as shoes, socks/stockings, and other textiles is integral to the prevention of recurrence, and reduction of spread for superficial fungal mycoses. The goal of this review was to examine the available methods of sanitization for footwear and textiles against superficial fungal infections. A systematic literature search of various sanitization devices and methods that could be applied to footwear and textiles using PubMed, Scopus, and MEDLINE was performed. Fifty-four studies were found relevant to the different methodologies, devices, and techniques of sanitization as it pertains to superficial fungal infections of the feet. These included topics of basic sanitization, antifungal and antimicrobial materials, sanitization chemicals and powder, laundering, ultraviolet, ozone, non-thermal plasma, microwave radiation, essential oils, and natural plant extracts. In management of onychomycosis it is necessary to think beyond treatment of the nail, as infections enter through the skin. Those prone to onychomycosis should examine their environment, including surfaces, shoes, and socks, and ensure that proper sanitization is implemented.
Because of the ubiquitous nature of dermatophytes and a lack of an adaptive immune response in the nail plate, recurrence and relapse rates associated with superficial fungal infections are high (10%–53%). Cured or improved dermatophytosis patients could become reinfected if exposed to fungal reservoirs, such as an infected shoe, sock, or textile. To prevent this, footwear, sock, and textile sanitization methods can be used. To provide insight into effective sanitization options, the focus of this article is to review footwear, sock, and textile sanitization studies conducted throughout history (1920–2016). Thirty-three studies are covered in this review, encompassing techniques ranging from formaldehyde fumigation and foot powder application, to more modern approaches such as UV light and silver-light irradiation technologies. Older sanitization methods (eg, boiling, use of chlorine and salts) are quite limited in their practicality, as they can result in health complications and ruin shoe integrity. Newer approaches to shoe and sock sanitization, such as ozone application and UV irradiation, have shown very promising results. Further research is still needed with these modern techniques, as knowledge gaps and cost prevent the creation of standardized parameters for successful use. By combining sanitization methods with other preventative measures, protection against reinfection may be enhanced.
Onychomycosis and tinea pedis (athlete’s foot) are infections of the nails and skin caused by pathogenic fungi collectively known as dermatophytes. These infections are difficult to treat, and patients often relapse; it is thought that a patient’s footwear becomes infected with these fungal organisms and, thus, is an important reservoir for reinfection. Therefore, it is important to find an effective means for killing the dermatophytes that may have colonized the inner surface of the shoes of patients with superficial fungal infections. In this study, we developed an in vitro model for culturing dermatophytes in footwear and used this model to evaluate the effectiveness of a commercial ultraviolet shoe sanitizer in eradicating the fungal elements residing in shoes.
Leather and athletic shoes (24 pairs) were inoculated with either Trichophyton rubrum or Trichophyton mentagrophytes (107 colony-forming units/mL) strains and were placed at 35°C for 4 to 5 days. Next, we compared the ability of swabbing versus scraping to collect microorganisms from infected shoes. Following the optimized method, shoes were infected and were irradiated with one to three cycles of radiation. The inner surfaces of the shoes were swabbed or scraped, and the specimens were cultured for dermatophyte colony-forming units.
Leather and canvas shoes were infected to the same extent. Moreover, scraping with a scalpel was overall more effective than was swabbing with a cotton-tipped applicator in recovering viable fungal elements. Irradiation of shoes with one, two, or three cycles resulted in reduction of fungal colonization to the same extent.
The developed infected shoe model is useful for assessing the effectiveness of ultraviolet shoe sanitizers. Also, ultraviolet treatment of shoes with a commercial ultraviolet C sanitizing device was effective in reducing the fungal burden in shoes. These findings have implications regarding breaking foot infection cycles. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 102(4): 309–313, 2012)
This study evaluated the efficacy of a novel surfactant, allantoin, and benzalkonium chloride hand sanitizer using the US Food and Drug Administration’s method for testing antiseptic hand washes that podiatric physicians and other health-care personnel use. The alcohol-free product, HandClens, was compared with an alcohol-based product, Purell. Independent researchers from the California College of Podiatric Medicine conducted the study using 40 volunteer students from the class of 2001. The results show that HandClens outperformed Purell and met the regulatory requirements for a hand sanitizer. Purell failed as an antimicrobial hand wash and was less effective than a control soap used in the study. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 91(6): 288-293, 2001)
Fish pedicure is considered to be an aesthetic treatment, first conceived in Turkey, in Kangal Hot Springs. These hot waters are rich in two species of fish of the Cyprinidae family that feed on the stratum corneum layer of patients with psoriasis. This treatment was later adapted to many spa resorts for “fish pedicure.” In this article, we performed a review of the skin infections already reported, explaining why this procedure, performed usually during summer holidays by tourists, is not risk free and should be discouraged by health workers.
We developed a prototype of a novel thermochromic liquid crystal (TLC)–coated fabric with an extended temperature range and enhanced sensitivity. By incorporating color and pattern recognition into the fabric, rapid determination of the underlying pedal temperature is facilitated. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the accuracy of the TLC fabric as a potential diagnostic aid for identifying complications in the high-risk foot.
The hands of 100 individuals were used to compare the mean maximum temperatures indicated by the fabric versus standard thermal camera images. Findings were statistically analyzed using a paired t test, with significance defined as P < .05.
Except for the tip of the thumb and regions in the palm, there were no statistically significant differences between mean maximum temperatures measured with the thermal camera and those detected with the TLC fabric. Minor differences were relatively consistent in all nine regions of the hand and were not considered to be clinically significant.
Using direct visual analysis, we demonstrated that a novel TLC fabric could accurately map temperatures in the palmar surface of the hand. The findings support the continued development of a temperature-sensitive sock that can be used in the home to monitor for temperature changes that may indicate the onset of complications in the high-risk foot.
Matthew E. Wise, Elizabeth Bancroft, Ernest J. Clement, Susan Hathaway, Patricia High, Moon Kim, Emily Lutterloh, Joseph F. Perz, Lynne M. Sehulster, Clara Tyson, Mary Beth White-Comstock, and Barbara Montana
Unsafe practices are an underestimated contributor to the disease burden of bloodborne viruses. Outbreaks associated with failures in basic infection prevention have been identified in nonhospital settings with increased frequency in the United States during the past 15 years, representing an alarming trend and indicating that the challenge of providing consistently safe care is not always met. As has been the case with most medical specialties, public health investigations by state and local health departments, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, have identified some instances of unsafe practices that have placed podiatric medical patients at risk for viral, bacterial, and fungal infections. All health-care providers, including podiatric physicians, must make infection prevention a priority in any setting in which care is delivered.
Many treatment options for plantar fasciitis currently exist, some with great success in pain relief. The objective of our study was to compare the use of intralesional steroids with platelet-rich plasma (PRP), using pain scales and functional evaluation, in patients with plantar fasciitis who did not respond to conservative treatment.
A controlled, randomized, blinded clinical assay was performed. Patients were assigned to one of the two groups by selecting a sealed envelope. The steroid treatment group received 8 mg of dexamethasone plus 2 mL of lidocaine as a local anesthetic. The PRP treatment group received 3 mL of PRP activated with 0.45 mL of 10% calcium gluconate. All of the patients were evaluated at the beginning of the study, and at 2, 4, 8, 12, and 16 weeks post-treatment with the Visual Analog Scale (VAS), Foot and Ankle Disability Index (FADI), and American Orthopedic Foot and Ankle Society (AOFAS) scale.
The right foot was the most frequently affected foot (63%). The average age of the patients was 44.8 years (range, 24–61 years). All scales used (VAS, FADI and AOFAS) showed that the difference was not statistically significant between the two groups.
We can conclude that the use of PRP is an effective treatment method for patients with plantar fasciitis who do not respond to conservative treatment because PRP demonstrates an efficacy equal to that of steroids. However, the cost and the time for preparation the PRP are two of the disadvantages of this treatment.
Maintaining balance is a complex phenomenon that is influenced by a range of sensorimotor factors. Foot posture and mobility may also influence balance and postural sway. Recently, three-dimensional foot scanners have been used to assess foot posture. This tool allows many individuals to be scanned quickly and easily and helps eliminate patients' radiation exposure. The objective of this study was to determine whether static foot posture and mobility are independently associated with postural sway in a large community sample of older women using objective measures of balance status and the recently launched technology of three-dimensional foot scanning.
This cross-sectional study included 140 community-dwelling elderly women (mean ± SD age, 73.9 ± 5.1 years) recruited in Kasama City, Japan. The postural sway variables were total path length and area and were measured by force plate. We measured static foot posture, sitting and standing navicular height, and mobility using a three-dimensional foot scanner. Foot mobility was determined as the amount of vertical navicular excursion between the positions of the subtalar joint, from neutral in sitting position to relaxed bilateral standing.
After adjusting for potential cofounders, analysis of covariance revealed that sitting navicular height was associated with total path length (P = .038) and area (P = .031). Foot mobility was associated with total path length (P = .018).
These findings suggest that sitting navicular height and foot mobility are associated with postural sway in elderly women and might be an important factor in defining balance control in older adults.
Studies have shown that lower-extremity problems in the homeless population have significant public health and economic implications. A combined community service and research project was performed to identify and address the foot and ankle care needs in a sample homeless population in San Francisco, California.
A 37-question survey regarding general demographic characteristics, foot hygiene practices, associated risk factors, and self-reported lower-extremity pathologic conditions was completed by 299 homeless individuals who met the inclusion criteria. The service project included education on proper foot care and the distribution of footwear.
The participants demonstrated mostly good efforts regarding foot hygiene but had high-risk factors, including smoking, alcohol use, and extended hours on their feet. More than half of the homeless individuals surveyed experienced foot pain. Approximately one in five had edema and neuropathic symptoms. The most commonly reported foot problems were dermatologic, but these conditions could pose serious sequelae in the setting of risk factors. The community service project was well received by the homeless community.
This study demonstrates lack of resources and high-risk factors for lower-extremity complications in the homeless individuals studied. It is important in the realm of public health to keep lower-extremity health in mind because it plays an important role in preventing the spread of infection and lowering the social economic burden.