Friday, 23 November 2018

5 Important Things To Know About Toe Jam

Many of us are often ignorant about cleaning our feet thoroughly, and think that just having water flow over the feet is enough to ensure good feet hygiene. If you too belong to this league, it is time to give it a serious second thought. Improper cleaning of feet together with some common and yet improper activities could often trigger a condition like “toe jam.” Here are five important things you need to know about the condition.

Image Courtesy : Pexels
What is it?

Put simply, toe jam refers to the development of residue and debris between the toes. When left improperly cleaned, areas between the toes can become a breeding ground for debris, which in turn leads to the onset of fungal infections.

Common causes

Some of the common factors that can contribute to toe jam include:

· Dry skin: Conditions like psoriasis, eczema etc can trigger dry skin flakes that can merge with sweat, thus creating gunk between the toes.

· Sock lint: Seemingly harmless sock lint, which refers to the fuzzy bits of particles that rub off between the toes, can lead to toe jam.

·  Foot problems: Corns, which are thickened layers of the skin, can develop between the toes. Often sweat or other sources of moisture come into contact with the corns to make them softened, which can lead to toe jam.

·  Athlete’s foot: Fungal infections like athlete’s foot develop in moist, warm environments like shoes, and can become a source of toe jam.

Factors that could make you more prone to toe jam than others
Although causes of toe jam are almost unavoidable, certain factors like footwear choice, medical conditions, and certain lifestyle factors can make you more vulnerable to developing gunk between your toes. For instance, people who usually sweat excessively, individuals who keep standing for a prolonged time, people who wear shoes with poor ventilation, and those who are overweight, tend to be more vulnerable to developing a toe jam.

Could toe jam lead to or indicate more serious health conditions?

Just as people having psoriasis or eczema are more prone to suffer from toe jam,  it can also be an indicator that you may be suffering from one of these conditions, though you may not yet have been diagnosed with these ailments. Apart from psoriasis and eczema, toe jam may even indicate bacterial infection.

In cases where an infection triggers toe jam, it may quickly lead to a serious medical condition like cellulitis, where the bacterial infection spreads up the leg and could even require the patient to be hospitalized. Usually, people with pre-existing diseases like diabetes, or those with reduced immunity (such as cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy) are found to be more prone to toe jam that quickly turns serious.

Steps to prevent toe jam

You can reduce the risk of developing toe jam by addressing the triggering factors. Additionally, you need to maintain good foot hygiene to prevent the condition, which includes:

·    Using a pumice stone to smoothen calluses and corns.

       ·    Thoroughly washing your feet including the areas between the toes, usually with soap and water, and drying them properly.

       ·    Preventing infection and keeping the areas between the toes dry by sprinkling cornstarch or talcum powder.

       ·    Washing new socks before wearing them to lower the amount of lint coming off them.

While it may not be possible to control the medical conditions or circumstances that enhance the likelihood of developing toe jam, it is always easy to follow the above steps to prevent it. However, if you still suspect that you may be having a fungal infection or toe jam, it is strongly advisable to reach out to a podiatrist to get treated right away.