Want your honey hangin’ round your hang-10s? Well, then, you’d better dote on those dogs. “Smart foot hygiene is absolutely essential [for HIVers],” says Baylor College of Medicine’s Clay J. Cockerell, MD. Even if you’re knee-deep in T cells, you may still be prone to infections from the harmless but yucky tinea fungus, cause of athlete’s foot—jock or not. To keep athlete’s foot from becoming your Achilles’ heel, try wearing flip-flops in public showers; keeping feet foot-powder dry; wearing clean, dry socks; and rotating your footwear daily. If an over-the-counter antifungal cream doesn’t defoliate the tinea fungus, ask Doc for an oral Rx such as Diflucan. • Now turn to your toenails. Pretty scary, huh? White? Crumbly? Thick? Take the little piggies to an HIV-smart dermatologist to test for onychomycosis, the nail version of athlete’s foot (remedy: an antifungal nail polish like Loprox or Loceryl, or an oral antidote like Lamisil or Sporanox). Soon those toes will be nice enough for nibbling. • Got pain, numbness or tingling in your feet (or hands)? Sounds like neuropathy, a common nerve disease afflicting HIVers—especially those on the “d” drugs (ddI, ddC, d4T)—and putting them at risk of injury by blunting pain perception. Doc may switch your HIV meds, or prescribe painkillers or nerve-soothing Neurontin. Alternatively, B vitamins beef up nerve function; acupuncture or physical therapy may help you stay on point, too.
On Your Feet
May 1, 2003 • By Myatt Murphy