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Another foot/toe concern that can lay you up, is a bad case of athlete’s foot. On my first deployment to Iraq in 2005, and had not yet learned about the importance of “shower shoes” for preventing exposure to pathogens in shared shower facilities. I got the worst case of athlete’s foot I have EVER had. It started with the normal itch, but rapidly progressed to the point of loose skin and oozing discharge. It became painful to walk, as the affected areas were rubbed raw by any movement.

I managed to pick-up some anti-fungal foot powder at the PX on Camp Liberty, before I departed Baghdad for southern Iraq. Unfortunately, the powder didn’t work, and the AF got worse. I ended up making sick-call at a British aid-station, and happened to get a nurse who worked in a dermatology practice back in Britain. She hooked me up with an OTC cream containing a different anti-fungal medicine. That cream, and a strict regimen of changing socks twice a day, eventually did the trick.

I have since learned that it is not unusual for treatment-resistant strains of yeast (AF is a yeast infection) to arise in shared shower facilities, particularly if everyone is issued the same anti-fungal. I now switch off between foot powders with different anti-fungal ingredients, using a shoe spray with another, and keep an anti-fungal cream with yet another medicine on-hand, if treatment is required. The three most common OTC topical anti-fungals are tolnaftate (original Tinactin), miconazole (original Micatin), and chlortrimazole (original Lotrimin). You can get sprays, creams, and powders with any of them.

It’s the little things that often get us jacked-up.

“For want of a nail the shoe was lost.
For want of a shoe the horse was lost.
For want of a horse the rider was lost.
For want of a rider the message was lost.
For want of a message the battle was lost.
For want of a battle the kingdom was lost.
And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.”