The term “Athlete’s Foot” is highly misleading, as this condition does not just occur in athletes. Athlete’s foot is a common name given to a fungus infection of the skin that commonly occurs in between toes but can also be found on other parts of the foot. This condition can cause a great deal of discomfort and can affect an individual’s quality of life.
Athlete’s foot (Tinea Pedis) is a common fungal infection of the skin on the feet. It can lead to intense itching, burning, cracked, blistered or peeling areas of skin, redness and scaling. It can occur on moist, waterlogged skin usually between the fourth and fifth toes initially, or on dry, flaky skin around the heels or elsewhere on the foot.The soles of the feet can become scaly and raw and could have the presence of small pustules (pus), which becomes very itchy and sore.
Large painful fissures can also develop and the condition can also spread along all five toes and sometimes to the soles of the feet if left untreated.
Athlete’s Foot caused by a number of fungal species which you can pick up from someone else shedding affected skin (typically in communal areas such as pools, showers and changing rooms) or where you may walk around barefoot. Athlete’s foot can also be passed on directly from person to person contact, although people who sweat more, are much more prone to infection. If left untreated, the fungus can spread to the toe nails causing thickening and yellowing of the nail which is much harder to treat- Fungal Nails.
Fungal infections are highly contagious and can spread to anywhere on your skin – including your scalp, hands and even your groin.
Once your feet have been contaminated, the warm, dark and sweaty environment of feet cramped in shoes or trainers provides the ideal breeding ground for the fungus. However, athlete’s foot also occurs in dry, flaky areas. It’s quite common in summer with sandal wearers. The sun makes your skin dry out so it loses its natural protective oils. This combined with the constant trauma from sandals makes them more prone to infection.
The single most important tip for preventing Athlete’s foot is to ensure your feet are completely dry after washing them and before you then put your shoes and socks on.
Change your footwear on a regular basis. It takes 24-48 hours for shoes to dry out properly, so alternate your shoes daily. To help shoes dry out more quickly, take any insoles out. Also, loosen any laces and open your shoes out fully so that air can circulate. Choose trainers with ventilation holes.
If your shoes are so tight that they squeeze your toes together, this encourages moisture to gather between your toes and encourages fungus. Let air circulate between the toes by going for a wider, deeper toebox instead and choose shoes made from natural materials. Of course, you should also be changing your socks daily.
Wear flip-flops in the bathroom and in public showers. This will not only ensure that you don’t leave your dead skin around for others to pick up, but will stop you picking up other species of fungus. Also, never wear anyone else’s shoes, trainers or slippers.
Athlete’s foot should be treated with antifungal creams or sprays as soon as possible, before it spreads elsewhere. If the problem
persists, we will be able to help you to pinpoint the very best treatment, for your particular type of Athlete’s foot and help prevent any