Athletes Foot

Definition

Athletes foot (also known as Tinea Pedis) is a fungal infection affecting the skin on the feet.

Cause

Fungal infections thrive in warm, dark, and moist environments, so a foot in the shoe gives a perfect growing environment for a fungal infection.


Athletes foot can be spread from person to person so is commonly found in communal areas like swimming pools, showers and changing areas.


Anyone can have athletes foot but the following can increase your risk of getting it:

  • Barefoot in public areas
  • Sharing towels, shoes or socks with infected person
  • Sweaty feet
  • Having wet feet for long periods
  • Some medical conditions e.g Diabetes
  • Wearing the same shoes all the time
  • Wearing tight fitting, closed shoes

Symtoms

  • Itchy, flaky skin
  • Burning sensation in the feet
  • Discoloured, thickened toe nails

Treatment

Prevention:

  • Ensure feet are completely dry after washing
  • Change shoes on a regular basis
  • Wear sandals in public shower areas
  • Change socks daily or when feet get sweaty
  • Allow time to let the feet breathe
  • Use antifungal powders inside your socks and shoes

If you already have athletes foot:

  • Most cases respond well to good hygiene and over the counter antifungal products from the pharmacy
  • If the skin is moist wash feet in cold water and dry thoroughly. Apply spirit based preparation like surgical spirit as it will evaporate moisture. DO NOT apply cream or powder between the toes as this can irritate and make the condition worse
  • If the skin is dry then the area needs to be re-hydrated so use an antifungal cream or spray

When to see a Podiatrist

If your fungal infection has spread to the nails Podiatrists can help reduce the thickness and advise on self care.


If over the counter treatments are not helping after a couple of weeks you may need a prescribed medication to help with treatment. Your Podiatrist or GP can help with this.