What is Athletes Foot
Have you ever had rashes across your feet or in between your toes? Or maybe small blister-like skin lines across your feet? There’s a good chance you have athletes foot. Athletes foot is a fungal infection known as ‘tinea’ that affects the skin. It can be quite common in warmer environments and can affect anyone – not just athlete’s as the name suggests. There are a number of causes and risk factors for athletes foot, but luckily there is plenty your podiatrist can do to help manage the infection!
What causes Tinea?Tinea is ultimately caused when fungal spores in our environment infect our skin via an opening such as a cut or a wound. Common ways fungus may infect your skin include:
- Excessively sweaty feet
- Not drying your feet after a shower (including between your toes)
- Exposure to public baths, public showers and communal pools (particularly when walking around barefoot)
- Not changing your socks daily
- A weakened immune system
What are the symptoms of Tinea?
- Itching, burning or stinging sensation on the sole of your feet or between your toes.
- Cracked skin, often appearing as small blisters
- Inflammed, rash-like appearance
- Painful feet
- Oozing blisters
- Unpleasant foot odour
- Fungal nail infections
How can we treat Athletes Foot?Treatment for athletes foot will often depend on the severity of the condition. Some cases will be effectively treated by over-the-counter medication, while more serious cases may need a more aggressive treatment from your GP or Podiatrist. Easy at-home treatments for tinea may include:
- Washing and drying your feet daily
- Switching to breathable socks, preferably bamboo
- Wearing open shoes where possible to let air circulate
- Leaving your shoes out to air often and keeping them dry as much as you can.
- Washing your bed sheets with anti-fungal wash, such as Canesten.
- Anti-fungal cream, gel, ointment, powder or spray – available over the counter at chemists
- Anti-fungal tablet medication – available via a GP prescription.
How to Avoid Athletes Foot?The best thing you can do to avoid athletes foot is to maintain good foot hygiene in day-to-day life. These will be very similar to the at-home treatment options for tinea. Examples may include:
- Keeping your feet both dry and clean.
- Drying your feet after showers – especially between your toes
- Wearing thongs whenever you’re in public baths, public showers and public pools