Athlete’s foot (Tinea Pedis)
What is Athlete’s foot?
Athlete’s foot, also known as tinea pedis, is a common contagious fungal skin infection caused primarily by fungi called dermatophytes. It typically affects the sole of the foot and the skin between the toes. It is easily spread between people and can be contracted from walking barefoot in communal areas such as showers, bathrooms and swimming pools, nail salons or contaminated clothing at the gym. Up to 70% of the population may develop athlete’s foot at some time.
Symptoms of Athlete’s foot include:
- Intense itching of the feet
- Redness and scaling on the soles
- Moist, white, soft and cracked skin between the toes
- Cracked, blistered or peeling areas of skin, especially between the toes
- Peeling/flaking/scaling of the skin on the soles of the feet or between the toes
- In some people, the infection spreads to one or more toenails, causing the nail to appear unusually white, grey, cloudy yellow or thick and brittle.
- Try to keep your feet dry and clean
- Do not share shoes with other people
- Wash your feet thoroughly every day
- Take time to dry your feet, including each toe, thoroughly (especially the webbed area between the toes) after you bathe, shower or swim.
- Wear a clean pair of socks after your bath or shower
- If using public pools or showers, wear thongs or sandals to prevent your bare feet from touching floors which may be contaminated with fungi.
- Wear cotton socks to absorb sweat.
- If possible, don’t wear the same pair of shoes two days in a row. Give shoes a 24-hour break between wearing to air out and dry out.
Typically, several weeks of treatment with a medication applied to the feet as well as footwear and lifestyle changes can usually address athlete’s foot adequately in people with new or short-term symptoms. Long-standing athlete’s foot infections may require significant changes in general foot care, footwear and implementation of a variety of treatment elements. Even after successful treatment, many people remain at risk of re-infection if they do not follow prevention guidelines, and relapses are common.
If this sounds like you, come in for an assessment and a talk with one of our Podiatrists to arrange a treatment / management plan that is tailored to you.
Some of the treatment/management options for athlete’s foot include;
- Accurate diagnosis
- Removing any dead or flaky skin
- Recommending appropriate anti-fungal medication
- Education about foot care to prevent any further re-occurrence of the infection