Footman Podiatry and Gait Analysis Clinics

Putting Your Feet In Safe Hands With The Foot and Lower Limb Specialists

Athlete’s Foot

What is Athlete's Foot?

Athlete's foot, is also known as Tinea Pedis, and is a common fungal infection that affects the skin of the feet, particularly the spaces between the toes and the soles of the feet.

Athlete's foot is very contagious and is caused by various types of fungi known as dermatophytes. These fungi thrive in warm, moist environments, making the feet an ideal breeding ground. Athlete's foot is commonly contracted in places like locker rooms, swimming pools, and communal showers, where people walk barefoot and share contaminated surfaces.

Symptoms

The symptoms of athlete's foot may vary depending on the severity of the infection, but common signs include:

    • Itching, burning, or stinging sensation between the toes or on the soles of the feet.
    • Redness, inflammation, and peeling skin.
    • Blisters or cracked, flaky skin.
    • Foul odour emanating from the infected area.

Causes and Risk Factors

Athlete's foot is caused by fungi that thrive in warm, damp environments. Factors that increase the risk of developing athlete's foot include:

    • Walking barefoot in public areas like locker rooms, swimming pools, and communal showers.
    • Wearing tight-fitting, non-breathable shoes or socks.
    • Excessive sweating of the feet.
    • Having a weakened immune system or compromised circulation.
    • Sharing towels, socks, or shoes with an infected individual.

Prevention

To reduce the risk of contracting athlete's foot, individuals can take the following preventive measures:

    • Keep feet clean and dry, especially between the toes.
    • Wear breathable socks and shoes made of natural materials like cotton or leather.
    • Avoid walking barefoot in public areas, especially in damp environments.
    • Use antifungal powders or sprays on feet and inside shoes.
    • Change socks and shoes regularly, especially after exercising or sweating.
    • Avoid sharing towels, socks, or shoes with others.

Treatment

Mild cases of athlete's foot can often be treated with over-the-counter antifungal medications, such as creams, sprays, or powders. For more severe or persistent infections, a doctor may prescribe stronger antifungal medications or oral medications. It's essential to follow the treatment regime as directed, and continue treatment even after symptoms subside to prevent recurrence.

Complications

Although athlete's foot is generally not serious, untreated or poorly managed infections can lead to complications such as secondary bacterial infections, cellulitis (a bacterial skin infection), or the spread of fungi to other parts of the body.

Conclusion

Athlete's foot is a common fungal infection that can cause discomfort and inconvenience if left untreated. By practicing good foot hygiene, wearing appropriate footwear, and taking preventive measures, individuals can reduce the risk of contracting athlete's foot and maintain healthy feet.

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