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Athletes Foot

Athletes Foot is a common fungal skin infection that affects the feet. It is typically characterised by itchy peeling skin, or a rash of small white, or red spots. Sometimes it can present itself as dry skin with underlying inflammation. It thrives in moist, warm areas of the skin such as between the toes, but can be visible anywhere on the foot, including the toenails. It is also known as Tinea Pedis.

What are the symptoms?

The affected area can vary in appearance throughout. Often the skin, especially between the toes, can become itchy, sometimes with the sensation of burning or stinging. Common symptoms of the skin to look out for include: Dryness, Flakiness, Redness, Cracking or Scaliness, White & Soggy, or Blistered.

Causes:

Athletes Foot is simply caused by Fungi, or dermatophytes which live on our skin naturally, and usually do not cause us any issues. However, when exposed to the right environment (warm, dark and damp), they can multiply and become irritable. Once contracted, the fungus will continue to live in other warm, wet environments such as showers and public swimming pools; making it easy to spread from person to person. It can also be passed on through shared items such as towels and socks.

 

Who’s at risk?

Anyone is at risk of contracting this infection.

If the fungal is left untreated, it can spread across the foot/feet and to others. With damaged or broken skin, a secondary bacterial infection such as cellulitis may develop. It is important to treat the fungal infection as soon as possible.

 

Treatment:

It is always best to seek medical advice and treat this condition as soon as symptoms first appear. The infection is unlikely to reduce or disappear by itself.

Treatment options vary depending on the type and severity of the infection. With correct diagnosis and regular treatment, Athletes Foot should improve and/or disappear within one to eight weeks.

 

 

Here at Highcliffe Foot Clinic the management of Athletes Foot can include:

– Various creams, sprays and powders are available to be purchased directly in store to assist with the healing process and can be applied by your podiatrist if you wish.

– If the fungus has spread to your nails, we usually reduce the length and thickness of them, thereby exposing the infected nailed to a lighter and cooler environment and allowing a better level of absorption of treatment.

– Further advise to prevent the infection from recurring. 

– Referral to GP for oral anti-fungal medication if necessary there are also lots of Self-Help measures you can take prior treatment to prevent the attraction and spread of Athletes Foot. These involve:

– Change your footwear and socks daily. Depending on your lifestyle/job, twice a day may be recommended

– Wash socks on a 60-degree wash, as fungal spores can survive in 30-40 degrees

– Try to select footwear that is made from natural materials or breathable fabrics, i.e., canvas or leather

– Avoid wearing tight-fitting shoes

– Keep your feet clean and thoroughly dry after showering.

– Wear cotton or bamboo socks rather than nylon or other synthetic materials, to promote absorbency. (Also available for purchase in store)

– Avoid sharing towels, socks, and shoes.

– Ideally, when at home, leave your shoes and socks off as much as possible.

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