Athlete's Foot - Tinea Pedis
Athlete’s foot is not as the name suggests for Athletes only. Just because you are not running 1500 metres or doing the triple jump does not mean you are exempt from this itchy affliction. It is caused by a fungus – starting off on the skin between the toes and can be extremely uncomfortable. It can cause a rash with itching, dryness, redness, flaking and sometimes moist white skin between the toes. It can spread to the nails if left untreated causing nail fungus.
All fungal conditions are contagious – fungi release spores into the environment and can grow when they land upon a suitable medium. Fungus thrives in dark damp, humid conditions and the crevices of your shoes and socks are an ideal breeding ground. Therefore it is also important that as well as treating your skin (or nails) you consider your footwear – it can take over 24 hours for footwear to completely dry out. Rotating your footwear, boil washing your socks at 60 degrees or higher, not going barefooted in public areas and not sharing towels, and using a medicated antifungal talc or spray inside your shoes and socks can help destroy the fungal spores and reduce the risk of the fungal infection returning. There are various anti fungal creams or sprays available and often treatment must be continued for one week after the symptoms have disappeared.
To avoid the recurrence of Athlete’s foot it is important that after bathing you thoroughly dry the area between your toes. Do not use any creams or talcum powder between your toes as this can settle inter-digitally and become warm and moist which will allow fungus to grow. Wearing cotton rich socks or socks that contain silver, can help regulate the temperature of your feet and keep them dry and less prone to fungal infections. (Silver is a well-known antimicrobial agent and inhibits bacterial growth). Using surgical spirit on a regular basis between your toe webs can also help keep your toes dry and less prone to athlete's foot and soft corns.