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ATHLETE'S FOOT

Athlete's foot, also known as tinea pedis, is a fungal infection that affects the skin of the feet. It's a common condition caused by various types of fungi, typically from the group known as dermatophytes. These fungi thrive in warm, moist environments, making the feet an ideal location for their growth.

WHAT IS ATHLETE'S FOOT?

Athlete's Foot is a fungal infection that affects the skin of the feet. It's a common condition caused by various types of fungi, typically from the group known as dermatophytes. These fungi thrive on keratin, a protein found in skin, hair, and nails in warm. The warm, moist environment the feet can provide is an ideal location for their growth. The infection often starts between the toes, particularly the fourth and fifth toes, and can spread to other parts of the foot as well.

The main causes of athlete's foot include:

  1. Fungal Contamination: The most common way to contract athlete's foot is by coming into contact with the fungi responsible for the infection. These fungi are often found in places like public showers, swimming pool areas, locker rooms, and gymnasiums. Walking barefoot in these environments increases the risk of exposure.

  2. Warm and Humid Environments: Fungi responsible for athlete's foot thrive in warm and humid conditions. Wearing closed shoes for extended periods or not allowing your feet to properly dry after washing can create an environment conducive to fungal growth.

  3. Tight or Non-Breathable Footwear: Shoes that don't allow proper ventilation can trap moisture and warmth, creating an ideal environment for fungal growth. This is especially true for shoes made of non-breathable materials like plastic.

  4. Sharing Personal Items: Sharing towels, socks, shoes, or other personal items with someone who has athlete's foot can lead to transmission of the fungal infection.

  5. Weakened Immune System: Individuals with compromised immune systems, such as those with diabetes, HIV, or certain autoimmune conditions, are more susceptible to fungal infections, including athlete's foot.

  6. Genetic Predisposition: Some people might have a genetic predisposition to fungal infections, including athlete's foot. This could be related to the natural pH levels of their skin or other genetic factors.

  7. Not Practicing Good Foot Hygiene: Poor foot hygiene, such as not regularly washing and drying your feet, can increase the risk of fungal infections.

  8. Trauma to the Skin: Small cuts, scrapes, or other skin irritations on the feet can create entry points for the fungal infection.

  9. Hormonal Changes: Hormonal changes, particularly during puberty and pregnancy, can alter the body's susceptibility to fungal infections.

To reduce the risk of contracting athlete's foot, it's important to maintain good foot hygiene, avoid walking barefoot in public areas, wear breathable and moisture-wicking socks, choose footwear that allows ventilation, and promptly address any signs of irritation or infection on the skin.

What are the symptoms of Athlete's Foot?

Athlete's foot can cause symptoms such as:

  1. Itching and burning: The affected area can become intensely itchy and may also experience a burning sensation.

  2. Redness and scaling: The skin between the toes and on the soles of the feet can become red, inflamed, and flaky.

  3. Cracking and peeling: As the infection progresses, the skin might start to crack and peel, leading to discomfort.

  4. Blisters: Fluid-filled blisters may form, and if they break, they can expose raw, sensitive skin.

  5. Foul odor: In some cases, athlete's foot can lead to an unpleasant odor due to the fungal growth and the breakdown of skin cells.

How can you treat Athlete's Foot?

The treatment of athlete's foot typically involves using antifungal medications to eliminate the fungal infection. There are various over-the-counter and prescription options available.

 

Here's a general approach to treating athlete's foot:

  1. Keep Your Feet Clean and Dry: Proper foot hygiene is crucial for managing and preventing athlete's foot. Wash your feet daily with mild soap and water, and make sure to thoroughly dry them, especially between the toes.

  2. Over-the-Counter Antifungal Medications: Many mild cases of athlete's foot can be effectively treated with over-the-counter antifungal creams, ointments, powders, or sprays. Look for active ingredients such as clotrimazole, terbinafine, miconazole, or tolnaftate. Follow the instructions on the product label for application and duration.

  3. Prescription Antifungal Medications: If the infection is severe, doesn't respond to over-the-counter treatments, or covers a larger area, a doctor might prescribe stronger antifungal medications in the form of creams, ointments, or oral medications.

  4. Steroid Creams (Optional): In cases where there is significant inflammation, redness, and itching, a doctor might also prescribe a mild steroid cream to reduce these symptoms while the antifungal treatment works. However, steroids should only be used under medical supervision due to potential side effects.

  5. Oral Antifungal Medications (Rare Cases): In very severe or persistent cases, oral antifungal medications might be prescribed. These are typically reserved for cases that don't respond well to topical treatments.

  6. Follow the Full Course: Regardless of whether you're using over-the-counter or prescription treatments, it's important to continue applying the medication for the full recommended duration, even if your symptoms improve before the infection is completely gone. This helps ensure that the fungi are fully eradicated.

  7. Practice Preventive Measures: To prevent recurrence of athlete's foot, take steps to keep your feet dry and minimise the conditions that encourage fungal growth. This includes wearing breathable shoes, using moisture-wicking socks, avoiding walking barefoot in public areas, and changing shoes and socks regularly.

  8. Maintain Good Foot Hygiene: Regularly wash and dry your feet, and avoid sharing towels, socks, or footwear with others, as this can spread the infection.

  9. Choose Appropriate Footwear: Opt for shoes made from breathable materials that allow air circulation. Rotate your shoes to give them time to dry out between uses.

  10. Keep Skin Dry: After bathing, make sure to thoroughly dry the spaces between your toes, where fungi often thrive.

If your symptoms persist or worsen despite using over-the-counter treatments, or if you have concerns about the infection, it's advisable to consult a healthcare professional, such as a podiatrist, or a dermatologist  for proper diagnosis and treatment recommendations.

THINK YOU MAY HAVE ATHLETE'S FOOT?
GET BOOKED IN FOR A ROUTINE APPOINTMENT

£52.00 - £60.00

 

Routine Podiatry includes all methods of managing your foot health including nail managment, hard skin, callus, corns, dry skin, cracked heels, diabetic foot check, fungal nail and skin infections, blisters and pressure points.

This also includes an assessment of your vascular status.

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