Athlete’s foot (tinea pedis) is a very common condition. It is caused by a fungal infection that affects the skin on the feet. It can spread to other parts of the feet or body and can even lead to fungal infections of the nails, so treatment is essential.
Signs and Symptoms of athletes foot
Athlete’s foot is usually mild and often affects the skin in between the toes, causing it to become red, flaky and itchy.
You may notice other symptoms including cracked skin, blisters (which may be oozing or crusting), swelling of the skin, a burning or stinging sensation in your skin, scaling patterns around your sole and on the side of your foot.
If the rash is very severe, your skin may start to crack, which can sometimes expose the raw tissue underneath. This can be particularly painful and increases your risk of developing a secondary bacterial infection.
Prevention of Athlete’s Foot
The following steps can keep your feet clean and hygienic:
Wash your feet daily, particularly between your toes
Do not put on socks, tights or stockings before your feet are completely dry.
Avoid tight-fitting footwear, particularly during the summer.
Wash your towels and bedding frequently.
Avoid walking barefoot in changing rooms.
Where possible, wear flip-flops or plastic sandals in communal changing rooms or shower areas.
Change your socks, stockings or tights regularly.
Alternating footwear can ensure that shoes are dry at all times.
Avoid wearing synthetic footwear, choose cotton socks and leather shoes to let your feet breathe.
Avoid sharing footwear or towels to lower the risk of spreading the infection.
You should be able to get rid of athlete’s foot on your own, but a podiatrist may help you pinpoint the best treatment for your particular type of athlete’s foot. Your podiatrist can also help if the fungal infection has spread to your nails.