Athlete’s Foot (Tinea Pedis)

Athlete’s Foot (Tinea Pedis)

 

What is Athlete’s Foot?

Athlete’s Foot describes a fungal skin infection that develops on the bottom of the feet and between the toes. It affects the outer layer of the foot and can get very itchy and frustrating for patients. Many people will experience Athlete’s Foot at some point in their lives, or even manytimes, because it is easily spread through sharing surfaces with those affected. It is medically referred to as tinea pedis which literally translates to ‘ringworm of the foot’ and gets the name ‘Athlete’s Foot’ because of its high prevalence among athletes.

What causes Athlete’s Foot?

A fungus (called trichophyton) is the cause of Athlete’s Foot and is contracted through direct contact with the fungus. When the fungus is paired with warm and damp conditions, it can quickly grow and spread over the bottom of the foot. This is why the athlete’s foot is often contracted from and thrives in showers, changing rooms and closed-in shoes.

Be careful, your toenails are also vulnerable to fungal nail infections. These are often difficult to treat, even in drier and cooler conditions.

What are the symptoms?

If you have contracted Athlete’s Foot, you might experience:

  • Itching
  • Red, scaly patches on the skin
  • Dry appearance
  • Stinging or burning
  • Breakdown of the skin between the toes that may cause cracks or fissures

Treatment

The first step in managing and eliminating Athlete’s Foot is to have a correct diagnosis from your Podiatrist. If you have the aforementioned symptoms and your feet are also particularly odorous, you may have both a fungal and bacterial infection simultaneously. If so, your required treatment will differ from a fungal infection alone.

Once you’re sure it’s fungal, start by doing as much as you can to keep the feet dry, clean, and away from sources of infection. These typically include:

  • Thoroughly drying your feet with a towel after showering or getting wet
  • Using absorbent powders if your feet sweat excessively
  • Disinfecting infected shoes and socks to demote reinfection
  • Wearing absorbent socks that will promote a dry environment
  • Wearing open shoes where possible to let the feet air and dry

To treat the fungus directly, your Podiatrist will recommend the right anti-fungal for you to use. It’s usually in the form of a spray, powder or cream. They will also identify the various factors that are contributing to the persistence of the infection and teach you how to overcome these. This is important because we don’t want just to treat your existing infection but also prevent you from getting infections in the future.

If the infection has spread to your toenails, you’ll also need to treat the nails too. This can often be significantly more difficult than treating the skin alone as the fungus can penetrate the nail bed. For this, your best course of treatment is using the Lunula cold laser. It’s our superior solution to fungal nail infections and is safe, effective and pain-free. It uses to cold laser beams simultaneously to destroy the fungus and boost your immune response.

Throughout your treatment, care must be taken as the infection can make your skin very fragile and susceptible to damage.

Will the infection come back?

Because fungus spreads so easily, care must be taken to avoid re-infection. Re-infection doesn’t have to come from another person, but can occur from continuing to wear your own infected shoes and socks.

As mentioned, we will explain the best ways to minimise your risk of future infections to keep the fungus gone. This can include anything from scrubbing down your showers with appropriate antifungal agents to hot washing all of your socks, bath mats and shoe liners with an antifungal washing detergent.

If you have any questions about fungal infections and how we can help you, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team on 07 4638 3022

 

To read about the experience of one of our team with her partner who had Athlete’s Foot, click here: My Partner Had Athlete’s Foot and It Wouldn't Go Away

To read about foot care for older feet, click here: Getting Older Feet

Two weeks with Calcaneal Spur and finally got to see Doc. He sent me to Kevin @ Eleven and with One Appointment, he had me walking without Crutches. Yes! It still hurt. Did the Stretching, Rolling my Foot on a Spikey ball and Iced it occasionally. Return visit, after he had his Holiday, and I' am walking fine. They do NOT want to see me again, unless it deteriorates. Which it has not :-)
- Ivan CooKe