Athlete’s Foot has been with us as long as we have been wearing shoes. Once a rare condition, it increased in the 1900s due to increased participation in sport and travel, hence the name, Athletes Foot.
What causes it?
Athletes Foot is caused by tiny fungal spores which live on our skin all of the time. They are harmless but exploit weaknesses in the integrity of the skin, for example where the skin is dry and cracked or broken in between the toes, infecting the skin and causing irritation and soreness in the area. If they get under the nail the nail bed becomes infected and this can lead to a very unpleasant discolouration and thickening of the nails. (See my separate blog about fungal nail infections here)
Like all fungus, the spores that cause Athletes’ Foot love conditions that are warm, dark and moist, so the average shoe provides a perfect breeding ground, especially sweaty trainers!
What can I do to stop it?
- Get your feet out! Fungus hates sunlight and loves warm damp conditions so don’t give it the opportunity to spread.
- Dry carefully between your toes. Tiny reservoirs of moisture between the toes after a bath or shower can cause the skin to break down, increasing the risk of infection.
- Wash your socks at high temperature to kill off any latent fungal spores and cycle your shoes so you are not wearing the same pair on consecutive days.
Basic common-sense foot hygiene is the best defence against Athletes Foot. The best barrier to infection is intact healthy skin so make sure your feet get the same attention as the rest of your body during your pampering routines.
How can we help?
The good news is that Athletes’ Foot is a fairly weak infection and is easy to kill with the right medication. Unfortunately, there are a number of products on the market that either simply do not work or have little effect. At Active Podiatry we can advise on the best treatment plan to get rid of it quickly as well as preventing it from coming back, so give us a call and find out how we can help.