Athlete’s foot

Athlete’s foot is a common fungal infection affecting the feet. It can be treated in a variety of ways with powders, creams and sprays. However, annoyingly, it can keep reoccurring.

Symptoms
  • Itchy patches, usually white in appearance, between the toes
  • Red, sore and flaky patches on the soles of the feet
  • Skin that might crack and bleed
  • Excessive itchiness 

It can also affect the sides of the foot and, if left untreated, can migrate to the toenails.  

Once established, it usually needs some type of treatment using antifungal medication, which can easily be bought over the counter at the pharmacy. However, you may need steroid cream from the doctor if the problem does not subside. 

Common causes
  • Using communal showers or changing rooms where someone else has the infection
  • Touching the infected skin of someone who is infected and then touching your feet
  • Having sweaty feet
  • Damaged skin on feet makes it easier to get infections.
How to minimise the risk
  • Dry your feet well after bathing, especially between your toes 
  • Keep you feet dry and well ventilated
  • Change socks or tights daily, and try to wear natural fibres, for example cotton, bamboo or wool
  • If infected, try not to scratch or touch your feet as this causes the infection to spread
  • Wear flipflops or something to protect your feet when using communal changing rooms to minimise the spread or avoid infection
  • Don’t share towels, socks or shoes with other people
  • Try and alternate footwear every couple of days
  • Don’t wear shoes that make your feet hot and sweaty

Diabetic patients, or people who are seen as high risk should seek advice from their GP, diabetic team or a foot health professional.

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