Athlete’s foot is a common fungal infection of the foot. It causes an itchy rash to develop between your toes. As well as being itchy, the affected skin may also be red, scaly, flaky and dry. The infection can spread to the sole and side of your foot, producing redness and scaling in these areas. If untreated, the infection can spread to your toenails causing them to become thickened, discoloured, dry and crumbly.
Everyone has bacteria and fungi on their skin. Most of the time they're harmless and don't cause problems. Athlete's foot is caused when a group of fungi called dermatophytes multiply causing infection. Your feet provide a warm, dark and humid environment – ideal conditions for the fungi to live and multiply.
It can be passed easily from person to person through contaminated towels, clothing and surfaces. eg. showers, swimming pools, towels.
Antifungal creams and powders are available over the counter and are effective in treating most cases of athlete's foot - Ask your totalhealth Team Member for advice on which one would suit you. It is important to treat the rash as well as 4-6cm of healthy-looking skin around it, as sometimes skin can be infected with the fungus without showing any symptoms. Your rash may clear up quickly, but you may need to continue using the medication for one to two weeks after your symptoms have disappeared to ensure the infection has been successfully treated.
In severe cases, or where topical treatment has not worked, your doctor my recommend a tablet to treat the infection.
totalhealth Pharmacists Advice:
Wash your feet regularly and thoroughly using soap and water.
After washing, dry your feet fully, paying particular attention to the areas between your toes.
Reduce foot perspiration by using talcum powder on your feet.
Wear clean cotton socks.
Change your shoes and socks regularly to help keep your feet dry.
Wear shoes that are well-ventilated and made of natural material such as leather. It may help to alternate shoes each day, so they can completely dry between wearings. Do not wear plastic-lined shoes.
Don't share towels and wash your towels regularly.
Wear pool slippers or flip-flops in communal changing rooms or shower areas.