Tinea pedis or athlete’s foot is a skin infection caused by a kind of mould called a fungus. The fungus causing tinea pedis prefers moist, warm skin; this is why tinea pedis favours the folds between the toes and is often worse in hot weather. In some people tinea pedis can get so bad that blisters form. Not all foot rashes are tinea pedis, only those caused by fungus growing on the skin.
Tinea is a superficial infection which can cause redness and itching. The good news is that it can be treated quite successfully if the appropriate treatment regime is in place.
You can help to prevent tinea. Ensure that you:
Wash your feet thoroughly every day and wear a clean pair of socks after your bath or shower.
Take time to dry your feet, including each toe, thoroughly (especially the webbed area between the toes) after you bathe, shower or swim.
If you use public pools or showers, wear thongs or sandals to prevent your bare feet from touching floors contaminated with fungi.
Choose leather shoes rather than vinyl, since leather lets feet “breathe” so they are more likely to stay dry.
Wear cotton socks to absorb sweat.
What causes Tinea Pedis?
Tinea pedis is a common foot infection caused by fungi called dermatophytes. Found in many different places indoors and outdoors, dermatophytes are especially common in the warm, moist environments of pools, showers, locker rooms and other sports facilities, where people walk with bare feet. Once dermatophytes contaminate the skin of a foot, the warm, moist environment of sweaty socks and shoes encourages them to grow.
What are the Symptoms?
Symptoms of athlete’s foot include:
– Intense itching of the feet
– Cracked, blistered or peeling areas of skin, especially between the toes
– Redness and scaling on the soles
– In most people, signs of infection are seen on the webbed skin between thetoes.
In some people, the infection spreads to one or more toenails, causing the nail to appear unusually thick and cloudy yellow.
How long will I have it?
It usually takes several weeks to months for the infection to respond to treatment. Even after proper medical treatment, the infection can return easily if your feet are exposed again to fungi and sweaty, warm conditions. For this reason, many people have athlete’s foot infection that lasts or keeps returning for many years. Successfully curing the infection often requires changes in how you care for your feet and what you wear on your feet.