Athlete’s foot is a skin infection caused by a fungus that likes the damp, warm and airless conditions that exist between the toes. Anyone can get athlete’s foot and it is easily spread from person to person. This may happen in environments such as swimming pools or changing rooms. Athlete’s foot tends to start between the little toes and begins with an itchy rash that can spread if left untreated. The rash can cause the skin to become scaly, flaky, dry and red. It may lead to other symptoms such as blisters, swelling and stinging, or burning sensations in the skin. However, it is not a serious condition and can be treated with antifungal cream. Keeping toes clean and dry will help to prevent it reoccurring.
The skin between the toes may become sweaty, cracked, sore and very itchy which would indicate athletes’ foot. The nails themselves can also become thick and yellow or brown in colour, the end of the nail may start to crack or crumble. This indicates a fungal infection of the nail.
You may also notice a smell even when you have washed your feet. Smelly feet are associated with fungal nails and fungal feet or athletes’ foot.
In severe cases, skin damaged by athlete’s foot can become infected with bacteria. This can lead to cellulitus which causes the skin to become red, hot and swollen.
Preventing and Treating athletes foot:
It is critical to keep feet clean and dry. Wash and dry feet thoroughly especially between the toes. Remember to change your towel daily so you do not re-infect your feet.
Clean any bathroom mats regularly and change shoes and socks. Spraying the inside of shoes with athletes foot spray can also help. Avoid shoes that make your feet sweaty and smelly. Sweaty feet are a breeding ground for athletes’ foot. Try to wear leather not plastic shoes and do not live in trainers! – Get new slippers too and remember to wear socks.
Its worth treating early because if left untreated, the fungi can invade the nails eventually and it is much harder to eradicate then as nails are so much tougher than skin so creams and sprays won’t penetrate to kill off the fungi.
Lamisil (Active ingredient is Terbanifine) can be used for some people. It is best to contact a professional first as there are many different types of fungal infections which may need specific treatments.