What is Athletes foot?
Learn about what Foot Fungus is, the risk factors for contracting it, and the available treatments available.
What is it?
And how do you contract it?
Athlete’s foot (also known as ringworm of the foot and tinea pedis) is an infection of the skin that causes scaling, flaking, blisters or cracks in the skin, and sometimes itchiness of affected areas. Athletes foot is common between the toes, but can occur anywhere on the feet. It is caused by fungi and is typically transmitted in moist areas where people walk barefoot, such as showers or pool decks.
Fungus can also infect the nails. Fungal nails may be thick, crumbly and discolored ( usually white, yellow or brown).
Fungal infections of the feet are common. Anyone can become infected. Approximately 45 per cent of the general population and nearly 50 per cent of people over age 70 have fungal nails. Nail infections are rare in children. Toenails are seven times more likely to be involved than fingernails.
How to Avoid Athletes foot
Watch out for these risk factors
- Communal bathing
- Sporting activities
- Very sweaty or very dry feet
- Closed footwear
- Damaged nails from trauma (e.g dropping something on toe or stubbing the toe)
- Conditions which change the nails e.g. Psoriasis
- Genetic susceptibility
- Autoimmune diseases
- Peripheral vascular disease (circulation problems)
- Cleaning around the nails with contaminated tools
How to Treat Athletes Foot
And other foot fungus
Athletes foot is usually easy to treat with topical anti-fungal creams. If you have tried an over-the-counter medication and it has not helped, we can prescribe a medication which may be more effective.
Fungal infections of the nail are more difficult to treat. Fungus tracks between the layers of the nail and onto the nail bed, where it is difficult for creams or sprays to penetrate.
Because toenails grow very slowly (about 12-18 months for a full nail to grow out), whatever treatment you choose, it will take several months until you see a significant improvement, so be patient.
Oral anti-fungal medications can be helpful, but these do have side effects. Most people prefer to start treating fungal toenails with a topical treatment. It helps to have a foot specialist thin down the nail first, to expose the fungus and increase the effectiveness of any topical treatment applied. An oil-based, or lacquer-based nail solution can then be used. We can provide you with the oil-based solution called Formula-3, or can prescribe the lacquer.
Formula-3 is a great way to start treatment of fungal nails. It is easy to apply and less expensive than many other treatments. It also has a money back guarantee.
If you are prone to fungal infections, dry your feet well after bathing, especially between the toes, and use anti-fungal spray or powder in your footwear. Take care not to share towels or bath mats with others in your household.