Sole survivor

You do not have to be an athlete to get athlete’s foot. Athlete’s foot is a fungal skin infection on the feet and is quite a common infection. It is believed to affect up to 70 per cent of Australians at some stage during their lives.
The fungus that causes this condition is called trichophyton and it thrives in areas that are moist and warm. It commonly attacks the skin between the toes (usually the fourth and fifth toes) and also the soles of the feet. It is most prevalent in adolescents and adults, both male and female.
Those people who wear poorly ventilated footwear or sweaty socks are the most likely candidates for athlete’s foot. These conditions make the areas between the toes sweaty, providing the perfect environment for the fungus to grow. Others who are susceptible to athlete’s foot include those who shower in public showers, those who infrequently wash their feet or change their shoes and socks, and those who don’t dry the area between their toes after bathing. The risk of developing athlete’s foot is higher in hot and humid weather.
Symptoms of this fungal infection include itching and burning feet, blistering, cracked, scaling and peeling skin, particularly in the webs of the toes, and, in severe cases, bleeding skin. In advanced stages, the skin in the toe webs may become grey-white and damp, there may be an unpleasant odour, an oozing from the blisters or a white thickening of the toenails.
To prevent infection, wear sandals or thongs while using communal showers, and wear cotton socks and shoes that breathe. Also, don’t share shoes, socks or towels. If you do get athlete’s foot, wash your socks and towels in the hottest water possible and keep your feet dry during the day. This doesn’t mean walking around barefoot – that can spread the infection. Showers at home should also be cleaned after use to avoid spreading the infection to other household members.
Minor cases of athlete’s foot will heal by themselves if care is taken to clean and dry feet before wearing shoes and socks, and sweaty socks are changed regularly. The use of medicated foot powders to keep the feet dry is recommended, as well as antifungal creams. Use creams for about four weeks, even if the infection seems to have disappeared. Athlete’s foot can survive under the toenails and will reappear if conditions are favourable. If the infection won’t clear up, see your doctor. If it is left untreated, the trichophyton fungus may cause a rash and itching on other parts of the body.

Tags: ,

Comments are closed.