Do your feet experience itching, redness, cracking, peeling or blistering? If so you could be suffering with athletes foot.
Athlete’s foot is a fungal skin infection that can occur on moist, waterlogged skin usually between the fourth and fifth toes initially, or on dry, flaky skin around the heels or elsewhere on the foot. Large painful splits in your skin may also develop and the condition can spread along all five toes and in some circumstances to the soles of your feet if left untreated.
The condition can affect anyone whether you are wearing enclosed winter shoes or open dry sandals in the summer months, although it tends to affect people who are active the most hence the name 'athletes foot'. People can live with this condition for years without realizing what the underlying cause is, meaning it is not always obvious to diagnose.
Here are some simple ways to help avoid conditions such as athletes foot affecting your feet.
Make sure you thoroughly dry your feet after washing.
Change your socks on a regular basis - at least once a day.
Alternate your shoes on a regular basis to ensure they have a chance to air out and dry completely. It takes roughly 24- 48 hours for your shoes to completely dry so if you feel you may be prone to clammy feet this is may be important.
If you have to wear the same shoes everyday then leaving them in a dry place with good airflow would be beneficial.
Wear flip flops in public areas such as public showers, pools and bathrooms to reduce the chance that your feel will come into contact with any infections.
There are a variety of treatments available depending on the type of Athlete’s foot you have. In cases where the skin is dry, use an anti-fungal cream or spray, sometimes combined with a steroid cream (from your pharmacist). Make sure you wear gloves when applying cream!
For athlete’s foot where the skin conditions are moist wash your feet in cold water then dry them thoroughly after washing; always use a separate towel for each foot to avoid cross contamination, then apply an anti-fungal spray. Using a spirit-based preparation such as surgical spirit on your feet before activity can help prevent excess moisture and aid healing. Never use moisturizer for athletes foot as this can feed the condition
Anti-fungal medication in tablet form is available from your doctor, however they are not suitable for everyone, especially those on a number of medications already.
Anti-fungal powders are good for dusting inside shoes and trainers as the infection can lie dormant in the material. Also washing your shoes at a high temperature (>60c) can help kill the fungus if your shoes can take it.
Remember to continue with treatment a few weeks after your symptoms have gone to ensure the infections has completely cleared.
As always HEAL FOOT CLINIC is on hand to offer advice on suspected athletes foot or any foot related conditions that require a professional opinion – get in touch now.