Here at the Gold Coast we are more susceptible to fungal foot infections partly due to the humid environment. There are 2 major foot fungal infections that we see on a regular basis here in our clinic – Onychomycosis (Fungal Nail) and Tinea Pedis – Athlete’s Foot (Fungal skin infection on feet). Tinea pedis reportedly affects 70% of teen to adult population and can be in conjunction with a bacterial presence. These are contagious conditions that can affect the nails and / or skin on the feet and can be passed on easily. With October being foot health month, I want to discuss signs and symptoms, diagnosis and some ways to prevent and treat these conditions.
Signs and symptoms:
- Dry peeling skin on plantar surface of feet
- Macerated tissue in-between toes. Wet and white skin.
- Smelly feet.
- Splits between toes
- Itchy feet and between toes.
- Small dot / blister / vesicles.
- Discolored nails
- Nails thick, crumbly and breaking away easily.
Protection and prevention:
Keep feet clean and dry- Including interdigital – THAT MEANS DRY BETWEEN ALL TOES – DON’T FORGET THE LITTE TOE.
Change socks daily – keep footwear clean and dry
Don’t share towels/ socks or footwear with people who have Tinea Pedis or fungal infection.
Use Canesten laundry soak for those stubborn cases.
When trying on shoes at the shops always wear socks or hosiery – who knows who has tried them on before you.
At public swimming pools/ beach / camping grounds communal showers we should always wear thongs / shoes/ aqua shoes to prevent the fungal spores getting onto our feet and taking up residence!!
Diagnosis and Treatment:
Visit your podiatrist or GP to confirm Tinea or fungal infection. There are other conditions that can also mimic the symptoms of tinea Pedis that would need alternative treatment. With some cases it may be necessary to take a specimen sample that can be sent to pathology for diagnostic confirmation.
Treatment and Prevention:
Applying antifungal treatment creams or nail treatment regularly as directed.
Cleaning or replacing footwear that can carry the fungal spores.
Using Clean towels and socks daily.
Wear sandals or footwear with some ventilation to prevent the feet from getting hot and sweaty.
Keeping feet clean and dry interdigital as well.
For a professional opinion / diagnosis book in with any of our experienced Podiatrist at ProMed Podiatry. Book online or call our friendly reception staff on 07 5522 1230.