We’re not talking about the kind of itchy feet that make you want to travel and explore the world. No, we’re talking about the kind of itchy feet that comes from hanging out in warm, moist, dark places and engaging in risky behaviours like:
• Walking barefoot in public places like locker rooms, showers or public swimming pools;
• Sharing towels, socks or shoes with an infected person;
• Having sweaty feet – time to pack away those winter Ugg boots!
• Wearing poorly ventilated shoes and sweaty socks;
• Having minor cuts on your feet; or
• Wearing tightly fitting shoes.
Yes, we’re talking about athlete’s foot or Tinea Pedis, a common fungal skin infection especially in the summer months when we head for the swimming pool. Tinea is the name given to a group of fungal infections caused by a variety of different fungi. Did you know fungi have a preference for certain parts of the body? When it comes to Tinea Pedis, their preferred body part is the feet, and especially between the third and fourth toes. Tinea Pedis can progress to other parts of the foot including the soles and heels.
If you have athlete’s foot you will experience intense itching and notice that the skin between the toes becomes tender and is often cracked and scaly. You may also experience a stinging or burning feeling if the skin becomes cracked.
If you experience any of these symptoms, our pharmacists are a good source of help and support and can advise you on ways to treat athlete’s foot as well as how to avoid it in the future, such as:
• After a bath or shower, make sure to dry your feet properly including between the toes.
• Wear sandals or water shoes if you are walking around a public pool or change room.
• Don’t share shoes or socks.
• Wear shoes made from breathable fabrics.
Our pharmacists may also suggest medicines that can treat the fungal infection. It’s important to take the medicine as directed and for the prescribed length of time to make sure the fungus does not return. If you have an underlying health condition such as diabetes, it’s important to seek care as soon as possible as athlete’s foot can leave the affected area vulnerable to other skin infections. People with diabetes may not notice some of the symptoms of athlete’s foot like the burning or itching because of neuropathy or nerve damage associated with their diabetes. Remember, the best way to treat fungal infections is to avoid it in the first place.