Fungal infections (also called Tinea Pedis) are commonly seen in the skin and nails in the feet and picked up from direct skin to skin contact or by coming into contact with shed skin cells.
What causes the problem?
Direct skin to skin contact in communal areas such as changing rooms and swimming pools. It can also be spread by sharing towels, footwear and hosiery. Hot, sweaty feet and dry, cracked feet are ideal breeding grounds for the infection.
When should I see a podiatrist about it?
Normally starting in the skin around the toes and the arch it will appear as very dry skin sometimes with little bubbles of fluid which can itch. If left untreated it can spread to the toenails where it will cause the nail to become discoloured and sometimes change shape becoming thick and crumbly.
Although more common in the feet, it is easily transmitted to the hands, underarms, scalp and groin by scratching infected areas with fingernails or using towels that have been used on infected body parts.
These infections do not self-resolve and treatment is always needed to get rid of the infection.
Your podiatrist can advise you of the most appropriate treatment options if you think you have a fungal infection. You can reduce the risk of picking up a fungal infection by having good foot hygiene, always drying between your toes after bathing, keeping your skin in good condition with regular moisturising and avoiding walking barefoot in communal areas such as changing rooms and swimming pools.