- Common Ailments Service
- Athlete’s Foot
If you have itchy feet and toes, you may have athlete’s foot - common fungal infection that affects the feet. Read on for more information regarding your condition and the treatment options available to you...
What is athlete’s foot?
Athlete’s foot is a common fungal infection that can cause itching, scaling, inflammation or blistering of the skin, usually between the toes, although the infection may also be seen on the sole and side of the foot. Burning and itching may increase as the infection develops and blistering may expose raw areas underneath the skin. With time, the fungus may infect other parts of the foot and become resident in the soles or the toenails.
Where can athlete’s foot be found?
The majority of athlete’s foot cases are found on the feet, usually between the toes, as this is a part of our body that can be prone to becoming sweaty and damp whilst enclosed in socks and shoes for most of the day. This creates the ideal conditions for the fungus to develop, but similar symptoms are sometimes experienced in other body areas, for instance, the groin and underarms, as the infection can spread beyond the toes.
How did I catch athlete’s foot?
You can also catch it by:
- walking barefoot in places where someone else has athlete’s foot – especially changing rooms and showers
- touching the affected skin of someone with athlete’s foot
- if you have wet or sweaty feet
- if the skin on your feet is damaged
- you can catch athlete’s foot from other people with the infection. It is therefore advisable to treat all people experiencing symptoms of athlete’s foot in one go otherwise - you risk becoming reinfected by others.
Should I seek medical advice?
Athlete’s foot is unlikely to get better on its own, but you can buy antifungal medicines (creams, sprays and powders) to treat the condition. Following a consultation with a pharmacist from Mayberry Pharmacy, you will be advised on the treatment methods available to you. You may need to try a few treatments in order to find one that works best for you. Please be aware these medicines usually take a few weeks to work.
In the meantime, you can reduce the symptoms by following this self-care advice outlined by our pharmacists:
- Always dry your feet after washing them, particularly between your toes – dab them dry rather than rubbing them.
- Use a separate towel for your feet and wash it regularly
- Take your shoes off when at home
- Wear clean socks every day – cotton socks are best
- Avoid scratching affected skin – as this can spread it to other parts of your body
- Do not walk around barefoot – wear flip-flops in places like changing rooms and showers to avoid spreading the infection to others
- Do not share towels, socks or shoes with other people
- Do not wear the same pair of shoes for more than 2 days in a row
- Choose footwear that allows your feet to breathe
If you’re worried about your symptoms, please don’t hesitate to get in touch by booking a free telephone consultation with one of our experienced pharmacists for advice and support.
For more severe symptoms you may need to book an appointment with your GP as moderate to severe cases of athlete’s foot will usually need to be examined by a doctor, and may require prescription treatment.