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Condition spotlight

Athlete’s Foot

Tinea pedis, more commonly known as Athletes foot, is a common fungal infection affecting the skin on the feet. This condition is caused by dermatophyte fungi, which feed on keratin, a protein that makes up the skin, hair and nails. This type of fungus favours warm and moist environments, making the foot an ideal environment! The spaces in between the toes are a particularly common place for tinea to develop. Athlete’s foot is highly contagious, and can be spread through skin to skin contact, or indirectly by sharing towels, bed sheets, shoes and socks.


The following can increase the chance of contracting tinea:

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Frequently asked questions about Athlete’s Foot

Does Athlete's foot go away by itself?

Although symptoms may improve without treatment, this does not necessarily mean infection has cleared. Sufferers can often go through periods of flare-up and then symptoms may settle, followed by another flare-up.  Fungal infections can be stubborn and are unlikely to completely resolve without treatment. If left untreated, the condition can spread to other areas of skin and the nails, becoming a bigger problem and more difficult to treat. It is important to act early, be diligent with treatment and practise good foot hygiene to reduce risk of spreading.

How can tinea be prevented?

Managing and reducing risk factors is the secret to avoiding tinea infection. Washing and drying the feet thoroughly, paying close attention to areas where moisture may accumulate (ie. in between the toes) is very important for maintaining hygiene. Regularly rotating through shoes and socks will manage perspiration in the feet. Socks with natural fibers such as cotton or wool are ideal for wicking moisture from feet. Some socks with synthetic materials such as nylon or polyester can be occlusive. Towels, socks and bedding should be washed in hot water (60°C or more) with a quality washing powder. Communal showers, swimming pools and public changing rooms are places notorious for harbouring fungus due to their damp environment. Avoid going barefoot when attending these places.

Do I need to throw away my shoes if I have Athlete's foot?

In cases of severe and persistent tinea pedis, sadly this may be the best way. Alternatively, regularly rotating through footwear, disinfecting shoes and letting them dry out in the sun may help rid them of any remaining fungal spores.

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02 4296 8363
info@shellharbourpodiatry.com.au
19/23 Addison St, Shellharbour Jobs and Shellharbour Podiatry

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