Skin fungus (athlete’s foot)
What is skin fungus on the foot?
Many people experience foot fungus. It is also known as skin fungus or athlete’s foot. By far most people suffer from fungus between the toes. Are you suffering from a fungal infection on your feet that remains untreated for an extended period of time? Then the fungus between the toes may spread to fungus on the foot sole. The medical name for this condition is dermatomycosis or tinea pedis.
Description fungal infection on the foot
A fungal infection on your foot sole and/or between the toes can cause itchiness and pain. It is characterised by flakes, red skin on the foot sole (with sometimes clear edges) and a white rash between the toes that may lead to fissures (cracks). A fungal infection is treatable. However, it is better to prevent foot fungus by not walking barefoot in public spaces, such as swimming pools and saunas. You can also prevent foot fungus by thoroughly drying your feet after washing them.
Symptoms of foot fungus
Fungal infections generally occur between the toes – especially between the fourth and fifth toe. At a later stage, it will spread to the soles. The skin between your toes becomes soft and cracks or chapping can occur. The skin between your toes may also colour white. It is possible that a fungal infection will also occur under your soles at a later stage. You can recognize this by the skin turning red and flaky. You may also see some small blisters. The skin between your toes and on your soles may itch. Chapping may occur, which can be painful.
In some situations, a bad odour may occur, especially between the toes. This indicates the presence of a bacteria in addition to a fungal infection. If this is the case, we recommend visiting your general practitioner. If you have a fungal infection on your skin, you run an increased risk of infecting your nails. For more information, please see our topic nail fungus.
Causes of fungal infection of the foot
We do not recommend using ointment, cream or powder between your toes. Such a product may clot between the toes and stimulate unwanted moisture production. However, you can use an anti-fungal spray. Please only use such a product if you do not belong to an at-risk group. Do you have diabetes mellitus, a rheumatic or neurological conditions, severe circulatory disease or cancer? Then we advise you to always consult your general practitioner before applying a product against skin fungus.
In addition to caring for your skin, your socks and shoes also play an important role. We advise that you wear properly ventilating shoes and treat these with fungicidal powder at least once a month. Do you wear socks made of felt, such as sports socks? Then we recommend washing them at at least 60 degrees Celsius. It is also advisable to change shoes daily and wear clean, cotton socks every day.
Treatment of fungus between the toes and on the foot
Skin fungus is highly treatable if you act quickly and are prepared to treat your feet at home daily. A pedicurist or medical pedicurist affiliated with ProVoet can take a biopsy of your skin and have it examined for the presence of traces of fungi. Based on this examination, they can give you personalized advice. The principle of ‘preventing is better than cure’ especially applies to a fungal infection.