Athlete’s Foot Between The Toes
If you are suffering from pain, itching or soreness between your toes, it could be a fungal infection called tinea pedis, more commonly known as athlete’s foot. Read on for more information and advice
What is athlete’s foot – why does it happen?
Athlete’s foot is a fungal infection called tinea pedis. It is caused by an overgrowth of fungal microbes on the skin. This can lead to itching and sometimes blistering and splitting of the skin.
Athlete’s foot can occur anywhere on your feet, but the most common place is between your toes.
Depending on your skin tone, it may look white, red or yellow in colour.
What else can cause pain between my toes?
Soft corns, splits and even athletes foot can develop into ulcers and can become infected by bacteria if left untreated.
How can I treat athletes foot?
The fungus thrives in moist, dark and warm conditions which are the same conditions found in a shoe or sock. These fungi are excellent at living on humans as they live off the keratin protein in our skin cells.
If you are suffering, then the first thing to address is proper hygiene, washing and especially drying the feet and between the toes properly. Changing socks and if possible footwear several times a day, and alternating footwear to allow it to dry properly is also key.
Washing your socks above 40 degrees may help, and spraying your footwear with an athlete’s foot spray.
There is also a large range of anti-fungal treatments available for you to buy at any pharmacist. These include powders, sprays and creams, some designed for the skin, others for footwear or socks.
Lamisil (containing terbinafine) is a very effective fungicidal cream. Daktarin (containing miconazole) is also excellent. Canestan AF dual action cream (containing Clotrimazole) is usually very good as well.
If your symptoms do not start to settle after seven days try a different cream with a different active ingredient. Usually seven to fourteen days is enough for a low to moderate skin infection to disappear.
When to see a podiatrist?
You should see a podiatrist if you are unsure what is causing your pain or problem as there are many possible causes that may require different treatment.
If it is definitely athletes foot and your symptoms aren’t calming down after trying a couple of different anti-fungals, see a podiatrist or doctor. If pain, redness and swelling continue or get worse, you may have a secondary bacterial infection, which a podiatrist or doctor can treat with antibiotics too.