foot common to many
Athlete's foot (known as Tinea pedis in medical terminology) is
a fungus infection of the skin of the foot. Tinea is the name of
the fungus that grows in the skin between the toes as well as underneath
the toes. It can also infect the toe nails, which become thickened,
discoloured, and brittle. This fungus can also affect the skin in
other folds of the body such as the groin and the armpits.
The usual symptoms of Tinea pedis are itchiness of the
affected area and an offensive smell (what is sometimes referred
to as "bad toe jam"!).The skin can become flaky, and if
moistened by sweat or water (as after a swim,) the top layer of
the skin becomes white, macerated and soggy.
infection of the soles is very common, especially in people who
wear closed shoes with socks - but most people do not consider the
symptoms bothersome enough to consult a doctor. The condition is
more common in men because in our climate it's men who are more
likely to wear socks and shoes.
Keep your feet as clean and dry as possible by washing with soap
and drying (especially between the toes) every day.
drying your feet, apply some talcum powder (there are also anti-fungal
powders available) to absorb moisture and maintain dryness.
possible, wear open sandals or slippers rather than closed shoes.
socks made of synthetic materials like nylon and wear light socks
made of naturally absorbent material like cotton that will allow
the feet to "breathe".
a fresh pair of socks every day. Dry your shoes overnight before
putting them on the following day. Remember that we perspire about
250 ml through the skin of our feet each day, and this sweat gets
absorbed by our socks and shoes; fungi thrive in moist areas of
For mild cases of Tinea pedis, applying time honoured remedies such
as Whitfield's ointment, selenium sulphide shampoos (like Selsun)
and tolnaftate solution. n other cases, one of the newer antifungal
medications such as clotrimazole, miconazole or ketoconazole are
effective. These are available as creams, ointments, solutions and
powders, and should be applied twice a day to the affected area
after washing and drying for about three weeks.
the rare cases where topical applications don't work, your doctor
may recommend a course of antifungal tablets - but these are strong
and can have some serious side effects, so they should not be prescribed
for every case of fungal skin infection.