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Fungal infections (Athlete’s foot)

What is Athlete’s Foot?
Athlete’s foot is a fungal infection of the foot. It is caused by many different species of fungi. Most commonly, it manifests itself in between the 4th and 5th toes and causes a wet area that is often smelly and itchy. Depending on the type of infection, it may also present on the top, the underside of the foot or around the edge of the whole foot.

Causes
The fungus responsible will thrive in moist, dark and warm conditions (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. Most commonly, patients who have athlete’s foot have not dried in between their toes properly or are susceptible to having sweaty feet.

Who gets Athlete’s foot?
Truthfully, 90% of the UK population will have experienced some level of foot fungus. It can be spread in communal bathing areas, from sharing shoes with an infected person or develop very easily if you have been in sweaty shoes for a long period of time. Athlete’s foot ranges in severity from person to person.

Treatments options
Most importantly you must address your foot hygiene. Wash and change your socks daily and treat the shoes you are wearing.

There are a range of anti-fungal treatments available for you to buy at any pharmacist. These include powders and sprays for your shoes and socks as well as creams for your skin and in between your toes. If you are using a specific brand and the symptoms are not fading, try using another brand with a different active ingredient. It is very important that you discuss this with a pharmacist before purchasing any medicament.

Outcomes
Following simple self care measures, you should be able to eradicate your problem.