Tinea & Athlete’s Foot
Tinea, also commonly known as athlete’s foot, is a common skin infection experienced by up to 70% of the population at some stage in their lifetime. It is a fungal infection that generally affects the soles of the feet and space between the fourth and fifth toes, though it may spread to sides or top of the foot as well. Whilst the infection is generally confined to one or both feet, it can also spread to the hands or groin.
The affected skin will often become quite itchy, or feel like it is burning. Eventually the skin will begin to peel off in small flakes. Untreated tinea infections can often lead to the development of blisters and skin cracks. The surrounding tissue can swell and bleed, and the infection can become painful. The open cracks and wounds also become more susceptible to secondary infections.
For some people there are no symptoms or skin lesions, and they remain unaware of the infection.
There are a number of steps that can be taken to treat fungal skin infections.
- Keeping the area dry and clean
- Use of topical antifungals, available at the chemist in the form of creams or powders
- In cases of severe infections oral antifungals may be necessary
- Oral antibiotics may be required if a secondary bacterial infection is present
Tinea infections respond well to treatment, but can return with improper foot hygiene. In order to prevent future occurrence feet should be kept clean and dry, socks should be changed regularly, and breathable shoes should be worn, and also aired after use.