The skin is the source of some the most frequently annoying complaints in the body and the skin of the feet is no exception. Here we present the first of two of the most common skin conditions that occur in the feet and what you can do about them.
Itchy, hot, red skin? It might be tinea. Part of a large family of fungal infections that affect various areas of the body, tinea pedis is the name given to fungal infections of the feet. You may also know it as Athlete’s Foot.
Tinea pedis has 3 main presentations. The most common occurs between the toes, typically in the 4th and 5th web space. The second presents as scaling and erythema (redness) along the soles and borders of the feet. The third has small vesicles or pustules, which look like tiny red blisters, which occur on the soles of the feet, usually under the arch area. Google some pictures and you’ll find some interesting ones. However, more often than not, tinea doesn’t look as bad as that.
Tinea can cause itching or a burning discomfort. Sometimes you’ll have no idea it was there at all. So if my tinea is not annoying me, why treat it? Well, you can spread it to other people for a start. It is highly contagious after all. But, more importantly, damage done to the skin by tinea – particularly between the toes – can create can a portal of entry for other types of infection. This can lead to infections of the foot and leg.
Treatment involves the use of a topical antifungal, such as Lamisil. Where there is also inflammation, it may be useful to try a combined antifungal and corticosteroid such as Resolve Plus.
Then you must consider why it appeared in the first place. Fungal infections love warm, moist environments. So, make sure you keep your feet and toes as dry as possible, change socks frequently and avoid use of synthetics. Allow your footwear to dry if they become damp through perspiration or rain. And use footwear/thongs in communal areas such as showers, changing rooms and poolside. Good habits will make for good feet.
– Chris Vaughan is a podiatrist at Lake Health Group and believes that education and footwear play an important role in preventing and overcoming foot and lower limb problems.