Fungal infections of the skin and nails of the feet are very common, affecting one in five of the population at any point during their lives. Athlete’s Foot (or Tinea Pedis) is the most common of all skin infections presented to a podiatry clinic. It is even more common for those involved with sports, where the use of communal bathing facilities is a common practice.
Often, it presents itself as macerated skin in the fourth toe cleft, which, if left untreated, will spread to other toe clefts and under the sole of the feet. It will appear as peeling skin, blistering and can often be itchy. Fungal infections of the toenails can present as discoloured, thickened and friable nails. Different types of fungal nail infections will begin from the front edge of the nail, from the nail bed and also appear superficially over the top of the nail surface.
Most fungal skin infections are simply treated with an anti-fungal cream. Antifungal powders or sprays may be advised as part of preventative management for re-infection. Fungal nail treatment is dependent upon the type and chronicity of the infection. Treatment options may include topical anti-fungal ointments, creams, or oral anti-fungal medication prescribed by your general practitioner.