A common condition causing discomfort is Tinea Pedis also called the Athlete’s Foot. It is a common and contagious fungal infection that occurs between the toes on the bottom of the foot. It can be easily cured with Creams or Sprays.
We have gathered the most common feet problems with a guide for treatment and prevention.
What is Tinea Pedis (Athletes’s Foot)?
Athlete’s foot is the most common fungal skin infection in humans and affects an estimated 70% of adults. It occurs mostly among teenagers and adult males (In Egypt the incidence percent doesn’t vary a lot). Many people will develop it at least once in their lives. The common belief is that Tinea Pedis results from poor body hygiene yet that is not the reality.
Most common symptoms of Tinea Pedis:
- Bad odor of the foot
- Skin flakes
- Skin cracks (in-between the toes)
- Pain and burning sensation (in-between the toes)
If you suffer of one or more symptoms of those mentioned above, you have to consult a pharmacist or a dermatologist, most probably it is Tinea Pedis.
Contrary to popular belief, walking barefoot in places like public showers, swimming pools and locker rooms are not the main causes of Athlete’s Foot, but they can be contributing factors. Sweaty feet, not drying feet well after swimming or bathing, tight shoes and socks which offer no ventilation and a warm climate present the perfect setting for the fungus that causes athlete’s foot to grow.
While it is not easy to prevent Athlete’s Foot and other fungal infections you can take steps to lessen your chances of infection by following some simple rules:
- Wash your feet daily.
- Dry your feet thoroughly, especially in between your toes.
- Avoid tight footwear, especially in the summer. Sandals are the best warm weather footwear.
- Wear cotton socks and change them daily or more frequently if they become damp. Don’t wear socks made of synthetic materials.
- Get rid of old, worn shoes.
- Don’t wear other people’s shoes.
- If possible, go barefoot at home.
- If you’ve had a fungal infection in the past, dust an antifungal powder into your shoes in the summertime.
- Avoid bumping and bruising your toenails.
- Keep toenails clipped short; and don’t share nail clippers.
- To be on the safe side, don’t walk around barefooted in public showers, restrooms, and swimming pools.
Cracked feet are a common and not so good looking condition, especially in the summer season, when sandals are the only footwear. Cracked or dry feet may be caused by bad fitting shoes, heat or humidity as well as dry and thick skin around the heels.
Steps to treat cracked feet:
- Use an oil-based cream twice a day
- Use a pumice stone to reduce thickness of the hard skin
- Avoid thin soled shoes or shoes with an open back
- Never try to reduce thick skin with a razor blade or scissors, there is a risk of taking too much off and infections
Dry Skin on the Feet:
The skin holds a certain amount of water. This water is needed to keep the skin supple and able to withstand the different types of pressure that it is placed under. The water content of the skin can decrease causing the skin to become dry and sometimes itchy.
Some people just have a skin that is dryer than others – they have a genetic predisposition to just develop dry skin. As people get older, the skin tends to become drier. Long, hot baths and showers also tend to make the skin drier.
Steps to treat dry feet:
- Soak thoroughly while bathing or showering. Try to use very little soap and limit the amount of time in the water. After patting skin dry with a towel, apply a moisturizer or emollient to the foot. An oil based emollient is preferable. For maximum effect it should be applied daily.
Feet can smell as the foot sweats and is trapped inside footwear. It is the interaction of these two factors along with bacteria that cause the smell. Feet have more sweat glands than any other part of the body, so they can sweat profusely which can not evaporate (like it can on the hands) due to being enclosed in footwear.
Steps to prevent smelly feet:
- Good foot hygiene to reduce bacteria to low levels is the first place to start
- Bathe your feet daily in lukewarm water with a mild soap and dry thoroughly, especially between the toes.
- Change your socks at least once a day (change your shoes as well if you do sweat a lot).
- Dust your feet frequently with a foot powder (always wipe between the toes to remove excess moisture, so that it does not ‘clog’ between the toes).
- Wear thick, soft socks to help absorb the moisture. Natural fiber socks such as wool or cotton and other absorbent materials are better.
- Avoid the use of nylon socks or plastic shoes – wear shoes that are made of leather, canvas, mesh or other materials that let the feet breathe.
- It is best not to wear the same pair of shoes two days in a row – they need time to dry out. Remove the inner soles help with the drying.