Tinea and Athletes Foot

Athlete’s foot or tinea is a fungal infection that readily affects the foot either with or without an associated yeast infection. Generally tinea infections are passed from person to person in such situations as communal showers pools or anywhere where there are people barefoot.

For a fungal infection to exist on a foot there must first be the appropriate conditions such as a moist, dark and warm environment. This is of course the environment inside most shoes.

Athlete’s foot is generally presents in 3 different ways, which are,

  • Interdigital (between the toes) maceration of the toe spaces,
  • Episodic acute vesicle eruption on the soles of the feet,
  • Dry red scales on the soles of the feet.

Due to the nature of most dermatological conditions athletes foot can be difficult to diagnose. A skin scraping and culture can be helpful in the diagnosis.

Treatment of a fungal infection is usually based around changing the environment surrounding the foot to make the conditions for growth unfavourable and the application of a topical antifungal.

Thoroughly drying the feet after showering and applying methylated spirits to dry the foot followed by antifungal dusting powder can be helpful. Also alternating footwear to allow it to dry and airing the feet to allow them to dry helps to reduce the moisture inside the shoe.

The application of an antifungal preparation is the most effective method of treatment of athlete’s foot. Preparations that treat both yeast and fungal infections are best. These are preparations such as Lamasil cream can be found over the counter at your pharmacist.

Oral preparations of antifungals are available however these are considered unacceptable for the first line of treatment due to their possible toxicity. These are usually reserved for treatment of stubborn fungal infections.