Athlete's foot is an itchy skin condition, usually affecting the areas between the toes.
It is caused by a fungal infection, which can make skin dry, flaky and incredibly itchy.
As a result, athlete's foot is highly contagious, and can be spread through direct skin-on-skin contact, or indirectly, such as in swimming pools or by sharing shoes or towels.
Athlete's foot can be hard to prevent, but it can be treated with a range of pharmacy medicines.
Athlete's foot (medical name: tinea pedis) typically develops in skin between toes, usually starting at the little toe and spreading.
The skin becomes very itchy, turns red and could become dry, scaly and flaky too. Particularly bad cases of athlete's foot may also cause skin on the feet to crack, or cause a rash on the underside of the foot.
Athlete's foot is a fungal infection. All feet have fungi and bacteria on them. With athlete's foot, this fungus is able to spread and grow thanks to warmth and moisture between the toes. This can be endemic to sports people, hence the name.
Athlete's foot is caused by a type of fungi called dermatophytes, which love the warm, sticky conditions between human toes. Whilst there's no guaranteed way to prevent athlete's foot, keeping feet clean can prevent infection taking hold.
Be sure to wash your feet thoroughly every day, and dry well between the toes. Swap your socks after doing sport, and use talcum powder to help keep skin dry and soft.
Don't borrow shoes or socks. Wear flip-flops at the swimming pool, and avoid swimming if you have athlete's foot until it clears up
Athlete's foot is a common but treatable problem.
There are several treatments available over the counter. These include creams, sprays, liquids, tablets and powder.
Symptoms of athlete's foot usually clear up within two weeks when properly treated. More severe cases may spread to other areas, such as the toenails, palms or underside of the foot. Athlete's foot should always be treated as soon as possible, otherwise complications such as secondary bacterial infection can occur.
A range of antifungals are available, with different active ingredients. They may include terbinafine, clotrimazole, miconazole. Some treatments may also have a steroid included such as hydrocortisone which helps if the skin is particularly sore or inflamed.
Alongside antifungal treatments, ensuring you look after your foot hygiene can help soothe and prevent athlete's foot.
Try not to scratch the skin when it gets itchy, as this will only serve to spread the infection. Keep your feet as dry as possible at all times, wear cotton socks, and swap your shoes and socks regularly.
Athlete’s foot also known as Tinea pedis, a very common condition that affects the skin of the feet. Athlete’s foot usually starts to manifest between the toes of the fourth and fifth digit, and can spread to the sole and upper part of the foot.