Types of Foot Fungus

 

It can happen to anyone, and it’s always better to know more about foot fungus before you start treating it. There are two kinds of foot fungus to watch out for, which are both more closely related than you might think as they’re caused by the same fungus. This guide helps you find out what they are, and how to prevent them from recurring on your feet.

  1. Athlete’s Foot

Although Athlete’s Foot (tinea pedis) is one of the most common foot infections, it only affects around 15% of people around the world.[i] Men are generally more susceptible to the condition, and the chances of developing the condition increases with age.

The good news is that in most cases it can be treated properly and completely when you start the treatment right after you notice the early signs. But if you are suffering painful symptoms and are worried about your condition, make sure you see your GP.

  1. What is it?
    Athlete’s Foot gets its name because the fungus favours the often moist, warm, cramped conditions of closed shoes like trainers. However, any warm footwear that isn’t breathable can help the fungus grow.
  2. What are the symptoms?
    It is characterized by mainly itchy, flaky and moist skin – which especially occurs on the webbing between the toes. Fortunately, the fungus only affects the outer layers of skin.
  3. How do I get it?
    Athlete’s Foot is contagious, which means you can contract it by coming into contact with the skin cells carrying the fungus – and these cells can remain contagious for up to two years. You can pass it on to others, and others can pass it on to you.
    The most common places to pick up the infection are in wet and warm spots like swimming pools and changing rooms (so wear flip flops or shower shoes to minimise the risk), bathrooms and showers. People with diabetes are also very likely to suffer from Athlete’s Foot[ii].
  4. How do I prevent it?
    Wash your feet daily in warm, soapy water to keep them clean, and make sure you dry them thoroughly – especially between the toes. Avoid sharing towels with other people too, just in case! The feet must be as dry as possible to minimise the risk of infection.

    Foot powders can help minimize moisture on the foot and inside the shoes. Keep your feet, socks and shoes / trainers clean. Try to wear breathable or open shoes whenever possible because, whether you like to hear it or not, a young adult’s foot produces about an egg cup of sweat on a summers day[iii].

    Choose natural materials for socks and shoes. Change your socks every day and alternate your shoes so they can dry properly. If certain shoes seem to exacerbate symptoms, you might have to get rid of them… Yes, even if they are your favourites.

  5. How do I treat it?
    Fungicidal and fungi treatments are available in pharmacies. Follow the instructions and avoid a repeat of the episode by continuing treatment after the symptoms have disappeared. This will ensure that all the fungus has been destroyed.

 

  1. Fungal nail infections

A fungal nail infection (Onychomycosis) affects the keratin that makes up the nails and can affect the whole nail, including the plate, bed and root, or just part of the nail. It is estimated to affect between two and 18 per cent of the world’s population[iv].

Annoyingly, it can build up very slowly, so that you don’t notice the symptoms until it’s taken hold completely. However, it is usually painless and you can treat it easily at home. 

  1. What is it?
    Most fungal nail infections are caused by dermatophyte fungi, which is the fungi that also causes Athlete’s Foot. Occasionally, other types of fungi, such as Candida, can cause a nail infection. If you have Athlete’s Foot, there’s a chance that this could lead to a fungal nail infection and that is it is very important to act upon the early signs of an infection to prevent it from spreading.
  2. What are the symptoms?
    The infection reveals itself as discoloured, thickened and distorted nails, though these might not be the only symptom, or they might be caused by another factor altogether. If left to progress, the nail can become brittle and pieces may break off or come away from the toe or finger. Additionally, the skin around the nail can become inflamed and painful.
  3. How do I prevent it?
    Avoid shoes that make your feet hot and sweaty. Clip your nails short and follow the hygiene suggestions listed above.
  4. How do I treat it?
    Fungal nail treatments create an unfavourable environment for fungi, eliminating the problem and preventing the spread of infection.

Scholl’s Fungal Nail Treatment is easy to use and effective:

In treatment phase 1, start by filing away the rough nail once a week, and apply the liquid solution provided in the kit about once a day for one month. In treatment phase 2, you need to use the liquid just once a week for the next nine months to get rid of the discolouration and return your nails back to their pristine state.  In order to treat the infection effectively it’s essential to finish the full treatment as prescribed. For further information on how to use this product please read the product label and leaflet before use.

 

[i] http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD003584.pub2/abstract;jsessionid=AF57A875A0E90068A0420F956A0EF86E.f01t04

[ii] http://www.medicinenet.com/foot_problems_diabetes/page2.htm

[iii] http://www.scpod.org/foot-health/feet-for-life-month-2015/

[iv] http://www.toe-nail-fungus.info/nail-fungus-statistics.php