Fungal infections can encompass a range of foot conditions, the most common ones I see are Tinea and fungal nail infections (Onychomycosis).

What are the symptoms of fungal skin infections?

Common symptoms include; itchy, red or blistering feet, commonly accompanied by skin break-down between the toes (maceration).

What are the symptoms of fungal nail infections?

Symptoms include; yellow, crumbling, thickened discoloured nails.

Who are affected more by tinea?

Most tinea infections are mild and can affect anybody. Young people and men tend to be affected more by tinea on the foot ('athletes foot'). In addition, people who play a lot of sport, spend time in communal change rooms and showers, or wear joggers or running shoes, are more likely to be affected.

How to treat tinea?

  1. For treatment of tinea, the area should be kept clean and dry as the fungi thrive most in moist, warm conditions such as joggers or work boots.
  2. Make sure if you’re using communal showers to always wear thongs and dry between your toes to reduce chance of cross contamination.
  3. If your feet are prone to sweating, purchase a feet deodorant from the chemist to further reduce moisture.
  4. Any sports or work shoes can be washed if appropriate and sprayed with tinea spray all around the inside to kill any lingering fungal spores.
  5. Use a topical antifungal from the chemist either in the form of a cream or spray and use as directed for the recommended time-frame.

Why do fungal nail infections occur?

The most common reason for getting nail fungus is trauma to the nail plate, simply knocking it allows the fungus to enter, as well as having your nails painted at a nail salon that doesn’t sterilise their instruments which allows cross contamination.

Types of Fungal Nail Infections:

Nail fungal infections can range from mild to severe and if not treated in the initial stages, can quite often become chronic. One of the most important things to realise with fungal nail infections is they take a long, long time to treat, usually because it takes around 12 months for most people’s whole nail plate to grow out completely. So, expect results to be slow.

Treating Fungal Nail Infections

  1. I usually tell my clients to first spray all their shoes inside with tinea spray – this will kill any fungal spores sitting around the shoes to reduce chances of reinfection.
  2. Anti-fungal laundry washes, for example canesten, can be used to wash hosiery
  3. Purchase some emery boards that are disposable and regularly file and sand down the infected nail always disposing of the old file after use.
  4. Apple cider vinegar soaks can be used daily as it has been shown in some circumstances to reduce nail fungus, in conjunction with a pharmacy topical treatment such as Loceryl or Daktarin. Always follow the instructions and try not to miss any days as this can make the fungus resistance to the medication.
  5. Come in for regular nail trims and your podiatrist can remove a lot of the infected nail to encourage healthy nail growth.
  6. ry to avoid nail polish for extended periods as this encourages a perfect environment for the nail fungus to grow.

Article written by ATUNE Podiatrist, Kirby Read

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