Tinea Pedis also known as Athlete’s Foot or fungal infection of the skin of the feet is the most common fungal infection of the skin caused by a dermatophyte fungus. It is contagious, and can be passed through direct skin to skin contact, or indirectly through contact with items such as floors, clothes, towels, shoes and stockings. The fungus thrives in warm and moist environments such communal showers and locker rooms or pool surfaces, the typical sources of infection.
Almost 70% of the population will be affected at some time in their lives, although it is more common in adolescent and adult males and, generally, is not seen in children below the age of 12. The hottest, most sweat-prone areas of the body are the most common areas for a tinea infection. Most commonly the feet, groin and beneath the breasts.
Tinea pedis can affect three different areas of the feet, namely interdigital, soles and non-weight bearing areas, and present differently in each of these areas.
- Interdigital: is seen between the toes, this is the most common form of tinea pedis and is appears as macerated (soggy) white tissue with scaling and itching. Spreads to the web spaces. The underlying skin is red and may weep.
- Soles: dry, thick scales, frequently with fissuring on the soles. The classical presentation is in a moccasin-type distribution mainly seen on the soles and sides of the feet but can spread to the top of the foot. Dry, red and itchy spots are usually evident.
- Non-Weight Bearing: is the least common type of tinea pedis also known as vesicular which usually appears in non-weight bearing areas such as the longitudinal arch with little blisters. Often redness and scaling and a brown discolouration is seen with this form of tinea pedis.
At Mint Foot Care we diagnose this condition by a physical examination. Our podiatrists can recommend anti-fungal medication and give advice on prevention and hygiene. If the infection is left untreated, it can spread to other parts of the body including toenails and fingernails.