Understanding Athlete's Foot

Athlete’s foot is a fungal skin infection that can occur on any part of the foot, including between the toes. Symptoms of athlete’s foot include itchiness and dry skin that don’t improve even after applying moisturizers. 

The dry skin may actually look soggy, white or red as well between the toes, and have peeling skin that causes irritation to the foot and sometimes pain as well. Wearing closed shoes worsens the infection as the dark, moist environment is ideal for fungus to grow. Contrary to its name, athlete’s foot can also strike the sedentary office worker.

This video from us gives you a good look at what a typical infection looks like – if your foot looks like that, we highly recommend seeking medical help immediately.

What causes Athlete's Foot?

As athlete’s foot is caused by a fungal infection, the factors which cause the fungal infection are similar as in other cases of fungal infections.

  • Poor hygiene
  • Wearing damp socks/shoes
  • Not cleaning the inside of closed shoes regularly
  • Pedicurists using unsterilized tools at nail salons
  • Not wearing sandals in damp, sweaty places like gyms or public pool showers
Athlete's Foot is caused by a fungal infection. | Family Podiatry Centre | Best Foot Doctor Podiatrist DPM Clinic Singapore Malaysia
Pictured: not the athlete’s foot fungus, but you should probably be even more terrified if this was growing out of your foot.

Best Athlete's Foot Treatment

The danger of athlete’s foot lies in how it can infect other parts of the foot (and body) as well, with one of the most dangerous places it can spread to being the nails which will cause onychomycosis. Nail infections are extremely difficult to treat even for professional podiatrists and could take up to a year of treatment before healing.

Anti-fungal medications are a must when dealing with athlete’s foot, so you can expect to be using those. Additional treatment will be recommended by your medical provider as and when it’s necessary – if you seek help early, this hopefully shouldn’t be needed.

The best cure, however, is always prevention. We always recommend the same tips to our patients to avoid fungal infections especially in a humid climate like Singapore which makes it easier for fungus to take root:

  1. Always wear sandals inside gym showers, changing rooms, around swimming pools, nail salons and reflexology places.
  2. Never share shoes and sandals.
  3. Wash your feet thoroughly with soap and water upon exiting a swimming pool and dry them meticulously. Children should especially do so.
  4. Shoes that are regularly worn for many hours during the day should be dried out in direct sunlight weekly.
  5. Ensure that your nail salon uses sterile instruments or take your own.

Additionally, if you can, try to take off your shoes every now and then to air out your feet, especially if you’ve recently had to walk through the rain and have soggy socks.

As foot specialists, treating athlete’s foot isn’t anything new to Family Podiatry Centre. Do not hesitate to book a consultation with us if you’re suffering from athlete’s foot. We can provide you with topical or oral anti-fungal treatments to cure the infection and advise you on what else you can do to manage the infection in the meantime. Most importantly, keep your feet clean!

Written by Mark B. Reyneker
Written by Mark B. Reyneker

Based in Singapore, 20 years of clinical experience. Practiced in South Africa, Malaysia, and Singapore. Pioneered CAD/CAM custom-made orthotics in S.E Asia.

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