Athlete’s foot isn’t a pretty site. Nor does it smell very good. And it itches and burns! And, well – it’s just plain horrible .

Athlete’s foot (tinea pedis) is caused by a fungal infection of the skin on the foot and between the toes – especially between the toes, which is where it first presents – as dry scaling of the skin, that becomes moist when small blisters or fissures form. As the blistering breaks, the infection spreads and can involve large areas of the skin on the foot. The burning and itching that accompany the blisters can cause a great deal of discomfort and pain, and if there is secondary bacteria present in the shoes you wear or the changing rooms you frequent, the blistered areas where the skin has broken down can become infected. If athlete’s foot spreads to the toe-nails and they become infected too, chronic fungal infections can develop.

Proper treatment of an athlete’s foot infection takes time and patience, and a meticulous foot cleansing routine – which includes daily washing and drying, changing your socks daily, wearing absorbent woolen socks, having 2 pairs of daily work and sports shoes and alternating them so they have time to dry out.

Soaking your feet in a basin of warm water with epsom salts and tea tree oil will help ease the burning, and tea tree oil is a wonderful and natural anti-fungal, so it will also help to control the spread of the fungus. Topical anti-fungal ointments may be prescribed to control the spread and ease the symptoms and any secondary infections may have to be treated with oral antibiotics.

If you think you may have athlete’s foot, book an appointment to see one of our podiatrists in Auckland who will be able to diagnose an infection and draw up a treatment plan for you.