What is Tinea?
Tinea Pedis, also known as Athlete’s foot, is a highly common fungal skin infection that affects 1 in 3 Australians. Tinea is contagious and is easily spread between people. The infection can last for a short period of time however is known to last for extended periods and can recur after treatment.
Tinea tends to be more prevalent during periods of warmer weather as the fungus thrives in warm and moist environments. Sufferers generally contract the infection where they have walked on shared wet surfaces such as communal bathrooms and showers as well as gym and pool change rooms. Contracting the infection is not limited to these areas and tinea can be spread by wearing contaminated shoes and socks.
There are a number of symptoms that may indicate that you have tinea. These include;
- Itching, burning or stinging sensations
- General dryness
- Redness of the skin
- Flaking and peeling of the skin
- A foot rash
- Flaking and peeling of the skin between the toes
- Thickened, discoloured toenails
The chances of your contracting tinea increase if you are;
- Wearing synthetic shoes without socks;
- Have wet feet for extended periods;
- Prone to sweating;
- Have a minor skin or nail condition.
The appropriate treatment for tinea will depend on the severity of the condition. Like many fungal infections, tinea can be treated easily however can occasionally be known to be particularly stubborn in clearing the fungus. If left untreated, tinea can become cracked and painful. In rare cases, the infection itself can become chronic. There are many treatments available for tinea ranging from over the counter creams right through to prescription medications. We recommend seeking advice from a podiatrist to determine the most effective therapy.
One of the most effective ways to prevent tinea is to keep your feet and toes clean and dry. The infection itself thrives on moisture so it’s recommended to avoid letting your feet becoming wet or sweaty, particularly for extended periods. Wearing appropriate footwear, such as thongs, in communal wet areas and change rooms will also help reduce the risk of contracting the fungal infection.