Common Name : Athletes Foot
Tinea pedis, also known as ‘‘athlete’s foot,’’ is a superficial skin infection of the feet caused predominantly by dermatophytes. It is one of the most common superficial fungal infections (Gupta, Chow, Daniel, & Aly, 2003).
Tinea pedis affects at least 10% of the world population at any given time. It is thought that these skin infections did not become popular until the late 19th or early 20th century, when closed in shoes, became more popular (Gupta et al., 2003). Tinea pedis is more common among men than women and is generally uncommon in children. The lateral or outside toes are most often affected, particularly in the web space between the fourth and fifth toes (Gupta et al., 2003).
How can Podiatry help the treatment of Tinea Pedis?
Podiatrists are skilled at identifying the stage of Tinea Pedis and application of the appropriate treatments.
First line treatment of Tinea Pedis involves applying topical antifungal preparations in the form of creams, ointments, lotions, aerosol sprays and powders.
Commonly used agents include Allylamines, azoles, tolnaftate, isoconazole, and Travocort.
Ointments are avoided on moist surfaces; however, creams are used inter-digitally and on large areas. Powders are recommended to be used in conjunction with ointments or lotions and can be used inside footwear. Inertia's Podiatrists can help you with this
If inflammation is present hydrocortisone cream is required to reduce the inflammation, followed by the fungicidal treatment regime. However, if a bacterial infection is present, antifungal agents should be combined with a bactericidal agent. If the bacterial infection is severe, then antiseptic preparations or antibiotic therapy is necessary.
Depending on the severity of the infection, treatments should be continued 2-3 times daily for a minimum of 4 weeks. However, the relapse rate is high, especially if the source of infection is not identified and eliminated.
While undertaking any treatment regime, it is important to practice good hygiene, for example, keeping feet and inter-digits dry. Other solutions may include; wearing leather or open shoes, especially in communal places or using talcum powder on feet to soak up any excess moisture. Home-made remedies of white wine vinegar foot soak, or tea tree oil applications are also recommended.
Shoe sterilization (Sterishoe) where available, is beneficial in sterilising the hidden fungal spores within the material of the shoes that can remain dormant for months. These usually regenerate with a little heat and adequate moisture from the environment shoe cause. This method uses ultraviolet light to disinfect and deodorize your shoes.
Gupta, A. K., Chow, M., Daniel, C. R., & Aly, R. (2003). Treatments of tinea pedis. Dermatologic clinics, 21(3), 431-462.
Field, A & Adams, B, 2008, Tinea Pedis in Athletes, International Journal of Dermatology, pp, 486-487
Lorimer, D, French, G, O’Donnell, M, Burrow, J & Wall, B, 2006, Neal’s Disorders of the Foot, 7th edn, pp 472-475, Churchill Livingstone Elsevier, Philadelphia, USA
Sterishoe, Shoe Care Innovations Inc; http://www.sterishoe.com;
Journal of American Podiatric Medicine Association 2012 Jul-Aug; 102(4):309-13.) The SteriShoe sanitizer is not a medical device and does not treat toenail fungus, athlete’s foot or other foot infections. SteriShoe is for use inside shoes and not on feet. SteriShoe promotes good hygiene and is recommended for use in conjunction with toenail fungus and athlete’s foot treatments.