Mycosis of the feet

fungus on the feet

In the past, fungal infections of the feet were so common that only a few could avoid the infection. Fortunately, by the 1960s and 1970s, drugs became available that actually cured patients, not just relief. However, to date, mycosis of the feet remains the most common fungal skin disease, followed by ringworm in prevalence.

The skin folds between the toes and the surface of the foot (especially the sole of the foot) are most commonly affected, but in rare cases, the hands may also be involved. The appearance of the disease on the hands is mainly explained not by direct infection, but by the action of fungal toxins that circulate in the bloodstream. On the other hand, when scratching the soles, microorganisms end up under the nails, from where they can be transferred to other parts of the body, incl. and on the scalp. This simpler and more common way of spreading the infection must be considered by people susceptible to mycosis.

The risk group includes athletes and people who often visit public swimming pools and showers, people who do not follow basic hygiene rules.

The reasons

Fungal infections of the feet are caused by different types of parasitic fungi. These microorganisms are found in abundance on the floor of swimming pools and saunas, as well as in public showers of sports complexes. A person walking barefoot in such places is simply asking for an infection.

Wearing someone else's shoes and sharing towels and other hygiene products is the second most common method of transmission.

If a person once had a fungal disease, reinfection occurs very easily.

Fungus growth is supported by a lack of proper foot hygiene: wearing socks and boots on wet feet, reusing dirty socks, insufficient shoe ventilation between uses.

Symptoms

Foot mycosis manifests itself very differently. The first signs of a fungal disease can be the appearance of cracks, painful or itchy blisters, diaper rash, and swollen skin such as corns. Then the affected skin areas soften, turn white and begin to flake off. Sometimes, due to a bacterial infection, existing blisters turn into abscesses or sores.

The itching and burning sensation is an almost constant symptom of athlete's foot, patients sometimes complain of pain and unpleasant foot odor.

What can you do

If signs of a fungal infection appear, consult a dermatologist. It is the doctor who must prescribe the treatment. We are only providing general guidelines and tips.

If you are already sick, remember that foot mycosis is a fungal infection and that fungi thrive and multiply only in a humid environment. By eliminating moisture, you prevent these parasites from multiplying and spreading.

Try to protect your family members from infections. To do this, explain to them that now you cannot walk barefoot in the apartment, especially in the bathroom. If you can, use the shower, not the bathroom. After showering, be sure to treat the tub or shower tray and bathroom floor with a disinfectant.

Every day before going to bed, wash your feet with ordinary soap and warm water, make sure that the skin is not very soaked and softened. With a napkin, scoop up and dry the pieces of skin that have fallen off, making sure none of them get under your nails.

Using toilet paper or a hair dryer, dry your feet thoroughly, especially between the toes. Then apply an antifungal cream (if the blisters burst or ooze) or an ointment (if the affected area is dry). Continue the treatment for four weeks even if the external manifestations disappear sooner.

If the skin is severely inflamed, refrain from using an antifungal cream or ointment. Use a powder in the morning. If the antifungal powder is also irritating, use a starch or talc. It is also helpful to put this powder in your shoes every day.

Remember that antifungal creams and ointments are irritating in themselves and should only be applied to dry skin. If your feet tend to sweat, shoes should not be worn until the medicine has been absorbed.

Wear cotton socks, preferably white, and clean every day. While washing, soak the socks in a chlorine-based bleach solution (not soap) or boil for 10 minutes. This will kill the mushrooms on your clothes. Otherwise, the cure is almost impossible, as a new infection will constantly occur. Shoes should also be disinfected with antifungal sprays and then left to air for a couple of days (preferably in the sun).

If your hands are affected, don't use antifungal medications until your skin is examined and diagnosed. Since if microorganisms are not present, antifungal agents will be ineffective. When the foot disease has passed, the manifestations on the hands will also disappear.

What a doctor can do

If necessary, the doctor can prescribe a powerful and specific medicine, as well as a recipe for a powder mixture to prepare a disinfectant solution for the feet.

In severe cases, it may be advisable to use combination therapy, which also includes physiotherapy procedures, as well as oral medications.

If a secondary bacterial infection develops (penetrates the skin through cracks and wounds), the doctor will prescribe antibiotics for local or systemic use.

Preventive measures

Respect hygiene: never go barefoot, especially in public showers and changing rooms, wear fresh socks every day, after having thoroughly washed and dried your feet and toes, air your shoes well between uses.

Make sure you shower before and after swimming in the pool and wear rubber slippers as soon as you get out of the water. Also, you can consult with your doctor about the use of various preventive measures.