Fungal infections are common in people with sweaty feet and are often found between the toes, as various fungal pathogens inhabit and breed in the unattended, moist regions of the feet. Though most fungal foot infections are harmless, they can sometimes be persistent and difficult to treat.
Common fungal foot infections include:
Athlete's Foot (Tinea Pedis)
This is a skin disease that usually develops between the toes and is caused by a fungus similar to that causing ringworm and jock itch. It is contagious and can be spread by contact with an infected person or contaminated towels, shoes, and floors. Dry, scaly skin, redness, itching, and sometimes blisters are the symptoms of an athlete’s foot.
Toenail Fungus (Onychomycosis)
Toenail fungus is a more resistant fungal infection that can be seen under the toenail. Symptoms of toenail fungus include a white or yellowish discoloration, thickening, and flaking of the nail with separation from the nail bed.
Treatment of Fungal Foot Infection
Treatment will vary depending on the severity of the infection. antifungal cream, spray, or powder can help treat mild cases of athlete’s foot. For more severe or resistant infections, oral antifungal medication is prescribed. Your doctor will order a KOH test to identify the fungus. Treatment can take as long as 2 to 6 months. Treatment of toenail fungus is more difficult, as it is present under the toenail and not easily accessed by topical medication. Permanent or temporary surgical removal of the toenail may be recommended in severe cases. Oral treatment for toenail fungus can take 6 to 12 months.
Fungal foot infections can be prevented by:
- Using soap and water to clean your feet daily
- Avoiding going barefoot in public spaces or sharing footwear and nail clippers
- Keeping your toenails trimmed
- Changing your socks and shoes regularly to prevent moisture buildup
- Using foot powder if your feet are frequently sweaty