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  • Catriona Holt

Know Your Nails: Preventing Athlete's Foot For Nail Health

While athlete’s foot doesn’t usually directly affect toenails it can be a precursor to nail fungal infection. Learning how to deal with it early and prevent it from coming back again has a long term effect on your nail health.

About athlete’s foot

Athlete’s foot is a fungal skin infection that usually starts between the toes. It can occur due to an accumulation of sweat from wearing shoes that are too tight over a long period of time. It is also contagious and can be picked up from contaminated floors, towels or clothing.

Signs of athlete’s foot

There are a few clear signs of athlete’s foot:

  • A scaly red rash usually appears between the toes. The rash can spread over the toes and along the sole of the foot.

  • The skin is itchy, particularly after shoes and socks are removed.

  • There may be a strong foul odor.

  • In severe cases blisters and ulcers on the skin can appear.

  • The infection can affect one or both feet and can spread to the hands if the area is repeatedly scratched and picked.

What we suggest

If you do suffer from athlete’s foot then we suggest you:

  • Regularly wash and thoroughly dry your feet, especially in between toes.

  • Apply an anti-fungal powder between the toes daily. Avoid using anti-fungal creams between the toes as this will keep the area moist which then allows the infection to thrive. Anti-fungal creams are best used on the ball of the foot if the infection has spread there.

  • Give feet plenty of ‘air time’ by wearing sandals or flip flops, if possible.

  • Change socks twice a day when you do need to wear shoes.

But for athlete’s foot, prevention really is the best cure. As the infection is primarily picked up in damp, warm and dark areas it will thrive in sweaty shoes. To avoid any reinfection we suggest you:

  • Decontaminate shoes by spraying them with 70% alcohol.

  • Alternate shoes to avoid wearing the same pair over and over.

  • Wash socks or hosiery on a hot wash.

Note: People who have diabetes are at a greater risk of developing athlete’s foot because of the higher sugar content in sweat. If you have diabetes and you develop athlete’s foot, consult your doctor.

Can I still have a manicure?

We recommend avoiding manicures until the athlete’s foot infection has settled. However, nail filing, buffing and polishing can help the appearance of your feet while you wait for the infection to settle. Just remember to thoroughly wash any tools you use in warm, soapy water after use.


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