Bit yucky, but a common problem: your feet can suffer if you're keen on keeping fit. Here's how to avoid foot and toe issues
There's a whole range of foot problems related to exercise. The commonest ones related to sports tend to be picked up in the gym changing rooms and are usually fungal, such as athlete’s foot and fungal infection of the toenails.
Don't suffer in silence. This advice from podiatrist Lorraine Jones should help you address your foot health issues.
Like mushrooms (yuck!), the conditions fungi like best are warm, damp, dark, moist, airless areas of skin, such as between the toes. Exercise can increase the sweat production on the soles of the feet increasing the conditions that the fungi like, such as:
Athlete’s foot This can occur between the toes where it can be itchy, burn, and occasionally it has an unpleasant smell. It may also occur as dry, scaly skin over the sole and sides of the foot that often looks like dry skin.
To reduce your chances of picking up athlete's foot, put on a different pair of dry shoes after your exercise session. Try not to leave your trainers in your kit bag between sessions where they can’t dry out properly. Spraying an antifungal into your gym shoes can also help cut down the incidence of picking it up.
Treatment: For athlete’s foot, use any OTC product, but make sure you follow instructions. Many infections stop when the symptoms improve, but the fungal spores are still present. Canesten’s Bifonazole Once Daily Cream contains an active ingredient which penetrates deeply into the skin and keeps working for 36-48 hours. Apply once a day for two to three weeks to treat all types of athlete’s foot without inflammation. Fungal nail infections Fungal infection of the toenails is common: 8% of people in the UK will have a fungal nail infection at some stage of their lives. It can cause nails to become thickened and unattractive, and can occasionally be painful, making walking uncomfortable. Although the infection may start in a single nail, others can become infected in due course. If left untreated, the infection will ultimately destroy the nail and the nail bed.Fungal nail infections usually occur secondary to athlete’s foot, so clearing up your athlete's foot will help reduce your chances of developing fungal nail problems.
Treatment: For the nails, there are both oral and topical treatments available. If just one nail is affected or more nails are affected but the infection is superficial, topical treatments are always a good start. Smelly Feet
Feet become smelly if they are kept in a state of dampness, including via sweat-soaked shoes that aren’t given a chance to dry out before you wear them again. Bacteria on the skin breaks down the sweat as it comes out of the pores and a cheesy smell is released as the sweat decomposes.
Treatment: If your feet are really smelly, wash them daily using an antibacterial soap such as Hibiscrub – leave it on the skin of the feet for two minutes before washing it off. Preventing fungal infections: 1. Never wear the same pair of shoes for two days in a row, so any pair has a minimum of 24 hours to dry out between outings.
2. Wash and dry your feet every day and wear clean socks daily.
3. If you’re particularly susceptible to sweaty feet, dab between your toes with cotton wool dipped in surgical spirit after a shower or bath – surgical spirit helps dry out the skin between the toes really well – in addition to drying them with a towel.
4. Use a spray deodorant or antiperspirant on your feet – a normal underarm deodorant or antiperspirant works just as well as a specialist foot product and will cost you less.
5. Use medicated insoles, which have a deodorising effect, in your shoes.
6. Try feet-fresh socks – some sports socks have ventilation panels to keep feet dry, and antibacterial socks are impregnated with chemicals to discourage the odour-producing bacteria that feed on sweat.
7. Wear leather or canvas shoes, as they let your feet breathe, unlike plastic ones.
8. Wear open-toed sandals in summer and go barefoot at home in the evenings.
Like us on facebook
Follow us on twitter
Other Hearst Magazines UK sites