What is tinea?

Tinea also commonly referred to as tinea pedis or “athlete’s foot” is a common skin condition found on the foot, caused by a fungus.

Tinea generally isn’t a serious foot condition and it is often asymptomatic in its early form. However if allowed to progress to a chronic stage tinea can lead to inflammation and itchy skin. If left untreated tinea can cause secondary fungal nail infections and even lead to bacterial infections.

Do you suffer from tinea (athlete’s foot)?

Signs & symptoms of tinea (athlete’s foot)

The following signs or symptoms can indicate a tinea infection on the foot:

  • Flaky, dry and peeling skin on the soles of the feet or between the toes
  • Red scaly rash on the soles of the feet or between the toes
  • The presence of small red blisters on the feet
  • Cracking, splitting and peeling between the toes
  • Tinea may present as asymptomatic, itchy and inflammed, or a stinging pain if there are cracks present between the toes
Tinea athlete

Causes of tinea (athlete’s foot)

Tinea is caused by a fungal infection. You catch tinea by coming into contact with surfaces infected with the fungus. The fungus thrives in dark, moist, warm conditions and for this reason tinea is most common between the toes and on the soles of the feet. Communal wet areas such as showers, around swimming pools and locker change rooms are common breeding grounds for the tinea fungus.

Patients that suffer from sweaty feet are more prone to tinea infections. Being enclosed in socks or nylon stockings for long periods also provides a perfect breeding ground for tinea.

Tinea (athlete’s foot) diagnosis

Tinea or athlete’s foot infections are generally easily diagnosed clinically by our Melbourne podiatrists, who are experts in identifying skin conditions of the foot without the need for further tests. If there is any doubt on the source of a foot skin infection then our podiatrists may choose to take a skin scraping and send this to pathology to confirm diagnosis.

Podiatry treatment for tinea (athlete’s foot)

Following successful diagnosis by our Melbourne podiatrists, tinea or athlete’s foot infections can be treated with topical anti-fungal medication. There are many different topical anti-fungal medications available over the counter at the pharmacy including creams, gels, sprays and powders. Our podiatrists can advise you on which topical will work best for your tinea treatment. Chronic and stubborn tinea foot infections may require referral for stronger oral prescription medication.

Successful treatment and prevention of tinea or athlete’s foot infections involves treating the cause. Generally this involves our podiatrists addressing the environmental factors that cause the tinea fungus, such as sweaty feet, socks and footwear.

Tinea or athlete’s foot should not be ignored as it can progress and even lead to fungal nail infections or more serious bacterial infections.  So if you think you have a tinea foot infection don’t delay in seeking early podiatry treatment.

Call us Melbourne Podiatrist

Has a podiatrist checked your feet for tinea?

At our Melbourne foot clinic our podiatrists are experts in the diagnosis and treatment of conditions affecting the foot, ankle and lower leg. This includes tinea (athelete’s foot) diagnosis and treatment.

So if you are suffering from itchy skin on the feet or think you may have tinea book an appointment with one of our friendly podiatrists today!