Embarrassing and sometimes painful, yeast infection of the feet are infections, fortunately, not serious. They come in the form of redness in the toes and are often itchy.
Most of the time, they are caused by microscopic fungi, Of type Candida albicans and Tricophyton rubrum, normally harmless but quite virulent if they encounter fertile ground (heat, humidity).
Yeast infections can present in different ways in different places on the foot. But in general, they appear on the skin, before starting the nail.
What are the most common fungal infections of the foot?
- “The most frequent are those of the inter-toe spaces: athlete’s foot. There is a redness between the fourth and fifth toes, then a crack, and itchy. This yeast infection is due to mushroom Trichophyton rubrum”, explains dermatologist Dr Catherine Oliveres Ghouti.
- The yeast infection Candida albicans develop under the fingernails, between the toes and on the arch of the foot. A reddish bead then forms around the nail.
How do you recognize a fungal infection of the foot?
“The mycoses first reach the interdigital spaces (athlete’s foot), always between the fourth and fifth toes. Then the attack spreads to the other spaces between the toes, and sometimes to the sole of the foot, giving strong itching and sometimes causing small blistered eczema (dyshidrosis) “, explains Catherine Oliveres Ghouti.
The infection can sometimes go unnoticed with simple small cuts between the toes:
“In the majority of cases, one or more cracks appear between the toes. At first, it is not painful. Then, the skin begins to peel on the toe and on the soles of the feet. Most often only one foot. is reached “, indicates Dr Naïma Midoun, dermatologist.
Over several months or years, yeast infection can reach the fingernails. It is always the nail of the big toe that is affected. The fungus first destroys the nail at the free edge and then spreads and reaches the nail matrix. The latter then takes a yellowish or whitish tint. It thickens and becomes more difficult to cut.
“If you do not treat yourself quickly, the nail will be permanently destroyed!”, Warns Catherine Oliveres Ghouti.
How do you get a yeast infection?
VSheat, humidity, perspiration : these are sufficient elements for the multiplication of the microscopic fungi responsible for mycoses. the Trichophyton loves stagnant water and wet soils: poolside, changing rooms and gym, bathrooms …
“So if you stay barefoot where a carrier of the fungus has walked, there may be contamination,” warns Catherine Oliveres Ghouti.
While some people get yeast infections regularly, others never get them. A genetic background predisposes to this type of infections. Children are not very sensitive to it before puberty.
On the other hand, the diseases (cancer, AIDS, diabetes), some activities (sports or professional) or stages of life (divorce, bereavement, depression) promote the onset of yeast infection. The fungi take advantage of the sensitivity of the subjects to proliferate. Diabetics should be especially careful because their feet are more fragile.
Athlete’s foot: when should you see a doctor?
Due to possible complications of the mycosis (secondary bacterial infections, trauma to the nail, etc.), people with diabetes or immunosuppression and those with poor circulation should avoid self-medication.
A medical opinion is required if:
- the nail is very damaged;
- its base is reached;
- more than two nails are affected (oral treatment may be necessary).
Worsening of symptoms during treatment should also lead to medical attention.
What treatment for fungal infections of the foot?
The treatment of fungal infections of the feet should be followed as soon as possible. Dr Midoun advises the use of a ciclopiroxolamine antimycotics (with or without a prescription), as a cream to be spread on the skin and as a powder to be sprayed into the sock. “You should use both dosage forms, morning and evening, for four to six weeks.”.
For nail fungus
It is essential to take a sample in a mycology laboratory before any treatment. Because there are nail diseases that look like fungal infections and are not (psoriasis for example).
The over-the-counter antifungal varnishes are not effective only for a limited infection. Dr. Midoun recommends, for early yeast infection, amorolfine products (with or without a prescription), to be applied once a week for several months. “If the damage is more important, it is first necessary to melt the keratin of the nail using a urea-based cream. After one or two months, we switch to varnish”, specifies the dermatologist.
Oral treatment (on prescription) is reserved for very advanced mycoses. Terbinafine is taken once a day for six to nine months. Taking this medicine requires a blood test to monitor kidney and liver function. “Oral treatment is generally well-tolerated,” she adds.
The treatment of a yeast infection is long and tedious. But this is the key to success because recurrences are frequent.
Treat a foot fungus naturally?
Along with the usual treatments, there are natural treatments to relieve the symptoms of yeast infection. The baking soda foot bath, for example, is very effective. To do this, dilute four tablespoons of baking soda powder in a liter of lukewarm water, immerse your feet in it for 15 minutess, then dry them thoroughly. You can replace the baking soda with a tablespoon of coarse salt if you prefer.
Baking soda can also be used throughout the day to absorb moisture by dusting the feet with the powder before putting on the socks, a bit like talcum powder.
Certain essential oils, like tea tree, lavender, Atlas cedar and grapefruit seed extract also work. Their antifungal virtues make it possible to destroy fungi. Mix a few drops of one of these oils with sweet almond oil and apply the mixture directly to the affected area. Then pour a few drops on your socks. Be careful, however, essential oils are not recommended for pregnant women and children!
How to avoid repeated foot fungus?
To avoid, or at least limit the reappearance of yeast infections, take precautions:
- At the swimming pool and in the gyms, wear sandals or thongss out of the water and in the showers.
- At home, vacuum several times a week on rugs and carpets and do not use other people’s toiletries.
- Use a neutral pH soap because soaps that are too abrasive can modify the pH of your skin, making it more favorable to external infections.
- Dry your feet well after each shower and regulate your perspiration by powdering all your shoes regularly (city and sport) with an anti-fungal powder and wearing cotton socks.
- Wear shoes with leather soles and reserve the sneakers for sports activities.
If you are predisposed to yeast infections, avoid going to saunas or hammams because these places are real mushroom nests. And if a person has yeast infection at home : she put flip flops in the bathroom!