Fungi in the feet: causes, symptoms and treatment

Our feet are probably one of the most important parts of our day to day life, and also one of the most ignored. And this part of our body, besides being strongly innervated and connected with the rest of the body, is the base on which our body rests to remain upright thanks to the action of our muscles. Thanks to them we can walk and move and as we do, in a bipedal manner.

But this part of our anatomy can suffer from various types of problems, including unwanted visits and infection from other beings. This is the case of fungal infection in the feet , of which we will see the main characteristics throughout this article.

The fungi on the feet

Mycotic infections in the feet or the presence of fungi in the feet occur when the skin or nail of this part of our anatomy is invaded by some type of fungus. An invasion that generates an infection which in turn will cause a symptomatology that can be quite diverse depending on the species and the place of infection. These infections are caused by dermatophyte fungi, which feed on the keratin of our skin and nails .


When we have fungi on the feet, these are installed and developed on different parts of our limb, usually between the fingers, on the nails or on the sole or heel. The symptoms may vary, but generally we will find that those who suffer from foot fungus tend to show itching and burning in the affected area, possible spots and lesions, skin peeling and inflammation .

The presence of bad smell can also be indicative (although the bad smell of feet does not necessarily mean fungi). When the affected part is the nail, there may be deformations, fragmentation or color changes (white, yellow or dark). They can also get thicker or thinner, and break or break off very easily.

Among foot infections is one of the most common, and among the most common types of fungal infection in this area we can find onychomycosis in the nails, athlete’s foot (usually on the fingers or between them) or paronychia (in which the infection usually occurs in the cuticle of the nail).

Causes: how are they transmitted?

Although we do not usually go barefoot by nature, the truth is that it is relatively easy to get to suffer the presence of fungi on the feet. There are many factors that can contribute or facilitate this fact, but in general for these to grow, it is necessary that there are a series of conditions that allow the fungus to grow and expand on the skin.

One of the main and most common is our use and choice of footwear . Fungi grow easily in damp and hot areas, conditions that can be found on our feet especially if we have them in shoes that are not very breathable and narrow. Also, a very typical way of contagion is to share hygiene material with an infected person or go barefoot to shared areas that are usually wet, such as showers and swimming pools.8

Another factor to take into account is that there are conditions that contribute and make it easier for those who suffer from it to get to have fungus on their feet . Examples of this can be found in diabetes (in which the subject must also have frequent checks to avoid problems such as diabetic foot), hyperhidrosis or conditions that reduce the capacity of the immune system to fight infections.

Linked to the above we also have to take into account that fungi are much more frequent in periods of heat, and especially during the summer, this being a period in which they reproduce very easily. In addition, we must also take into account that there are more risky professions to contract them, such as professional athletes and athletes (the name of one of the most well-known infections, athlete’s foot, is not mere chance) or those professions that remain a long time standing.


Fungal infections of the feet should be treated differentially according to each case. In this sense it is necessary to take into account possible alterations that occurred at the same time as said infection. For example, people with diabetes will be more likely to have fungus and foot problems and should be more vigilant in this regard. Also if the infection is also spread by the leg should see a doctor to verify that something more serious does not happen.

In general, the treatment to be used are usually antifungal drugs and even antibiotics, often in the form of a topical cream . Laser treatments can also be used. Despite this there are also oral presentations for severe cases or when the fungus occurs in the area of ??the nail. In some of these latter cases, it is even possible that it may become necessary to remove the nail.

The maintenance of proper hygiene in the area of ??the feet is essential both in terms of treatment and prevention: it will be necessary to wash the feet with soap and water and rinse them correctly and without leaving traces of soap. The use of footwear and socks that allow perspiration will hinder infection and the growth of fungi. It is also necessary to avoid going barefoot in wet areas such as swimming pools or sharing hygienic items such as towels due to the ease with which fungi appear on the feet for infection.

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