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Athlete's foot - What will happen to me?

BMJ Group Medical Reference

Athlete's foot isn't serious. But if you don't treat it, your feet can become sore. And the infection may spread to your fingernails, your toenails, and other parts of your feet, as well as to other places on your body, such as your arms, your legs, or your chest. Treatment will make your feet feel better and get rid of the fungus that's causing your symptoms.

Athlete's foot can usually be cured. Even if you've had it for a long time, you should still be able to get rid of the infection completely. But it may come back.

It's especially important to treat it straight away if you have:

If you have one of these conditions, you're more likely to get a bacterial infection as well as athlete's foot. This can cause more problems and is often harder to treat than athlete's foot on its own.

You'll probably need to have treatment for your athlete's foot for several weeks and possibly longer. If your skin is cracked or you have ulcers or blisters because of athlete's foot, it may take a long time to heal.[4]

You don't have to stop playing sports or wearing sports shoes if you have athlete's foot. But it's a good idea to always wear something on your feet to avoid spreading the infection to other people. It's worth carrying a pair of flip-flops in your gym bag and wearing them in the changing room and shower, and when you walk around the pool.

Glossary

chemotherapy

The use of chemicals or drugs to treat or prevent disease, usually cancer.

diabetes

Diabetes is a condition that causes too much sugar (glucose) to circulate in the blood. It happens when the body stops making a hormone called insulin (type 1 diabetes) or when insulin stops working (type 2 diabetes).

HIV

HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus. It's the virus that causes AIDS. It makes you ill by damaging cells called CD4 cells. Your body needs these cells to fight infections. You can get HIV by sharing needles for injecting drugs, or by having sex without a condom with someone who has the virus.

immune system

Your immune system is made up of the parts of your body that fight infection. When bacteria or viruses get into your body, it's your immune system that kills them. Antibodies and white blood cells are part of your immune system. They travel in your blood and attack bacteria, viruses and other things that could damage your body.

infection

You get an infection when bacteria, a fungus, or a virus get into a part of your body where it shouldn't be. For example, an infection in your nose and airways causes the common cold. An infection in your skin can cause rashes such as athlete's foot. The organisms that cause infections are so tiny that you can't see them without a microscope.

For more terms related to Athlete's foot

Citations

For references related to Athlete's foot click here.
Last Updated: May 21, 2013
This information does not replace medical advice.  If you are concerned you might have a medical problem please ask your Boots pharmacy team in your local Boots store, or see your doctor.
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