Fungal damage on the skin of the feet, in particular the interdigital spaces, is called ringworm. According to statistics, every fifth inhabitant of the planet suffers from a fungus. Its prevalence is due to high contagiousness and resistance in the environment.
What Is the Reason for the Appearance of Interdigital Fungus?
The disease is transmitted through direct contact with a sick person, as well as when wearing someone else’s shoes, using infected towels, and hygiene items. For growth and reproduction of the fungus between the toes, usually requires heat and high humidity. That is why the public pool, sauna, gym – the perfect place to catch a fungal infection.
However, even with close contact with the pathogen, susceptibility to infection is extremely individual. Such factors as:
- Immunodeficiency against the background of comorbidities, chronic foci of infection in the body, beriberi, taking a number of drugs (antibiotics, glucocorticosteroids, cytostatics).
- Endocrine disorders, primarily diabetes mellitus and its complication – diabetic foot, obesity, impaired microcirculation of the lower extremities, allergic dermatitis, varicose veins.
- Violation of the integrity of the skin (minor wounds, maceration, scuffing), arising from uncomfortable shoes, during the trimming pedicure, long walking and playing sports.
- Individual features of the skin in the interdigital folds: hypersensitivity (for example, in infants), excessive dryness or, conversely, excessive sweating and a special composition of the secretion of sweat glands.
- Features of the anatomy of the feet, in particular the narrowness of the interdigital space, especially in combination with the wearing of tight shoes. By the way, the favorite place of fungal colonization – the narrowest intervals between 3.4 and 5 fingers. The first toe is often affected, but in this case, the development of onychomycosis (damage to the nail plate) is more characteristic.
Not the last and most important role is played by cleanliness of a person, since all types of fungal infections find fertile soil in the absence of respect for the elementary rules of personal hygiene.
How Does It Manifest and How to Recognize the First Signs?
Initially, the fungus between the toes is manifested by itching, slight discomfort in the area of interdigital spaces, later – peeling, cracking and hyperemia. Further, with the progression of fungal infection, various combinations of symptoms are possible depending on the form of the disease.
- Erased form – characterized by a mild clinical picture. Dry skin and small cracks (mainly between the little finger and the fourth toe of the foot) are combined with a slight itch. For a long time, the disease does not pay attention to itself, it is more common in children.
- Hyperkeratotic (squamous) – manifested pronounced detachment of the epidermis with intolerable itching and burning in the affected area. The skin in the interdigital spaces is hyperemic, covered with cracks, semi-exfoliated scales, on the toes (first of all on the first), the formation of yellow calloused seals is possible.
- Intertriginous – the most common form, occurs independently or against the background of the existing desquamation. Along with deep cracks and erosions, accompanied by painful sensations and burning sensation, it is characterized by diaper rash and edema between the toes.
- Dyshidrotic – it is typical for it to form in the interdigital folds of small bubbles prone to fusion (vesicles). In place of the blistered bubbles, oozing erosion remains, eventually becoming crusted. In the event of a bacterial infection, the serous contents of the vesicles become cloudy and turn into pus.
This classification is rather arbitrary, since the forms of ringworm in case of its prolonged course can turn into each other or act simultaneously.
In the absence of adequate treatment, the fungus, having initially arisen in the area between the fingers, can spread to the entire foot and occupy the nail plate (in 80-100% of neglected cases). With onychomycosis, the nail changes color (from yellow to brown-brown), exfoliates and deforms, acquiring an unsightly appearance (“fingerboard fingernail”). Perhaps his painful ingrown or complete extinction.
Another terrible complication of a long-term current fungal infection of the skin is the addition of a bacterial infection, which is accompanied by the formation of purulent foci, fever and other symptoms of intoxication.
Photo of Fungus Between Toes
The specialist can diagnose the fungus between the toes on the basis of an external examination and examination of a scraping from the affected area. He will prescribe a competent therapy based on the causative agent and predisposing factors. In the treatment of fungal infection applies both traditional therapy and traditional methods.
Antifungal drugs are administered topically in the form of ointments (Clotrimazol), lotions (Econazole) and suspensions (Natamycin), creams (Terbinafin), gels, varnishes, etc. Before applying the drugs on the skin of interdigital folds, it is necessary to clean the skin of scales and to carry out hygienic procedures. It is best to carry out the cleaning with chlorhexidine solution. It is also possible systemic administration of antifungal agents in tablet form (Griseofulvin). Intravenous antimycotic infusion is indicated only in the case of severe systemic mycosis, which rarely complicates the interdigital fungus.
Methods of Traditional Medicine
In uncomplicated situations, popular time-tested recipes help to defeat the fungus between the toes. The most effective of them are:
- Compresses, impregnated with a solution of strong tea and vinegar (in the ratio 2: 1) and placed for several hours in the interdigital spaces.
- Foot bath on the basis of an aqueous solution of sea salt, followed by treatment of the feet with tea tree oil or aloe juice.
- Lubrication of the affected skin with 70% vinegar. In order to avoid burns, the duration of the procedure is no more than a minute; at its completion, the feet are carefully processed in soapy water.
- Processing the folds between the fingers with a cream made from chopped garlic (2 cloves) and butter (100 grams).
- Gadfishes from water infusion of herbs – chamomile, violet and a succession, taken in equal proportions.
Treatment of a fungal infection between fingers, especially in neglected situations, is fraught with considerable difficulties and requires an integrated approach and time. However, do not forget about the prevention of fungus (immunocorrection, wearing personal shoes that do not bring discomfort, compliance with hygiene standards, etc.). Adhering to the elementary rules, it is possible not only to avoid the recurrence of a fungal infection, but also to forget forever what it is.