Skin conditions of the foot are common in sports and many cases are easily avoidable. They include athlete’s foot, blisters, corns, calluses, and verruca.
Athlete’s foot is a skin infection, which commonly affects those who regularly wear trainers and other non-breathable footwear. Symptoms include:
- Itching or burning between the toes.
- Peeling or flaking skin.
- In extreme cases, the skin may crack and result in painful bleeding.
- The cause of an athlete’s foot is a fungus called Trichophyton which loves warm, damp places, such as between the toes of sweaty or damp feet.
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Friction between the skin and the inside of a shoe or clothing can cause blisters.
- The friction causes heat to build up which makes the skin look red (called a hot spot), which is the first sign of a blister.
- The blister may develop into a swelling under the skin, which may sometimes have blood in it (a blood blister).
- They are particularly common at the back of the heel, instep, and toes.
Blisters can often be prevented by looking after your feet and ensuring you have the correct footwear with fits properly.
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Corns and calluses
Corns and calluses occur when there is excess or thickening of the skin, usually on the soles of the feet.
- Calluses form on weight-bearing parts of the body.
- Corns form on non-weight bearing areas.
- Applying gels to reduce friction and applying plasters can help ease any pain and protect the area.
- A podiatrist or chiropodist may remove the corns and hard skin with a special tool, or a scalpel.
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A verruca, also known as a plantar wart, develops on the sole of the foot.
- Verrucas vary in size and are not normally something to worry about.
- They are the same as warts on any other body part and are caused by a virus, known as human papillomavirus (HPV).
- They can be contagious so care should be taken and treatment applied.
There is no real need to treat a verruca unless it is causing problems or is uncomfortable to walk on.
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