Foot Rot develops due to a parasitic fungi group called Dermatophytes specifically Trichophyton Rubrum. This commonly occurs due to lack of personal hygiene and choice of lifestyle and activities. Fungal infections commonly occur alongside bacterial infections, the combination of fungal and bacterial infection leads to foot rot.
This combination is highly contagious and can be passed to another person through direct contact. It is more common to catch in wet environments for example swimming pools, public showers and boots. Fungal skin infections can spread to other body parts such as your nails, hands and scalp.
Fungal skin infections are preventable and curable but with the harsh environment of Singapore, the foot often cannot fight the fungal infections that arise from constantly sweaty, wet or damp exposure. Even back in World War II, there were poster campaigns encouraging soldiers to ‘keep the feet dry’ as this was and is of paramount importance.
Occupations where the feet are constantly in wet, damp or hot environments for long periods of time, makes one highly susceptible to advanced fungal infections (i.e. working on boats, agriculture, construction or those participating in intense training regimes). The military personnel of Singapore know all too well the detriment and pain of having fungal and bacterial infections in the feet.
When a fungal infection is not treated adequately, or left without any treatment, the infection will worsen. Patients often require full guidance to healing, self-medicating every so often leads to the infection worsening and the patient building an immunity to the medications used.
Neglected skin infections can lead to:
Skin infections can impact health, comfort, physical well-being and morale!
The appearance of foot rot differs between each person. There may be redness, scaling, dryness and peeling noted. Itchiness may not always be present. When the infection is still mild, they often can be non-symptomatic. When the fungal infection is severe, sensations of itchiness or burning will be experienced.
As the fungal infection advances, development of itchy blisters may occur. These blisters become portals for infection to enter the deeper tissues of the foot. A combination of bacteria and fungus will normally present in lesions as such. These severe skin infections are termed foot rot and require individualized, advanced treatment plans. Each person requires foot specific treatment plans to ensure full recovery as each foot reacts differently to the medications recommended.
Over the counter topical preparations may not be sufficient to cure the problem. At times, these can worsen the problem or cause insensitivity to the topical preparation.
Author: Podiatrist Georgina CALLAGHAN-TAY