Chronic dry feet – is it dry skin or is it something more?

July 14, 2006 (PRLEAP.COM) Health News

Dry, peeling skin on the bottom of the foot is one of the most common signs of chronic athlete’s foot. Athlete’s foot is best known for its’ acute form. The familiar itch with bubble and blisters affects so many in the warm weather months. But the chronic form of athlete’s foot, called dermatophytosis, is actually much more common than its’ acute form. Chronic athlete’s foot presents as dry, peeling skin on the bottom of the foot.

Dr. Jeffrey Oster is a podiatrist and medical director of, a consumer oriented web site for foot and ankle problems. "Patient’s are surprised to find out that what they’ve considered to be dry skin is actually a treatable form of fungus. These are patients who have tried countless skin softeners and have not found success in softening their skin. As a result, they’ve given up and say ‘nothing ever works for my dry skin’ ".

Fungal infections of the foot are quite common and are a product of the environment that we create by placing the foot in a shoe for long periods of time. The environment inside the shoe is dark, damp and warm. This environment is ideal to nurture the growth of fungus. As a plant that that lacks chlorophyll, fungus cannot sustain itself by photosynthesis. Therefore it needs a substrate on which to live. In the case of dermatophytosis, that substrate is human skin on the foot and in the shoe.

Treating chronic fungal infections of the foot requires a commitment to follow through with regular treatment. Dr. Oster recommends the following;

1. Rotate your shoes, allowing them to dry for 48 hours between use.
2. Wear socks and change them twice daily to wick moisture away from the skin.
3. Use a topical antiperspirant to dry the bottom of the feet.
4. Apply a topical OTC tea tree oil based antifungal medication to the feet daily.
5. Daily use of an antifungal shoe spray to disinfect your shoes.

Dr. Oster stated, "It’s important that patients realize that fungal foot infections can’t be treated with one tube of medicine. Success requires a plan and ongoing daily treatment"