Science Questions

Sat, 2nd Oct 2004

Part of the show Skin Diseases and Skin Cancer


Sonia asked:

my boyfriend has mouldy feet - is this athlete's foot, and what causes it ?


Athletes foot is really very common - if you took 100 young men who do a lot of sport the vast majority of them have athlete's foot. If you are a young man who does a lot spot and you check between the 3rd and 4th toe and find a little bit of skin flaking in-between the toes, that's athlete's foot. That's caused by another bug that lives on the skin - another fungus, that spreads from person to person. You can leave little bits on the floor if you do have this, so I suppose you could catch this form somebody else, but it takes up home in those nooks and crannies where air doesn't circulate so that's particularly common between the toes. Now if someone has got a really bad case of athlete's foot they will have some of this fungus but they may also have some extra bacteria that have got in through the soft mushy skin. So if they've got really bad feet there are some treatments that can be used to get rid of the extra trouble makers - the bacteria, and also the athletes foot fungus that's the cause in the first place.


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