Fungus Complications

Fortunately, fungal foot infections such as Athlete's foot are easily treated in most cases, provided that you don't put off treatment for a long time and allow the infection to get out of control. If Athlete's foot is left untreated it will probably worsen and, in some cases, may lead to secondary, more serious infections. Most of the time, you'll be able to treat Athlete's foot yourself with anti-fungal medication available over-the-counter from your pharmacist. You should consult your pharmacist or doctor if you have any symptoms of Athlete's foot, some of which are as follows...


Symptoms of Athlete's foot or other fungal foot infections vary from infected person to infected person. Your symptoms may range from mild (slight itching) to the severe (cracked, swollen skin with painful raw tissue exposed beneath). Even if you don't have all the symptoms listed below, you still may have Athlete's foot:

- A sensation of itching, burning or stinging between your toes and/or on the soles of your feet.

- Swollen, red, dry, flaky, cracked or peeling skin between your toes and/or on the soles of your feet.

- Blisters which itch and may ooze fluid or crust over.

- Very dry skin on the sides and soles of your feet.

- Thicker -than-usual, crumbly toenails which have changed color.

Further Infections

If you allow these symptoms to continue without treatment, you are at risk of developing the following complications.

Bacterial Infection - if the skin on your feet becomes excessively dry and cracks, the soft skin tissue underneath is exposed. This leaves you vulnerable to contracting bacterial infections, as bacteria are able to pass through the soft tissue into your body.

Cellulitis - cellulitis is bacterial infection of the deeper layers of skin, fat and tissue in your body. The condition may be very serious in certain circumstances. Bacteria attack the skin tissue and break it down. This can lead to blood poisoning or infections in the bones. Symptoms of cellulitis include: fever, aches and pains, chills, fatigue, swollen skin, swollen lymph nodes, red streaks on the skin coming from the affected area. Cellulitis infections can usually be treated relatively easily with antibiotics.

Fungal Nail Infection - the fungal infection on the skin of your feet can spread to the toenails. Symptoms of fungal nail infections include: thickened, flaky, discolored toenails and a painful or swollen nail bed. Fungal nail infections can usually be treated with anti-fungal medications available from your doctor or over-the-counter from your pharmacist.

Allergic Reaction - very rarely, a person suffering from Athlete's foot might experience an allergic reaction to certain proteins which pass into the bloodstream as a consequence of the Athlete's foot infection. This reaction is known as an "id" or "dermatophytid" reaction. Blisters appear on the toes or hands and, in some cases, even on the chest or arms. The reaction can be dealt with by treating the Athlete's foot infection.

Treatment And Prevention

Clearly, preventing and treating Athlete's foot is a preferable option to developing any of these complications. Check out our relevant pages on how to cure your Athlete's foot and keep yourself infection-free in the future.