Have I got athlete’s foot?

I’ve got hard white patches of skin on the soles of my feet. They don’t hurt, but I’m embarrassed about them. My feet do sweat as I dance and live in my trainers. Could this be the cause of it? Is there a way to get rid of it without having to go to my doctor?

The white patches you describe could be a sign of athlete’s foot. Athlete’s foot is a bacterial infection that can be easily treated with a cream or powders available from a chemist or pharmacy.

However, it sounds more like a build up of hard skin, which is not unusual when your feet are hidden away in socks and trainers, especially during winter. If it’s dry skin you can use a foot file to help remove it (they look like a huge nail file) and then apply plenty of moisturising cream to help keep your feet soft and smooth. These items can be bought from a chemist or pharmacy. You could also invest in a professional pedicure.

The patches could also be calluses, especially if you’ve been wearing shoes that pinch your feet. These aren’t usually a serious problem, and can be treated in the same way as patches of hard skin. If the patches feel lumpy or painful it would be best to visit your doctor (GP).

Even though you’re obviously aware of them, it’s likely that most people won’t notice them – but it’s understandable that you want them to look good. To help keep your feet looking and smelling nice, make sure you wear cotton socks – especially if you’re wearing trainers. If you can, it’s also a good idea to not wear the same pair of shoes for two days in a row.

Everybody’s feet sweat, especially whilst exercising. But if you’re worried about it you could buy in-soles for your shoes. Many of these help to combat sweaty feet and can also offer extra padding to prevent your shoes from rubbing and causing hard skin build-up.

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