Fungus between the toes: causes, treatment

A fungal infection of the skin of the feet, especially the interdigital spaces, is known as dermatomycosis. According to statistics, every fifth inhabitant of the planet suffers from a fungus. Its prevalence is due to its high risk of infection and persistence in the environment.

What is the reason for the step between the toes?

The disease is spread through direct contact with a sick person, as well as through wearing someone else's shoes, contaminated towels, and toiletries. The fungus between the toes usually needs warmth and high humidity to grow and multiply. Because of this, the public swimming pool, sauna, and gym are ideal places to get a fungal infection.

Even with close contact with the pathogen, the susceptibility to infections is very individual. It is determined by factors like

  • immunodeficiency against the background of concomitant diseases, chronic foci of infection in the body, vitamin deficiency, taking a number of drugs (antibiotics, glucocorticosteroids, cytostatics).
  • Endocrine disorders, especially diabetes mellitus and its complications - diabetic foot, obesity, impaired microcirculation of the lower extremities, allergic dermatitis, varicose veins.
  • Injury to the integrity of the skin (small wounds, maceration, abrasions) due to uncomfortable shoes when performing a trim pedicure, prolonged walking and exercise.
  • Individual characteristics of the skin in the interdigital folds: increased sensitivity (e. g. in babies), excessive dryness or, conversely, excessive sweating and a special composition of the secretion of sweat glands.
  • Features of the anatomy of the feet, especially the tightness between the toes, especially in combination with the wearing of tight shoes. By the way, the most popular places for fungus colonization are the narrowest spaces between 3, 4 and 5 fingers. The first toe of the foot is often affected, but in this case the development of onychomycosis (damage to the nail plate) is more characteristic.

The last and most important role is not played by the cleanliness of a person, since all types of fungal infections find fertile soil without basic rules of personal hygiene.

How does it appear and how do you recognize the first signs?

Fungus between the toes

Initially, the fungus between the toes manifests itself as itching, slight discomfort in the interdigital spaces, later as peeling, cracking and hyperemia. In the future, as a fungal infection progresses, different combinations of symptoms are possible depending on the form of the disease course.

  1. The deleted form is characterized by a mild clinical picture. Dry skin and small cracks (mainly between the little toe and the fourth toe) are combined with mild itching. The disease does not attract attention for a long time, which is more common in children.
  2. Palmar-plantar - manifests itself in a pronounced detachment of the epidermis with unbearable itching and burning in the affected area. The skin in the interdigital spaces is hyperemic, covered with cracks, scales that have almost loosened, on the toes (mainly on the first) the formation of a yellow corpus callosum is possible.
  3. Intertriginous - the most common form occurs alone or against the background of an existing peeling. Along with deep cracks and erosions, accompanied by painful sensations and burning, it is characterized by edema between the toes.
  4. Dyshidrotic - it is characterized by the formation of small vesicles (vesicles) in the interdigital folds that tend to fuse. Instead of the opened bubbles, what remains is weeping erosion, which eventually becomes encrusted. In the case of bacterial infection, the serous contents of the vesicles become cloudy and turn into pus.

This classification is rather arbitrary, since the forms of dermatomycosis merge into one another during its longer course or can occur simultaneously.

Without proper treatment, the fungus that initially appears in the area between the toes can spread to the entire foot and occupy the nail plates (in 80 to 100% of advanced cases). In onychomycosis, the nail changes color (from yellow to brownish brown), flakes off and deforms, giving it an unattractive appearance ("fingernail"). Perhaps painful ingrowth or complete death.

Another tremendous complication of long-term fungal skin lesion is the addition of a bacterial infection, which is accompanied by the formation of purulent foci, fever, and other symptoms of intoxication.


A specialist can diagnose a fungus between the toes from an external exam and an examination of the scratches from the affected area. He will also prescribe competent therapy, taking into account the causative agent and predisposing factors. Both traditional therapies and alternative methods can be used in the treatment of fungal infections.


Antifungal drugs are prescribed topically in the form of ointments, lotions and suspensions, creams, gels, varnishes, etc. Before applying drugs to the skin of interdigital folds, it is necessary to clean the skin from scales and conduct hygiene procedures. The cleaning is best done with a chlorhexidine solution.

Systemic administration of antimycotics in tablet form is also possible. Intravenous infusion of antifungal agents is only indicated in severe systemic mycosis, which rarely complicates the interdigital fungus.

Traditional medicine

In uncomplicated situations, tried and tested folk recipes help to conquer the fungus between the toes. The most effective:

  • Compresses soaked in a solution of strong tea and vinegar (in a ratio of 2: 1) and placed in the interdigital spaces for several hours.
  • Foot bath based on an aqueous solution of sea salt, followed by a treatment of the feet with tea tree oil or aloe juice.
  • Lubricate the affected skin with 70% vinegar. To avoid burns, the duration of the procedure is no more than a minute. Upon completion, the feet are thoroughly treated in soapy water.
  • Treat the wrinkles between your fingers with a cream made from minced garlic (2 cloves) and butter (100 grams).
  • Lotions made from an aqueous herbal extract - chamomile, violet and string, taken in equal parts.

Treatment of a fungal infection between the fingers, especially in advanced situations, is difficult and requires an integrated approach and time. But do not forget about the prevention of fungus (immune correction, wearing personal shoes that do not cause discomfort, compliance with hygiene standards, etc. ). By following the basic rules, you can not only avoid recurrence of a yeast infection, but you can also forget what it is forever.