Home » Self-Care Promotion » Guideline on how to promote self-care: Athlete’s foot » 2. Identify and select common and specific patients’/general population self-care behaviours

2. Identify and select common and specific patients’/general population self-care behaviours

Identify and select common and specific patients’/general population self-care behaviours that you want to promote (depending on the context problem you want to address)

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Identify and select common and specific patients’/general population self-care behaviours
  • Specify and describe the population/patients that you want to address with the intervention
  • Identify the general and specific patients’/general population self-care behaviours that the intervention aims to promote

2.1. Specify and describe the patients/general population that you want to address with the self-care strategy

Depending on the results of the evaluation of the context and key issues and whether the strategy is general or specific to a minor condition, one should define the patients/general population that the interventions should be addressed to.

In doing so, consider:

  • Characteristics of the general population
  • People affected by the condition(s) the intervention is targeting
    • Demographic (including age and gender) and socio-economic characteristics
    • Possible co-morbidities
    • Health literacy, language, cultural traits

For the case of common athlete’s foot all the general population is affected by it, however it is common among teenagers and young adults that use occlusive footwear so, some of the strategies might have to be adapted to this specific target group.

However there are some specific groups that should have special considerations:

  • Children, pregnant women and elderly people for which some of the antifungal treatments might not be adequate
  • People with co-morbidities, particularly for diabetes, for which athlete’s foot might more easily develop complications

2.2. Identify the general and specific patients’/general population self-care behaviours that the intervention aims to promote

A key step if you want to establish a strategy to promote self-care is to determine the ideal self-care behaviours. Establishing those ideal behaviours will guide the development of the strategy and it will help identifying the mechanisms that can hinder or facilitate the promotion of self-care.

Depending on the results of the analysis of your context and issues that you want to address you can identify different behaviours to promote.

The following table presents considerations specific to athlete’s foot for each of the main phases of self-care as well as some reflections regarding the patients/general population needs to achieve those goals.

All the behaviours included are considered relevant, however this classification might help to focus the self-care promotion strategy in a specific target.

Main stages of the cycle of self-care
Main self-care behaviours to promote
Prevention and healthy lifestyles
  • Performing proper hygiene of the feet and keeping them dry interdigitally. Washing the feet with soap and water and wiping up the area completely and carefully. Trying to do this at least twice a day.
  • Using natural fabrics in stockings and socks (yarn, cotton, etc.).
  • Wearing appropriate footwear. Wearing shoes that are airy and preferably made of a natural material like leather. It helps to alternate shoes each day, so they can dry completely. Avoiding shoes with plastic coating.
  • Not using other people’s shoes or socks. Socks should be changed as often as possible to keep feet dry; this should be done at least once a day.
  • Using slippers when changing or showering in public places and avoiding using other people’s towels.

It should also be noted that there are some individual/genetic factors that favor it include suffering from peripheral vascular disease, diabetes mellitus or immunologic disease.

Symptom recognition & evaluation
  • Identifying symptoms associated with athlete’s foot:
    • appearance of intensely itchy
    • Sometimes painful,
    • Red blisters between the toes or on the soles of the feet
    • Sometimes, it will simply look like dry, flaky skin on the feet

Patients could be encouraged to check visual materials such as online pictures to aid them in the recognition of signs.

Treatment decision-making
  • Using appropriate over-the-counter antifungal products.
Treatment adherence
  • Being aware of the importance of completing the treatment fully. For example:
    • Over-the-counter antifungal creams or powders should be applied 1 to 2 weeks after the infection is cured not to risk infection reappearance.
  • Implementing the treatment following the directions of the product.
Self-monitoring & early detection of complications Athlete’s foot is a minor and self-limiting condition, however it can present some risks depending on the evolution and the characteristics and/or situation of the person affected.

  • If athlete’s foot does not improve in 2 to 4 weeks and reappears frequently, medical attention should be sought. Antibiotics could be needed to treat secondary bacterial infections.
  • Emergency visit in case foot is swollen and feel warm to the touch, especially if there are red lines, as these are symptoms of a possible bacterial infection. Other symptoms may be the presence of pus, secretion and fever.
  • Medical visit is always advisable if the patient is suffering from diabetes, peripheral vascular disease or has impaired immune system.
  • Recommendations to help prevent the spread of athlete’s foot are equivalent to those that should be taken in prevention of athlete’s foot.