Those warm, moist gaps between your toes and the cosy crevices within wrinkled folds of foot skin are paradise for the tinea pedis fungus – its effects more commonly known as athlete’s foot. Tinea pedis would like nothing more than to settle down to a feast of dead skin on the tired feet of an Olympic athlete. The fungal spores, pictured here in yellow using colour enhanced scanning electron microscopy, lie in wait in damp environments. If facilities are not carefully kept, the fungus could spread via sweaty socks and the soggy floors of changing rooms. Although now relatively easily treated and avoided, athlete’s foot could spell disaster in the pursuit of medals: when the fungus takes hold it can lead to itchy, stinging, skin or oozing and crusty blisters. Not ideal if you’re going for gold.
Written by Anthony Lewis
BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences (the new name for the MRC Clinical Sciences Centre) the website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biomedicine. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.