Everything You Need To Know About ‘Foot Rot’—Every NSF’s Worst Enemy


Last Updated on 2021-01-07 , 3:29 pm

Most Full-time National Servicemen (NSFs) would have heard of, seen or experienced foot rot during their stint in the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF).

But did you know that the term “foot rot” actually refers to the rotting of hooves in hooved animals?

Being the lazy Singaporeans that we are, we refer to fungal infections on our foot as foot rot, simply because, well, it appears like it is rotting away.

Plus, it stinks.

Here are the ins and outs of foot rot, correctly known as Athlete’s Foot.

Who might get it?

Contrary to its name or the name of the article, it doesn’t only happen to athletes or NSFs. Anyone living in a hot and humid environment (which Singapore absolutely is) can get it.


What is it?

It is a skin infection caused by microscopic fungus that lives on the surface of our skin. There are at least four kinds of fungus that can cause Athlete’s foot, and the most common is Trichophyton rubrum. That’s a mouthful.

When does it happen?

If it happens often to NSFs, you might be able to guess from the amount of time they spend wearing their combat boots.

When your feet are trapped in a warm and moist environment for a long time, you’re in a fungal infection primetime.

Not only that, but you might also get it when you share communal toilets and baths.


Which is why you should always wear a pair of slippers when you shower in camps.

Where does it usually affect?

We all know that it affects the foot from the name “foot rot”, but it most often affects the area between our toes, especially between the two smallest toes which are more often closed together.

However, it can also start from dry, scaly skin on the sole of your foot before it cracks open, or come in the form of blisters on the softer parts of your foot. It can also start spreading upwards to the skin around your ankle.

Why does it happen?

These fungi feed on dead hair, toenail and skin tissue, and your foot is the one part of your body where the warm and moist conditions that these fungi thrive in are present.

Moreover, your feet take a lot of punishment because of all the walking that we do, so there is plenty of dead tissue for them to feed on.

How do you deal with it?

An antifungal cream will do the job, but it will take at least a week before you will start to see results.

While applying the medication, keep your feet as dry and cool as possible by airing them and applying foot powder.

Of course, the best way is to let your foot rest…in the open.

Featured Image: VidEst / Shutterstock.com

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