Intended for healthcare professionals

Feature Christmas 2016: Being Well

Open toe sandals syndrome

BMJ 2016; 355 doi: (Published 15 December 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;355:i6496
  1. Andrew M Borman, deputy director and principal clinical scientist,
  2. Elizabeth M Johnson, director
  1. Public Health England National Mycology Reference Laboratory, Bristol, UK
  1. Correspondence to: Andy.Borman{at}

Is fear of summer foot exposure contributing to the workload of mycology labs, ask Andrew Borman and Elizabeth Johnson

The diagnosis and management of infections are common uses of resources and finances in many healthcare settings, including the NHS. Our laboratory routinely tests for dermatophytes, a group comprising three types of fungi that infect and grow in dead keratin. These fungi can cause infections of the skin, hair, and nails (tinea corporis, also known as ringworm), groin (tinea cruris), scalp (tinea capitis), and skin of the feet (tinea pedis, also known as athlete’s foot). Dermatophyte infection of the nails is known as tinea unguium. At our laboratory we receive and process samples of skin, hair, and nails from patients across the south-west of England who present to general practitioners with suspected dermatophytosis.

Seasonal variation

Over the years we have …

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