You might think that athlete's foot is a man's problem and the bunion, or hallux valgus, is a woman's problem. You'd be wrong. There are many female patients who knowingly or unknowingly carry the fungal infection on their feet, while some male bunion patients live with a painfully deformed toe.

Athlete's foot (mizumushi in Japanese) is perhaps the last thing many women would imagine suffering from. But a recent Japan Foot Week study by a group of physicians has revealed that women are far from immune from the condition. Among 12,500 Japanese patients who visited a dermatologist for various reasons in May last year, 40 percent were diagnosed as having athlete's foot. Half of these sufferers were women.

Twenty percent of people (both men and women) who visited a doctor for other dermatological complaints, the study found, also had athlete's foot -- and were totally unaware of the condition.