29 Jun Do you have Athlete’s Foot? Find out the Causes, Treatments and Preventions here.
What is Athlete’s Foot?
Athlete’s foot is a skin disease caused by a fungus. It most commonly occurs between the toes. Everyone is susceptible because our shoes create a warm, dark, and moist environment which encourages fungal growth. Not all fungus conditions are athlete’s foot and other conditions, such as allergic reactions, bacterial infections, eczema, and psoriasis, may mimic athlete’s foot.
Sharing towels, shoes or socks with someone who has athlete’s foot or getting a pedicure with dirty equipment can transfer the infection. The warm and damp environment surrounding swimming pools, showers, and locker rooms are also a breeding ground for fungi. Historically, the infection was common among athletes who used recreation facilities frequently and so the term “athlete’s foot” became popular.
The signs of athlete’s foot can include the following:
- Dry skin
- Itching and burning
- Scaly or peeling skin
- Inflammation or redness
- Blisters and cracking of the skin
Athlete’s foot may spread to the soles of the feet and to the toenails. It can be spread to other parts of the body, notably the groin and underarms, by those who scratch the infection and then touch themselves elsewhere. It tends to spread within a family by walking barefoot in the home and not disinfecting the shower after possible contamination. The organisms causing athlete’s foot may also persist for long periods. Consequently, the infection may be spread by contaminated bed sheets or clothing to other parts of the body.
When to Visit a BioPed Chiropodist
If an apparent fungus foot condition does not respond to proper foot hygiene and there is no improvement within two weeks, consult a BioPed Chiropodist for medical treatment.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Your BioPed Chiropodist will determine if a fungus is truly the cause of the problem. If it is, a specific treatment plan, including the prescription of antifungal medication, applied topically or taken by mouth, will usually be suggested.
The soles of our feet have a special layer of skin that is not found much elsewhere on our body. This layer contributes the thickness of our soles and also makes the penetration of certain medications difficult. Hence, prescription antifungal drugs are frequently necessary. If the infection is caused by bacteria, antibiotics that are effective against a broad spectrum of bacteria may be prescribed.
It is important to keep the feet dry by dusting foot powder in shoes and hose. The feet should be bathed frequently and all areas around the toes dried thoroughly. Also, wearing white cotton socks that can be bleached and changing them at least twice a day will be helpful during treatment.
Speak with your BioPed Foot Specialist for more helpful tips.
It is not easy to prevent athlete’s foot because it is usually contracted in change rooms, showers, and swimming pool locker rooms where bare feet come in contact with the fungus. However, you can do much to prevent infection by practicing good foot hygiene:
- Wash feet daily with soap and water; dry carefully, especially between the toes
- Avoid walking barefoot; use shower shoes
- Reduce perspiration by using talcum powder
- Wear light and airy shoes
- Change shoes and hose regularly to decrease moisture
- Wear cotton blend (not 100% cotton) socks to keep your feet dry by moisture wicking; change them frequently if you perspire heavily