What is athlete’s foot?
If you have itchy, smelly or blistering feet that follow you around and never just go away, chances are you are suffering from athlete’s foot. But just what is “athlete’s foot”?
Tinea pedis, more commonly known as athlete’s foot, is a fungal infection that occurs on various parts of the foot. The most common area for the problem to begin is between the toes.
Is it contagious? Yes it is. It can spread the fungus from person to person or from a person to a thing and vice versa.
The problem can spread or reoccur if certain precautions are not taken to treat the skin and any surfaces that might have been affected by its presence.
What causes athlete’s foot?
Athlete’s foot is caused by dampness and generally occurs in warm places.
The perfect breeding ground for the fungus is between the toes because it is the most likely spot to gather and accumulate moisture from sweat, showers and swimming pool areas.
While athlete’s foot can be so distracting, it is otherwise easy to treat and even easier to prevent. Keeping the feet dry, especially between the toes, is one of the best ways to prevent athlete’s foot.
Catching athlete’s foot is also possible through someone who is infected with it or through spores left on surfaces. For instance, when someone who has athlete’s foot puts their shoes on, the fungus could easily be passed to the shoe. It then grows inside the shoe and each time someone else puts the shoes on, they run the risk of contracting it.
The same thing goes for surfaces around a swimming pool or locker room. The best way to avoid catching athlete’s foot in this manner is to wear shoes when going to such high risk areas.
How can you determine if you have athlete’s foot?
Symptoms of athletes foot include itching and burning between your toes, cracked skin on the foot and peeling of the skin. In severe cases, blisters may occur.
There could be other causes for those symptoms and the only way to confirm if it is athlete’s foot is to visit a doctor. The physician will usually be able to determine if it is athlete’s foot by looking at it and it does not need further testing to give the diagnosis.
There may be other problems causing the symptoms and if treatment has not helped in the past, the doctor may then perform tests to discover if there is another or different root cause.
How to cure and treat athlete’s foot
There are several over-the-counter and topical antifungal medications that can help get rid of the problem. The doctor may offer a prescription strength medication for advanced cases.
Follow the doctor’s orders to help prevent future cases from arising. The best cure is really prevention.
Preventative Measures and Best Treatment Athlete’s Foot
Athlete’s foot can be prevented by following a few simple steps:
- Thoroughly dry your feet after a bath, shower or swimming activity.
- Change socks often if you are involved in a lot of physical activity that might make your feet sweat.
- Do not touch someone else’s feet with yours, especially someone who shows signs of having the problem.
- Always wear shoes in public areas such as locker rooms and pools.
If left unattended, athlete’s foot can cause greater issues.
For instance, a serious infection could spread to your toenails, causing them to fall off. These things can be prevented with proper foot care. It is much easier to prevent the problem than it is to get rid of it.
Without medication and treatment, athlete’s foot can resolve itself in 30–40% of cases. But of course, treatment is always better, so if you are in doubt please visit your professional caregiver.
Disclaimer: This information is general in its nature and not meant to replace the advice of your doctor.