Symptoms and Cures for Athlete’s Foot
Athlete's Foot: What is it?
Athlete's foot is a skin problem caused by a fungus. The infection often starts on the skin in between the toes, but can spread to other areas. It can cause the skin to be scaly and itchy and may eventually cause a break in the skin, which can be painful. Tinea pedis is another name for Athlete's foot.
What causes Athlete's Foot?
The fungus that causes Athlete's foot is present all over the place in the environment. It is frequently present on the floors of public showers, locker rooms, and exercise facilities. It tends to grow most often on sweaty, consistantly wet, or insufficiently dried feet (especially in shoes or socks without proper ventilation).
Symptoms of Athlete's Foot may include:
- itching of the skin
- cracking and peeling skin, usually between the last two toes
- soreness between the toes
- occasionally blisters will form
How is Athlete's Foot diagnosed?
Your podiatrist is usually able to diagnose athlete's foot after examining your skin. Your podiatrist may also take a skin sample to test for fungus. If your podiatrist believes you may also be suffering from a bacterial infection, the sample may be tested for bacteria as well.
How is Athlete's Foot treated?
It is possible for Athlete's foot to clear up on its own without any treatment, but the majority of Athlete's foot infection are treated using topical medication. If the infection is severe or if the infection is widespread, your podiatrist may prescribe an oral medication as well.
How long will the effects last?
The acute stage of the infection usually lasts one to ten days. A chronic Athlete's foot infection may continue on for months or even years. If a severe case of Athlete's foot is left untreated, it can develop into a serious bacterial infection. Eventually, the infection can spread to the toenails, which are much harder to treat effectively.
What can I do to help prevent Athlete's Foot?
The following guidelines will help prevent you to Athlete's foot. However, following these guidelines does not guarantee that you will never become infected with Athlete's foot.
- Wear cotton socks when exercising
- Change your socks daily
- Wear sandals or shoes with good ventilation or porous upper material (a natural material such as canvas or leather rather than manmade material)
- Air your shoes out when you are not wearing them
- Wear flip-flops or shower shoes when you shower in public facilities, such as a locker room
- Dry your feet very well, especially between the toes
- Apply an antifungal powder to your feet
- Disinfect the shower and locker room floors