What is Athlete’s foot?
It is an infection of the skin on someones foot and caused by a fungus. It can appear on any part of you foot.
Signs and symptoms?
- Commonly found between the toes.
- Usually it is very itchy and can sometimes burn.
- Has a white appearance.
- Can be painful and inflamed.
- Has a bad smell.
- Associated with sweaty feet and use of public bathing areas.
- Blistering and rash like appearance in the arch of the foot.
What are the causes?
It is caused by a fungus that grows on the skin.
People can get the fungus through contact with other infected people. Contact can be direct or indirect. Direct contact means physical touch with the infected person. Indirect touch can occur if you make use of public pools, showers or steam rooms. Sharing clothing such as shoes and socks also puts you at risk for catching the fungus.
Who can get it?
As the name suggests active people are at risk for catching the condition as they often make use of public bathing areas.
Athletes also have a problem with sweaty feet. Sweat can kill the bacteria on your feet that keeps fungus under control. If the bacteria is removed the fungus is free to spread all over your feet.
The condition usually affects active teens and young adults.
Fun Fact: Children don’t usually contract fungal infections unless they have problems with their immune systems.
Patients with poor immunity or sweat glad problems are also at risk.
Diagnosing Athlet’s foot.
The diagnosis is usually done by a podiatrist through in depth history taking and examination of skin on the soles of the foot.
Special tests can also be done to further diagnose the type of fungus and its sensitivity.
A podiatrist may choose to prescribe a topical or oral medication to treat the condition. Topical anti-fungal creams are usually effective enough to remove the fungus. Furthermore, a podiatrist may also prescribe a sterilizing agent to clean out shoes, socks, linen and cupboards to prevent re-infection. Similarly, tea tree oil foot baths are also effective in managing the condition.
- Wear cotton socks, to absorb sweat from the foot.
- Change socks regularly if you know your feet sweat a lot.
- Clean and sterility shoes, socks, linen and cupboards on a regular basis.
- Air out your shoes on a regular basis.
- Avoid being barefoot in public spaces.
- Never share shoes and socks.
Lastly, if Athlete’s foot goes untreated it can spread to infect other parts of the body such as:
- Finger and toenails
- Groin and armpits
In sever cases it can lead to loss of toe and fingernails.
If you think you have a fungal infection or any problems with your legs and feet your first stop should be your friendly local podiatrist.