Tinea pedis or athlete’s foot is a highly contagious fungal infection oftentimes found on the feet. The fungus can also spread to the hands and toenails. Although it is not a serious condition, athlete’s foot can be very difficult to get rid of, sometimes lasting for years. However, if you have a weakened immune system or diabetes, you should seek medical advice as soon as possible.
Athlete’s foot is not life threatening. However, it can be rather painful and make it very challenging to walk. According to Harvard Health Publishing (Harvard Medical School), the early symptoms include patches or deep fissures in the skin particularly between the toes. Once the condition worsens, the skin can become itchy and red.
Sometimes the infected area can produce swelling. Further, the fungus can spread to the toenails and soles of the feet. At this point, the affected area can become thick and be colored a cloudy yellow or white. With advanced conditions, the rash spreads out across the sole of the foot and oozes foul smelling pus.
Being able to recognize athlete’s foot is an important factor in preventing the fungus from spreading further. There are numerous athlete’s foot symptoms to look for such as:
• Itching foot blisters
• The skin on the feet is raw
• Thick, discolored and brittle toenails
• Dry skin on the sides of the feet or soles
• The soles of the feet burn, sting and itch
• Burning, itching and stinging between the toes
• Toenails that easily pull away from the nail bed (onycholysis)
• Peeling and cracking on the feet, mostly the soles and between the toes
Nonetheless, if a condition worsens or you have any concerns about a foot rash or itch, seek professional medical advice as soon as possible.
Causes and Prevention
Although it is common for athletes to get Tinea pedis, everyone is susceptible in contacting this highly contagious fungus. In fact, you do not even have to be sports oriented to get this foot infection. Athlete’s foot got its name because the fungus is generally found in places that athletes most often visit such as locker rooms, showers, pools and spas. Moreover, it is not just a “man’s” condition; woman can also be infected with the fungus.
According to WebMD, athlete’s foot is actually the same fungus as ringworm and jock itch in a group called dermatophytes. However, athlete’s foot is found on the feet and jock itch is located in the groin area. This fungus thrives in moist warm areas like socks and damp shoes. It feeds on keratin which is a protein found in the skin, nails and hair. The fungus is spread through direct contact with the infection and also by skin particles on the floor, in shoes and towels.
Being at Risk
There are many variables that can increase your chances of contacting athlete’s foot. Rendering to WebMD, some of the risk factors include:
• Walking barefoot
• People with diabetes
• Constantly moist or wet feet
• People with impaired immune systems
• Wearing closed-toe and tight-fitting shoes
• Sharing towels, socks or shoes with someone infected
• Showering often in public places like a swimming pool or locker room
Getting Rid of Athlete’s Foot
There are several options for treating athlete’s foot depending on the severity of the infection:
Mild infection – there are fissures and scaly white patches with no itching or redness. Foot hygiene is important for; wash your feet on a regular basis. Make sure you dry your feet thoroughly, especially between the toes. Use antifungal powder on your socks and shoes. Also, an antifungal cream applied on the area may be helpful.
Consult a foot care specialist if a mild infection lasts more than two weeks or if you have a severe infection – there is itchy, red, blistered and peeling skin. As well, consult a professional about your skin condition if you have circulatory problems or diabetes.
American Foot and Leg Specialists
It is highly recommended that you seek a foot specialist if your infection worsens or lasts more than two weeks. One of the leading foot specialists in Atlanta Georgia and the surrounding area is the team at American Foot and Leg Specialists. In fact, the knowledgeable team of physicians has more than 100 years of combined experience plus maintains the highest levels of accreditation. Not only is their medical knowledge always improving with the most current surgical procedures and diagnostic techniques but their medical treatments for podiatric care are unmatched. The American Foot and Leg Specialists serve patients from Atlanta and nearby cities – East Point, Stockbridge, Locust Grove, Midtown, Forest Park and Fayetteville.
American Foot and Leg Specialists provide services to the South Atlanta Metro area including Fayette County, Cobb County, Douglas County, Fulton County, Clayton County and Henry County. Business hours are Monday thru Friday from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM.
Note: This post is not intended as professional medical advice. If you have medical questions or concerns about any athlete’s foot or other foot conditions, contact one of our team members at American Foot and Leg Specialists.
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