Athlete’s foot, also
called tinea pedis, is a common fungal infection of the skin of the feet. This
fungus is contagious and therefore it generally is contracted through direct or
indirect contact in public places (like showers or locker rooms). Once
transmitted, the fungus grows in warm and moist environments, including
footwear. Athlete's foot may last a very short time or may be long-term and
Symptoms of Athlete's Foot
Itching, most notably in the creases between your toes
Redness and scaling of the skin in affected areas
Blisters or open sores
Cracked or blistered skin
Discoloration, thickening, crumbling of the nails as the fugus progresses
Treating Athlete's Foot
The best treatment
for athlete’s foot is proper foot care and hygiene in order to prevent the
infection in the first place. Once athlete's foot has developed, self-care can
usually help to eradicate the fungus. The skin of the foot should be kept clean
and dry. Wash the feet with warm soap and water and rinse completely. Dry the
area carefully by patting dry, rather than rubbing, the outer layers of skin.
Wear clean socks and change socks and shoes often. Over-the-counter antifungal
powders or creams, may help control the infection. Ask the pharmacist for
information about medication for athlete's foot, and follow the application
instructions. It may take several weeks for this treatment to be effective.
Severe or chronic infection may require further treatment by your doctor.
Prevention of Athlete's Foot
Proper foot care and
hygiene will help prevent athlete's foot. Use proper footwear for your sport, and change your
shoes and socks if they become too wet or sweaty. Another tip is to keep two
pairs of shoes and switch them daily so you always have a clean (or at least
dry) pair for activity. Keeping your feet dry is important so that the fungus
has no place to live. Using a talc powder can also help keep the feet dry. You
should also wear some sort of non-slip sandal in locker rooms to avoid picking
up the fungus from someone else.
Athlete’s foot is one of the most common of all foot ailments.
Generally it is contracted in public places. Some cases, however, do indicate an
underlying problem. If you are at high risk for diabetes or HIV infection you
should see your doctor to receive a proper diagnosis and rule out any underlying
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