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Athlete's Foot - Causes, Symptoms and Treament


Athlete's foot is a fungal infection of the skin, usually between the toes, caused by dermatophytes. The skin becomes itchy, sore and peels away. Athlete's foot is also known as tinea pedis or foot ring-worm. The disease can be treated, but it is very difficult to cure the disease copletely.

A skin infection caused by a fungus called Trichophyton which can thrive and infect the upper layer of the skin when the feet remain moist, warm, and irritated. This fungus grows more well in warm, damp areas. It mostly occur in and around swimming pools, showers, and locker rooms. That explains why tinea pedis is called athletes foot: it occurs frequently among athletes who use these facilities.

In some people tinea pedis can get so bad that it may form blisters. Not all foot rashes are tinea pedis, only those caused by fungus growing on the skin. If left untreated the condition can spread to other parts of the foot, hands and can even affect the face.

This condition can cause a great deal of discomfort and can affect an individual's quality of life. The skin involved may be red, swollen and may contain sticky fluid.

Causes of Athlete's Foot:

  • Athlete's foot is usually caused by parasites on the skin called dermatophytes.
  • If you keep your feet wet for prolonged periods of time, may lead to athlete's foot.
  • A minor skin or nail injury, is a common cause of athlete's foot.
  • We all have one or more of the fungi that can cause athlete's foot on our bodies. They feed on dead skin cells and are usually harmless.
  • It can be spread by direct skin-to-skin contact and indirectly through towels, shoes, floors, etc.
  • Not changing your socks on a regular basis can also encourage the formation of fungi in between the toes.
  • Athlete's foot is usually caused by anthropophile fungi. The most common species are Microsporum, Epidermophyton and Trichophyton.
  • This fungus cancan also be formed by sharing the shoes of an infected person.
  • It may spread between individuals easily, some of the common places is found within bathrooms, showers, swimming pools and changing rooms.
  • The fungus can also be transmitted by contact with pets who carry it on their fur.
  • If you wear closed shoes, especially if they are plastic-lined, they increases the chances of the occurence of athlete's foot.
  • People with excessively sweaty feet are more prone to this condition.

Symptoms of Athlete's Foot:

Symptoms of athlete's foot can be mild or severe. In more progressed stages of fungal infection, the toenails may become involved causing a thickened, yellowish appearance of the nail.

The most Common Symptoms of Athlete's Foot includes:

  • The early symptoms of athlete's foot includes- a red itchy rash in the spaces between the toes and possibly small pustules.
  • The skin reddens and its furrows become marked, resembling chalked lines.
  • The symptoms of Athlete foot include itching and burning feet. The skin frequently peels and, in some particular cases, there may be some pain and bleeding as well.
  • The athlete's foot is characterized by cracking , moist, white, scaly lesions or sores between the toes.
  • If it is not treated earlier, a similar rash may appear on one or both palms.
  • After a while, the rash becomes scaly, resembling eczema.
  • Itching, most notably in the creases between your toes.
  • During athlete's foot, small degree of scaling may be seen.
  • The infection can spread to the rest of the foot and other parts of the body.
  • Redness, scaling and cracks can be easily seen on the skin in affected areas.
  • In some rare cases, this infection may cause painful blistery lesions, which can be weepy and may have a strong odor.

Treatment of Athlete's Foot:

Some of the Effective Treatment and Prevention Tips for Athlete's Foot includes:

  • Some antifungal creams like Daktacort HC, contain hydrocortisone, a very useful component for curing red and inflamed skin, as the hydrocortisone reduces inflammation and irritation. They should not be used for any longer than seven days.
  • Wear cotton socks (as they will help to absorb moisture), and change your socks daily.
  • Don't wear tight, closed-toe shoes. Moisture and heat cause athlete's foot fungus to thrive.
  • Don't go barefoot in public places. Wear flip-flops.
  • Everday wear washed socks only, and wash your socks in hot water.
  • Athlete's foot can be treated locally with antifungal creams, sprays, liquids and powders that are available from pharmacists without a prescription. One of the most effective creams is Lamisil Cream for the treatment of athlete's foot.
    Imidazole antifungals are the most effective for athlete's foot and include clotrimazole and miconazole .
  • Treatment should be continued for two weeks after the symptoms have disappeared to ensure the infection has been removed completely.
  • Keep your feet thoroughly dry, especially between your toes.
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