What is an athlete’s foot?
Athlete’s foot, also known as tinea pedis or foot ringworm — is also known as athlete’s feet.
It is a contagious fungal disease that affects the feet. These infections can cause severe damage to the skin, hair and nails. Because it is often seen in athletes, the fungal infection has been called athlete’s feet.
A fungal nail infection is known as onychomycosis.
Although it is not serious, these fungal infections can be difficult to treat. You should immediately contact your doctor if you suspect that you may have such problem.
what are the causes of these fungal infections ?
Tinea fungus can grow on the feet and cause athlete’s foot. The fungus can be contracted by direct contact with infected persons or touching surfaces that are contaminated. The fungus thrives best in moist, warm environments. It is most common in bathrooms, locker rooms, and around swimming pool areas.
These infections can be caused by fungi and other organisms:
Tinea pedicis is caused by dermatophyte fungal infections. These fungi require keratin to grow and can cause skin, hair and nail infections.
- dermatophytes, such as Trichophyton rubrum, T. interdigitale
- yeasts, such as Candida albicans
- molds, such as Scopulariopsis brevicaulis
What are the signs of athlete’s feet?
Athlete’s foot can present in many ways, including:
- Itching, burning, and stinging between your toes and soles of your feet
- Itches Your feet with blisters
- Cracking and peeling of skin on your feet, primarily between your toes or on your soles
- Dry skin on the soles and sides of your feet
- Raw skin on your feet
- thickened, crumbly, and discolored toenails
- Toenails that pull out from the nail bed
Which part of the foot is it?
Both can occur in different parts of the foot.
Tinea pedis usually starts between the toes. It’s most common between the 4th & 5th space. Athlete’s foot is sometimes used by some people to refer to inflammation between the toes.
Tinea can spread to the sole and sides of the feet. It can also spread down to the sole of the foot. Tinea pedis may occur with fungal infections of the hands, feet, nails or groin in some cases.
One toe nail, one fingernail or multiple nails can be affected by onychomycosis. It affects both the big and little toenails.
Tinea pedis can happen in any age, but it is more common in men and young adultsTrusted source.
Tinea pedis can also be caused by other risk factors, such as:
- heavy boots or sport shoes
- Excessive sweating
- underlying conditions such as Diabetes
- Certain medications, like corticosteroids and medications that suppress the immune response
- Hot and humid environments
- Walking barefoot in public spaces like changing rooms.
- Long-term exposure to water
Onychomycosis is a serious condition. The causes of onychomycosis are quite similar. It happens basically in older age people, or those having diabetes, hypertensions, psoriasis. The obese people are also more prone to this infection.
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How can you diagnose athlete’s feet?
An athlete’s foot may be diagnosed by a doctor based on the symptoms. If you are unsure if it is fungal infection, your doctor might order a skin test.
The most common test for athlete’s foot is a skin lesions potassium hydroxide examination. The doctor will remove the infected area and place it in potassium hydroxide. The KOH kills all normal cells but leaves the fungal cells unaffected so that they can be easily seen under a microscope.
What is the treatment for foot fungus?
Many athletes can treat foot fungus or athlete’s foot with OTC (over-the-counter) topical antifungal medication. Your doctor may recommend prescription-strength oral antifungal medication if OTC remedies don’t work. Home remedies may be recommended by your doctor to clear up the infection.
Care at home
To dry out blisters, your doctor might recommend you soak your feet with salt water or diluted vinegar.
Tea tree oil has shown a good result in curing fungal foot infection. According to a 2002 study, 50 percent of the tea tree oil solution was effective in treating athlete’s feet in 64% participants.
Ask your doctor if tea tree oil can be used to treat athlete’s feet.
In some cases, complications can arise from athlete’s feet. Mild complications can include allergic reactions to the fungus that can cause blistering on the hands or feet. The fungal infection can also return even after treatment.
Secondary bacterial infections can lead to more serious complications. Your foot may become swollen and painful. Additional signs of a bacterial problem include pus, drainage, or fever.
The bacterial infection could also spread to your lymph system. An infection of the skin can lead to lymph nodes or infections in your lymphatic system.
These are some tips to avoid these infections:
To prevent tinea pedicis (or athlete’s feet) the American Academy of Dermatology Association recommends the following:
- Public areas should not be crowded with sandals or shoes that block the foot.
- Keep your feet dry
- Every day, wash and dry your feet
- Socks made from natural materials
- Alternate the shoes you wear every day
- Avoid sharing clothing or footwear with others
- When you’re at home, go barefoot to air out your feet.
The AAD recommends these preventative measures:
- When the weather is warm, wear flip-flops or sandals.
- Every day, wear clean socks
- If possible, alternate shoes each day
- Trimming the nails helps keep them short
- Before using nail clippers, clean them.
- Keep your feet clean and dry
- Regularly moisturize the skin around your nails and feet
When should you see a doctor?
If there are any changes in the skin, nails or feet of a person, they should consult a doctor.
- Color changes
- Modifications to the texture
If a person has tried all-natural remedies but the condition does not improve, they should seek medical advice.
Onychomycosis and tinea pedis are common fungal infections. Fungal infections are more common in hot and humid environments.
To reduce the chance of infection, a person should take the prescribed preventive steps.
To prevent infection, it is important to seek medical advice if you notice changes in the skin and nails of your feet.