Athlete's foot, or tinea pedis, is a common and uncomfortable fungal infection of the feet that causes itching, scaling, and redness of the skin on the soles of the feet and between the toes. Dermatophytes cause it; microscopic fungi that grow in warm, moist areas of the body — such as under your nails and between your toes — and cause infections.
Athlete's foot is the most common foot infection among adults, but it can also appear in children. This highly contagious fungal disease can be transmitted by direct contact with someone who has it and by sharing their clothes, shoes, linens, mats, or rugs. It's best not to walk barefoot in these areas, so keep your feet clean by wearing flip-flops or sandals when you're walking around your home.
Your podiatrist should be able to tell if you have athlete's foot just by looking at your foot. But they might want to take a sample of the fungi from your skin for testing. They can do this with a cotton swab. Your podiatrist may also give you an antifungal cream or lotion that you should generally use for 1 to 3 months to really get rid of your foot problems.
What Is Athlete's Foot?
Athlete's foot is a skin infection that can affect the feet, heel and toes — or other body areas. It's caused by a type of fungus that typically causes infections in warm, moist places like locker rooms, shower floors, and swimming pools. Nobody wants to get athlete's foot — which is spread through contact with floors, surfaces, shoes and socks that an infected person has worn — but there are ways to prevent it.
Preventing Athletes Foot
The most effective ways to prevent athlete's foot include:
- Wash and dry your feet thoroughly, especially between the toes and under the nail beds. Ensure your nails are cut neatly and not too short or curved.
- Keep your feet dry in public baths and showers.
- Always wear socks & shoes in public areas.
- Change socks at least once daily if you notice a lot of sweating. We recommend moisture-wicking socks; they help to prevent sweaty feet.
- Opt for shoes that both fit well and are breathable to prevent moisture build-up. It would help if you also tried to rotate which shoes you wear daily to allow the others to thoroughly dry and air out. You can also apply antifungal sprays or powders to your shoes to prevent fungus build-up.
- Do not share towels, socks or shoes with anyone else.
Athlete's foot is a common skin affliction that can affect all ages, including children. The occurrence of athlete's foot is not limited to athletes. This fungus infection can occur when normal foot perspiration and warmth are present. This fungal infection will have a look of small red areas with white edges between the toes.
Infections of this nature typically start as itching and burning on the soles of the feet, between the toes, or on the sides of the toe webs. Left untreated, athlete's foot may spread to other parts of the feet and body.
Some other common symptoms of athletes foot include:
- Cracking and peeling of the skin
- Red, painful or scaly skin. Most commonly on the bottom of your feet.
- An itching or burning kind of sensation. Most often particularly noticeable between the toes.
- Thick, discoloured or crumbly toenails. (This is usually indicative of a fungal nail infection. Fungal nail infections can often begin as a result of athletes foot infection spreading to other areas of your feet or body.)
Diagnosis and Treatment Of Athletes Foot
Early diagnosis and treatment is vital when it comes to treating athletes foot. You can make an educated guess at home whether you are suffering from a fungal infection in your feet, based on the symptoms you are suffering. If they match the symptoms we described earlier, it's likely that you have a fungal infection, but, the only way to be sure is to book an appointment with a podiatrist for a test to confirm that you have a fungal infection. During your appointment, your podiatrist will take skin samples and send them to a laboratory for testing. Your podiatrist will then advise you on the best course of treatment; this could be the prescription of oral and topical antifungal medications, shoe cleaning treatments to remove residual fungus and advice on preventing them in the future.
Podiatrists are able to diagnose, treat and prevent athlete's foot as well as many other foot conditions. If you are suffering with painful feet for any reason, contact us today to book an appointment, we will be happy to help you.