About Athlete’s Foot
Also called Tinea Pedis, Athlete’s Foot is a contagious fungal infection that affects the skin on the feet. The fungal infection that can lead to intense itching, cracked, blistered or peeling areas of skin, redness and scaling. It can occur on moist, waterlogged skin, usually between the fourth and fifth toes initially, or on dry, flaky skin around the heels, in the arches, or elsewhere on the foot. Large painful fissures (cracks) can also develop and the condition can also spread along all five toes and sometimes to the soles of the feet if left untreated.
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Treatment and Prevention of Athlete’s Foot
Vigilant foot hygiene can prevent Athlete’s Foot. Daily washing of the feet with soap and water followed by thorough drying, especially between the toes, is important. Wearing dry, airy shoes and socks, not borrowing footwear from others, avoiding tight hosiery and using anti-fungal foot powder all help to keep the feet dry and infection-free. Disinfect footwear wherever possible.
Wear flip-flops around the pool, in the locker-rooms and in public showers. This will not only ensure that you don’t leave your dead skin around for others to pick up but will stop you picking up other species of fungus.
Fungal infections can be stubborn and difficult to treat and can become chronic. Athlete’s foot can often be treated with over-the-counter topical anti-fungal medications. The fungus can migrate to beneath the toenails, causing Fungal Nail infection that can be difficult to eradicate.
What causes Athlete’s Foot?
Athlete’s foot occurs when the tinea fungus grows on the feet. You can catch the fungus through direct contact with an infected person, or by touching surfaces contaminated with the fungus. The fungus thrives in warm, moist environments. It’s commonly found in showers, on locker room floors, and around swimming pools.
Anyone can get athlete’s foot, but certain behaviour increases the risk of infection. These are:
- visiting public places barefoot, especially swimming pools, changing rooms and showers
- sharing towels, socks or shoes with an infected person
- keeping your feet wet for long periods of time
- having sweaty feet (hyperhidrosis)
- wearing tight-fitting, closed-toe shoes
- having a minor skin or nail injury on your foot