Athlete’s Foot Causes & Treatment
Athlete’s foot (tinea pedis) is a fungal infection that usually begins between the toes. It commonly occurs in people whose feet have become very sweaty while confined within tight-fitting shoes. The fungal infection is called athlete’s foot because it’s commonly seen in athletes.
Athlete’s foot isn’t serious, but sometimes it’s hard to cure. If you have diabetes or a weakened immune system and suspect you have athlete’s foot, you should call your doctor right away.
Athlete’s Foot Causes & Treatment
In the summer, it’s more important than ever to watch out for the telltale symptoms of athlete’s foot. Here’s everything you should know about this uncomfortable — but completely curable — condition.
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. Though anyone can suffer the ill side effects of athlete’s foot, particularly at-risk individuals include:
- People who wear tightly fitting shoes on a daily basis
- Wear the same shoes every day
- Share linens, mats and shoes with other people
- People who like to walk barefoot, especially in community spaces
Keep in mind that athlete’s foot is a common fungus for your feet, but this infection can easily spread to other parts of your body. This includes your hands, your nail beds, your underarms, and even your groin.
What are the symptoms of athlete’s foot?
There are many possible symptoms of athlete’s foot, which include:
- itching, stinging, and burning between your toes or on soles of your feet
- blisters on your feet that itch
- cracking and peeling skin on your feet, most commonly between your toes and on your soles
- dry skin on your soles or sides of your feet
- raw skin on your feet
- discolored, thick, and crumbly toenails
Athlete’s Foot Treatment options
There are a number of treatment options available to cope with the symptoms of athlete’s foot. These include a variety of home treatments and topical medicines.
Home remedies: Your doctor might recommend you try using talcum powder in your shoes and socks to prevent the infection from spreading. This is because talcum powder is one of the best ways to reduce moisture in your feet. Without a moist environment in which to thrive, the fungal infection cannot spread or worsen. This is also an effective preventive measure for stopping potential infections in the first place.
Some people will also try soaking their feet in baking soda mixtures. Some studies have shown that baking soda has antifungal properties, according to Medical News Today. If these home remedies don’t work within two weeks of repeated treatment, you should rely on medicinal treatments provided by your doctor.
Medical treatments: More often than not, you will be prescribed a topical antifungal cream. These over-the-counter creams are often able to rid your body of the fungus within a week or so.
Here are just some of the OTC options your doctor may recommend:
If these options don’t work, then your doctor may prescribe a prescription-strength ointment or oral medication. In particularly severe cases, your doctor might also prescribe medications to cope with the symptoms of your infections. This might include a steroid to reduce swelling and inflammation or an antibiotic to reduce the risk of infection.
However, the best way to stop athlete’s foot from harming your health is preventing it from the start. You can stop athlete’s foot from spreading by drying your feet thoroughly, switching out the shoes you wear on a day-to-day basis, and wearing shower shoes when using communal showers. If you only have a few pairs of shoes, treat them every evening with a layer of talcum powder to stop moisture from accumulating in the nooks and crannies of your shoes.
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