Athlete's foot (tinea pedis) is a common incessant infection of the foot caused by a microscopic fungus that lives on dead tissue of the hair, toenails, and outer skin layers. Athlete's foot causes scaling, flaking and itching of the influenced skin. Blisters and cracked skin can also happen, leading to exposed raw tissue, pain, swelling, and inflammation. Athlete's foot is infectious, and may be passed through direct contact, or contact with items such as shoes, stockings, and shower or pool surfaces. This fungus eats old skin cells. And majority of them can be found on the feet.
Though athlete's foot occurs majorily among teen and young adult guys, kids and women can get it, too. People with sweaty or wet feet are at risk. The condition was fairly unfrequent before human beings started wearing shoes. When the feet, or other areas of the body, stay dank, warm and irritated, this fungus can flourish and infect the upper layer of the skin. Athlete's foot frequently affects the spaces between your toes, but it can spread to your toenails and the soles and sides of your feet.
Athlete's foot derives its name as athletes often get it. If the fungus spreads to your nails, they may become discolored, thick, and even fragmentize. Walking barefoot where others also walk barefoot is one way the fungus can get on your feet in the first place. The fungus which causes Athlete foot can be present on floors and in socks and clothing. Often, athlete's foot reacts well to over-the-counter (nonprescription) treatments you can apply to your skin.
If your shoes are so compact that they squeeze your toes together, this inspires moisture to accumulate between your toes and provokes fungus. More serious cases may need prescription medications. Many cases of athlete's foot can be traced to use of a public recreational amenity, such as a spa, swimming pool, or locker room shower. The beginning stage of infection usually only lasts 1-10 days, but a persistent, untreated infection can remain for months or years.
Causes of Athlete's Foot
The common reasons and risk factor's of Athlete's Foot include the following:
- Athlete's foot is a fungal infection of the foot caused by parasites on the skin known as dermatophytes.
- Straight skin-to-skin contact and indirectly through towels, shoes, floors, etc.
- Trichophyton rubrum.
- Wearing poorly ventilated shoes and socks which harbor perspiration provide an ideal breeding ground for the germs which rapidly multiply to cause athlete's foot.
- A secondary infection with bacteria that take advantage of the damaged skin.
- Contact with pets who carry it on their fur.
Symptoms of Athlete's Foot
Some symptoms related to Athlete's Foot are as follows:
- Cracked, flaking, peeling skin between the toes.
- Continous itching of the skin on the sole of the foot.
- If the condition is not cured, a similar rash may appear on one or both palms.
- Redness, and scaling along the sides and soles of the feet.
- If the fungus spreads to your nails, they may become discolored, thick, and even crumble.
Treatment of Athlete's Foot
Here is list of the methods for treating Athlete's Foot:
- The infection is usually treated with topical antifungal agents like miconazole, itraconazole, terbinafine and a keratolytic such as salicylic acid.
- For mild situations, your doctor may prescribe you to apply a prescription or over-the-counter (nonprescription) antifungal lotion, powder or spray.
- If your fungal infection is severe or doesn't reacts to topical medicine, your doctor may give you a prescription oral medication (such as Itraconazole, Fluconazole, Terbinafine).
- Your doctor can advice an oral antibiotic if you have an companioning bacterial infection.
- Topical terbinafine cream is available OTC, and desire only 1 to 2 weeks of treatment, but is more costly than Imidazole creams.