A common Tinea fungal infection, Athlete’s foot is known to commonly inflict the feet or more specifically the web space between the toes. The name originates from the higher likelihood of affecting individuals who participate in athletic activity. Symptoms can be irritating, however this fungal infection is not considered serious and can be treated easily.
What is Athlete’s Foot?
The medical name for Athlete’s foot is tinea pedis. It is the spread of fungus that be contracted through gyms, swimming pools, locker rooms, nail salons and from socks that have been contaminated. The most common contraction is through walking barefoot on contaminated surfaces. This fungi can also be spread through direct contact by other people.
Common symptoms include dry skin on the soles of the feet, and varying degrees of itching and burning on the soles and between the toes. Redness and cracking of the skin can also occur, and occasionally bleeding. Blisters are also a symptom.
- Pain on skin, typically on soles of feet or between toes.
- Skin blistering, dryness, peeling or rashes.
- Infection, itching, swelling
- Skin burning, stinging feeling
To confirm a diagnosis, your physician or foot specialist will perform a microscopic fungal examination in their office or in a laboratory. Small flakes of skin will be examined to confirm whether there is a presence of a fungal infection.
Once Athlete’s Foot has been confirmed, your physician may recommend use of a antifungal cream, spray or wash. In extreme cases, an oral medication may also be recommended.
Please note, if the fungal condition has spread to the nails of the feet, treatment may become more intensive and require a longer period of time to treat, potentially up to 4 months.
Prevention of Athlete’s Foot
Here are some recommendations for preventing the contraction of Athlete’s Foot in the future:
- Wearing flip-flops in public changerooms, locker rooms, pools, gyms and hotel rooms.
- Keep your feet dry. Use socks made of materials that pull moisture away from the feet.
- Wash your feet everyday and dry completely after washing
- Alternate the shoes you wear every day, especially if they are for athletic purposes.
- Dry out your shoes completely before wearing again – this may involve using multiple pairs of shoes to allow your shoes the time to dry.
- Do not share towels or linens with someone who has athlete’s foot, or a history of recurring incidences.
Also preventative care to avoid future occurrences will be prescribed. Use of absorbent socks and potentially certain shoe types may be suggested. Some powders, like Lotrimin or Tinactin can assist by keeping the feet dry. There are also drying solutions made of aluminum acetate that you can soak your feet in that will help keep your feet dry. A mix of one part vinegar and four parts water can have a similar effect.
Should you have symptoms for a prolonged period of time, it may be appropriate to visit your healthcare provider.