What is athletes foot?

Athletes foot is basically a rash that is trigger by fungus that typically manifest in between the toes. The affected skin might be red, itchy, dry, scaly, cracked or blistered. This is not considered serious but must be properly treated to prevent it from spreading to other parts of the body or to other individuals.

The treatment typically involves over-the-counter sprays, creams or liquids as well as observing good foot hygiene.

Indications of athlete’s foot

It is important to note that athlete’s foot typically affects the skin in between the toes or on the base of the feet. In most cases, the affected areas of skin can be:

  • White, cracked and soggy
  • Red, dry, flaky and scaly
  • Sore and itchy
  • Covered in small-sized blisters

Always bear in mind that the infection can spread around the foot and to the toenails. If the individual scratches the infected skin and touches other parts of the body, it can spread the infection.

In severe cases, the skin damaged by the fungal infection can end up infected with bacteria which lead to cellulitis that causes the skin to turn red, warm and swollen.

Athlete's foot
Always bear in mind that the infection can spread around the foot and to the toenails. If the individual scratches the infected skin and touches other parts of the body, it can spread the infection.

How do I acquire athletes foot?

Athletes foot is due to the growth of fungi that multiplies on the skin. The fungi that cause the infection can thrive in dark, warm and moist places such as the feet. The following can increase the risk of the individual to end up with athlete’s feet:

  • Feet are continuously moist or wet
  • Wearing shoes that causes the feet to get sweaty and warm
  • Walking barefoot in places where fungal infections can readily spread such as locker rooms, communal showers and gyms
  • A weakened immune system
  • Sharing socks, towels and shoes with others
  • Has certain health conditions such as diabetes

Athlete’s foot can readily spread to others by being exposed to infected skin or contact with contaminated objects or surfaces.

Treatment for athlete’s foot

Athletes foot should be treated using antifungal treatments that are available without a prescription. The antifungal treatments work by preventing the growth of the fungus. They are available in spray, cream, liquid and powder form.

  • The treatment used must be applied directly on the affected skin and the surrounding area
  • Cleanse and dry the affected skin before the applying the treatment and clean hands after
  • The treatment must be continued after the rash has cleared

The antifungal treatments are effective but some work rapidly than others. In case the rash is very itchy and sore, a mild steroid cream can be recommended to relieve any discomfort but this must be used for a short-term period together with the antifungal treatment.

How to prevent athlete’s foot

The risk for acquiring athlete’s foot can be reduced by observing the following:

  • Dry the feet gently after washing especially the areas in between the toes
  • Use cotton-based socks and shoes that have enough space made out of natural materials such as leather
  • Always use fresh pair of socks, stockings or tights every day
  • Avoid walking barefooted in locker rooms and public showers
  • Change the shoes used to allow them to dry out in between use
  • Avoid sharing socks, towels and shoe with others and make sure that towels are regularly washed
  • Apply talcum powder on the feet to prevent them from getting sweaty
  • Avoid using moisturizers on the feet to prevent them from getting sweaty

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