Athlete’s foot is a common skin infection caused by fungus. The fungus is called trichophyton and develops when the feet or areas close to that region are moist and warm. This fungus will then infect the upper layer of the skin. Athlete’s foot is also called tinea pedis. The fungus can be found in many areas including gymnasium floors, locker rooms, swimming pools, nail salons, and socks. This fungus can also be spread from one person to another. However, the fungus cannot and will not infect the skin if there is no warm and moist environment.
The symptoms of athlete’s foot include itching and burning, peeling and cracking. Some severe cases may have bleeding and pain. Some people might not have any symptoms and therefore won’t know that they have an infection. There are three common types of athlete’s foot:
- soles of the feet, also called “moccasin” type
- between the toes, also called “interdigital” type
- inflammatory type or blistering
You are at higher risk of athlete’s foot if you are male, a frequent wearer of damp socks and tight fitting shoes, share clothes with other people, frequently visit public places where the infection can spread, or have a weak immune system.
Treatment for the Foot
There are two parts to treating this infection. First, keep the infected area dry. Second, use antifungal creams and washes. Many over-the-counter options are available such as ketoconazole shampoo and cream, miconazole, clotrimazole, and terbinafine. You should treat the infection for at least 1 week, but doctors recommend a total of 4 weeks.
For more severe cases of athelete’s foot, oral medications are available such as terbinafine, itraconazole, or fluconazole. Try to avoid topical corticosteroid creams because they can easily worsen the fungus.
Please seek medical care if you notice redness, increased swelling, bleeding or continuous symptoms.