Athlete’s foot, also known as Tinea pedis, is a fungal skin infection that affects the feet. It commonly occurs in people whose feet have become sweaty while confined within tight-fitting shoes. The infection is called athlete’s foot because it affects people whose feet tend to be damp and sweaty, which is often the case with athletes. However, anyone can develop this condition.
Tinea pedis infection can affect any part of the foot, but it often affects the space between the toes. It can affect one or both feet. The fungal infection is spread through contact with infected skin or contact with contaminated surfaces in damp areas such as in swimming pools, shower rooms and locker rooms.
The symptoms may vary from person to person. Here are the common symptoms:
- Dry, scaly, peeling or cracked skin
- Itching, burning, or stinging sensation
- Inflamed skin that may appear reddish, purplish, depending on your skin color
- Blisters or ulcers
- Unpleasant odor
Treatment of Athlete’s foot may either be topical or oral over the counter or prescription antifungal medications.
Aside from the use of medications, several home remedies can be done to help ease the symptoms avoid recurrence:
- Keep the feet dry: Wearing moisture-wicking socks and breathable shoes can help prevent the growth of fungi. Avoid shoes made of synthetic material such as vinyl or rubber. Talcum or antifungal powder may also be used to absorb moisture.
- Regularly washing and drying the feet: It is also advisable to wash the feet twice daily and gently dry the area in between the toes after.
- Soaking the feet in saltwater: This can help reduce inflammation and prevent the spread of infection.
- Avoid sharing personal items: Avoid sharing shoes, socks, or towels with others to prevent the spread of infection.
If left untreated, an athlete’s foot can lead to complications such as bacterial infections, cellulitis, and toenail fungus. These complications can be particularly concerning for individuals with weakened immune systems or diabetes.
In summary, call your healthcare provider if your Athlete’s foot ortinea pedis:
- Doesn’t improve or go away with treatment.
- Looks infected (red, purple, gray or white skin; irritation and swelling).
- Spreads to other areas of your body.
It pays to be informed
It is important to take steps to prevent athlete’s foot by keeping the feet clean and dry and avoiding exposure to fungi in public areas. If you suspect you have Athlete’s foot, also known as tinea pedis, it is important to see a doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment.
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