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Athletes Foot: An Overview

Athlete’s foot is a fungal infection that occurs on the foot. It is a fungus that grows on the top layer of skin, and grows best in warm, damp places –such as between the toes. It is called athlete’s foot because athletes tend to contract it due to the amount of time spent in locker rooms –where athlete’s foot is commonly found and transmitted.

Unfortunately, athlete’s foot spreads easily, and can be transmitted by touching someone’s foot that is infected, or by walking on contaminated surfaces. The fungus is then transferred to your shoes –where it continues to grow and thrive. It is also possible for you to carry the disease and spread it –without actually being infected yourself.

There are three types of athlete’s foot: Toe Web Infection, Moccasin-type Infection, and Vesicular Infection.

  • Toe Web Infection – This is the most common type of athlete’s foot, and usually occurs between the two smallest toes. It begins with skin that’s soft, moist, and pale and causes itching or burning.
  • Moccasin-Type Infection – This is a long-lasting infection that starts out with an itching or burning feeling that will progress into thick, scaling or peeling skin. It can also result in infected toenails that can become hard, crumble or fall off.
  • Vesicular Infection – This is the least common type of athlete’s foot that starts out with a sudden outbreak of blisters. It is often accompanied by an infection that can spread to other areas of the body if left untreated.

While symptoms vary from person to person, there are a few common symptoms that are generally found in people who have athletes foot. These symptoms include:

  • Peeling or cracking of the feet
  • Redness, blisters or breaking down of the skin
  • Itching or burning sensation in the feet

As in most situations – prevention is best when it comes to athlete’s foot. While athlete’s foot cannot always be prevented, you can reduce your chances of contracting it by taking the following measures.

  • Drying between your toes
  • Wear breathable footwear
  • Wear socks when indoors
  • Wear sandals when in public showers, locker rooms or swimming pools
  • Use anti-fungal powder on your feet

The treatment of athlete’s foot depends on the type of athlete’s foot that you have. Generally treatment includes antifungal medication that is used at home to kill the fungus or slow the growth. If these medications don’t help or the fungus continues to grow –your doctor may recommend more aggressive measures that could include oral medications.

If you suspect that you have athlete’s foot, contact Houston-based podiatrist Dr Lamarra of Shepherd Square Podiatry today.

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