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Athlete’s Foot: Causes, Risk Factors, Symptoms, Treatment, and Prevention

Athlete’s Foot isn’t serious, but sometimes it’s hard to cure. If you have diabetes or a weakened immune system, you are more susceptible to have Tinea Pedis (athlete’s foot).

Tinea Pedis spreads when a person comes into contact with certain fung, and it can spread from person to person. It thrives in damp and warm areas.

A doctor may diagnose athlete’s foot by observing the symptoms. The doctor may order a skin test if he is not sure a fungal infection is causing your symptoms.

Common places for Tinea Pedis fungus to live are pool areas, public bathrooms, and locker rooms.

Causes Athlete’s Foot

Athlete’s foot happens when the tinea fungus grows on the feet. This fungus commonly attack feet because of the following reasons:

  • shoes and socks create a warm, moist environment that the fungi need to thrive
  • feet are exposed to fungus and germs on the ground, especially if walking barefoot
  • the toes area tends to be particularly damp and warm

Athlete’s foot comes from the belief that many athletic locker rooms and athletic equipment are hot, and present a moist environment where the fungi can spread.

Anyone can get athlete’s foot, as it is not exclusive for athletes. You can catch the fungus through direct contact with an infected person, or by touching surfaces tainted with the fungus.

Risk Factors For Athlete’s Foot

Anyone can get athlete’s foot, but certain behaviors increase your risk. Factors that increase your risk of getting athlete’s foot include:

  • visiting public places barefoot, especially locker rooms, showers, swimming pools, etc
  • sharing socks, and shoes with an infected person
  • putting on tight, closed-toe shoes
  • keeping your feet wet for a long time
  • having sweaty feet, or a minor skin or nail injury on your foot

Symptoms Of Athlete’s Foot

There are many possible symptoms of Tinea Pedis -athlete’s foot. They include:

  • itching,
  • stinging, and burning between your toes or on soles of your feet
  • blisters on your feet
  • Cracking and peeling skin on your feet. This is common between your toes and on your soles
  • dry skin on your soles or sides of your feet
  • red or pink skin on your feet
  • toenails that may pull away from the nail bed
  • bleached, thick, and crumbly toenails
  • athletes feet may occur on the hands too, in between fingers.

Treatment for Athlete’s Foot

There are good numbers of home remedies that works for Tinea Pedis, but if home remedies do not work or the problem has been going on for more than 2 weeks, a doctor or podiatrist may need to step in and help you.

Antifungal creams or medicines may be prescribed if the infection does not respond to home treatments. It is important for people to treat any case of athlete’s foot because the fungus can spread to the nails, and other body parts. It can even spread to other people, including children.

Athlete’s foot can often be treated with over-the-counter (OTC) topical antifungal medications, or your doctor may prescribe topical or oral prescription-strength antifungal medications, for persistent infections.

There are many over-the-counter -OTC topical antifungal medications, including:

  • butenafine (Lotrimin Ultra)
  • tolnaftate (Tinactin)
  • miconazole (Desenex)
  • terbinafine (Lamisil AT)
  • clotrimazole (Lotrimin AF)

Prevention Of Athlete’s Foot

There are ways to protect the feet from fungi and avoid getting athlete’s foot, getting a repeat infection or spreading it to others.

To keep feet fungus-free, follow these guidelines:

  • Keep nails clipped short.
  • Never walk barefoot in public places.
  • Wear sandals or waterproof shoes in public pools, showers, locker rooms, bathrooms, etc…
  • In addition to bathing, wash feet at least once a day and dry thoroughly.
  • If a family member has athlete’s foot, disinfect the shower after each use until it is gone.
  • Don’t share socks, shoes, or towels.
  • Wear socks made out of breathable fibers, such as cotton or wool, or made out of synthetic fibers that wick moisture away from the skin.
  • Change your socks when your feet get sweaty, and air out your feet when you are at home by going barefoot.
  • Alternate between two pairs of shoes, wearing each pair every other day, to give your shoes time to dry out between uses.
  • Remember that moisture will allow the fungus to continue to grow, so try and starve your foot of unnecessary moisture.
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