Athlete’s foot, medically known as tinea pedis, is a fungal infection that is not limited to athletes. Anyone can contract the infection if exposed to the highly contagious fungi, known as dermatophytes, that cause it. The most common symptom of athlete’s foot is an itching and burning sensation between the toes or on the bottom of the foot, along with a scaly rash. You may also experience painful cracking of the skin, blistering, and thickening on the soles of the foot. While athlete’s foot is not considered to be dangerous, it can result in a secondary infection if bacteria enter the broken skin. The main complication of having athlete’s foot is infecting other parts of the body that have touched your feet. In addition, anyone sharing personal items or showering spaces with you is at increased risk of infection. Athlete’s foot is treatable with anti-fungal creams, lotions, powders, and sprays. If symptoms persist after a few weeks, please consult a podiatrist who can examine the infected area and prescribe medications or creams that are more potent.
Athlete’s foot is often an uncomfortable condition to experience. Thankfully, podiatrists specialize in treating athlete’s foot and offer the best treatment options. If you have any questions about athlete’s foot, consult with David A. Edmonds, DPM from Advanced Podiatry Associates. Our doctor will assess your condition and provide you with quality treatment.
What Is Athlete’s Foot?
Tinea pedis, more commonly known as athlete’s foot, is a non-serious and common fungal infection of the foot. Athlete’s foot is contagious and can be contracted by touching someone who has it or infected surfaces. The most common places contaminated by it are public showers, locker rooms, and swimming pools. Once contracted, it grows on feet that are left inside moist, dark, and warm shoes and socks.
The most effective ways to prevent athlete’s foot include:
- Thoroughly washing and drying feet
- Avoid going barefoot in locker rooms and public showers
- Using shower shoes in public showers
- Wearing socks that allow the feet to breathe
- Changing socks and shoes frequently if you sweat a lot
Athlete’s foot initially occurs as a rash between the toes. However, if left undiagnosed, it can spread to the sides and bottom of the feet, toenails, and if touched by hand, the hands themselves. Symptoms include:
- Scaly and peeling skin
Diagnosis and Treatment
Diagnosis is quick and easy. Skin samples will be taken and either viewed under a microscope or sent to a lab for testing. Sometimes, a podiatrist can diagnose it based on simply looking at it. Once confirmed, treatment options include oral and topical antifungal medications.