Athlete’s foot is caused by tinea pedis fungus
Athlete’s foot is not just for athletes
Athlete’s foot is an uncomfortable, often itchy condition caused by a fungal skin infection. It can occur for both athlete’s and non-athletes alike and is often caused or worsened by sweaty feet or damp conditions between the toes.
What is it?
Athlete’s foot is most often caused by a fungal skin infection in the foot called a tinea infection. Symptoms of athlete’s foot can include itching, redness, flakiness, and peeling or cracking skin. Itching the affecting area and then touching other skin can cause the infection to spread. At times the condition can also affect the toenails and cause them to become thick, brittle, and discolored.
What Causes it?
Athletes foot is usually caused by a tinea infection, which is the same fungi that causes jock itch and ring worm. It can also be caused by an overgrowth of yeast fungus called candida albicans. If the condition is chronic it could be a symptom of an underlying medical issue. Because it can be a contagious condition, sometimes it is spread from one person to another through skin-to-skin contact. It can also be spread through damp environments, especially those in which people walk barefoot such as a public pool or locker room.
What Can I do?
When you have athlete’s foot it is important to keep your feet dry. If they get wet, make sure to take the time to dry beneath your toes and make sure to not use that towel on other areas of your body. Wash your towels after every use. Choose shoes and sandals that will help to keep your feet ventilated. If you must wear socks, wool socks can be a good choice because they will wick the moisture away from your feet. If your feet get sweaty then change your socks frequently.
Try to avoid going barefoot in public areas, especially areas that are damp such as a public pool or locker room; if you cannot avoid them, make sure to wear protective footwear or flip flops to avoid spreading the fungus.
Most who have athlete’s foot will need to uses something topical to help relieve symptoms and kill the fungus. Anti-fungal powders can be effective to reduce itching and help keep the feet dry. There are many over the counter creams and powders may help to relieve the symptoms; however if the infection is severe a prescription from a doctor may be needed.