Athlete’s foot is a common fungal infection similar to jock-itch or ringworm. It usually occurs between the toes, and is infamous for how easily it is shared. It commonly spreads through contact with someone who already has it, or through exposure to common areas like locker room showers. Although irritating, this condition is usually not dangerous, and for most it can be treated simply and quickly.
Catching the Causes
Athlete’s foot is generated by fungus that grows on your outermost layer of skin. From there, it can grow and spread to other regions. Its name is derived from how quickly it can develop among sports teams and others who share close proximity on a regular basis. You can contract the condition by wearing damp, overly tight shoes. This creates a wet, warm environment in which the infection thrives.
Just like the common cold, someone may not show symptoms of athlete’s foot. However, they still may expose you to the fungus if you share clothes or footwear.
You might be particularly prone to the condition if your immune system is weakened by other health issues, or if you walk barefoot in public areas often.
What does it Look And Feel Like?
Bright red rashes between your toes are common signs of athlete's foot. Your skin may also appear overly dry and cracked. Additionally, your skin will seem scaly, almost like the texture of a lizard.
Other signs may include extreme itchiness in the affected area, particularly near the toes. This itchiness is important to look out for, because scratching the irritated regions may cause it to spread to your hands or other parts of your body.
Burning or stinging sensations are also common. Your discomfort will vary depending on how much your condition has progressed.
How is it Diagnosed?
If you experience persistent discomfort or rash, you may elect to see a podiatrist for advice. There are several ways to confirm a diagnosis of athlete’s foot. First, by simply visually examining the area, and second, by taking a small sample of skin to have tested beneath a microscope or in a lab.
In mild cases, antifungal cream is usually prescribed. This is a lotion-like medicine that is applied to the infection directly. Other over-the-counter options include sprays and powders. Depending on the severity of the fungus, you might also decide to try a stronger prescription medication.
To prevent athlete’s foot from recurring, avoid contact with shared items. Make sure to have your own towel to use for showering after athletics, and take it out of your gym bag to be washed after each use. Always wear sandals around public pools and in locker rooms. Lastly, allow your feet time to air out and breathe after extensive sweating.
To learn more about the treatment and prevention of athlete's foot visit the Foot Doctor of the East Bay in Pleasanton or San Leandro, CA. Make an appointment with Dr. Michael Stein or Zeindelin Ahmad, DPM today.