Athlete’s foot is a contagious fungal infection that infects the skin of the feet. It is also known as Tinea pedis. The infection can also spread to the hands and the toenails. The Athlete’s foot fungal infection is commonly seen in the athletes, due to this, it is commonly known as Athlete’s foot. Red patches of scaly layer appear on the surface of the skin and are usually present between the toes. A fungus Trichophyton from a group of fungus called dermatophytes causes athlete’s foot and is contagious spreading to other parts of the body. Some people don’t even realize that they have developed athlete’s foot unless it turns into blisters and give pain. In severe cases, the fungal infection will spread to the groin causing intense pain. The condition in which limbs are affected by this disease is called as Tinea corporis. It is usually mistaken for normal fungus infection and the disease cannot be distinguished easily.
Athlete’s foot is not a serious problem, but sometimes it is tough to cure. A person with diabetes or a weak immune system is susceptible of having Athlete’s foot.
Athlete’s Foot Causes
The causes of Athlete’s foot include
- Certain allergens
- Certain irritating substances such as synthetic fabrics , woolen clothes, and soap
- Heat and sweating
- Dry skin
- Cold, dry climates
- Poorly fitting shoes
- Fungal infection
- Interdigital bacterial toe web infection
Fungal infection can be spreading by sharing socks or shoes of an infected person. Fungi needs a moist and warm environment to flourish and can be seen growing on the floors of the public showers, swimming pools, locker rooms and whirlpools. It is a common problem in older age males, who mostly wear closed shoes. Yeast and bacteria may also contribute with this fungal infection to make infection more serious and smelly.
Symptoms Of Athlete’s Foot
Symptoms of Athlete’s foot include
- Stinging, itching and burning between the toes and on the soles of the feet
- Sores on the feet
- Cracking and peeling of the feet’s skin
- Raw or dry skin on the soles or sides of the feet
- Thick, crumbly and discolored toe nails
The signs of Athlete’s foot include dry, thick skin of the feet and toes. The condition can also be recognized by open sores with crust on feet’s skin.
Types of Athlete’s foot include
- Chronic interdigital athlete’s foot – it is the most common type of infection and causes scaling, fissures, and maceration in the webbed space between the 4th and 5th toes. The use of Non-porous, tight fitting shoes can develop this infection.
- Chronic scaly (Moccasin-type) Athlete’s foot – this infection is caused by Trichophyton rubrum. The fungus causes dry and scaly skin on the sole of the foot. The infection also affects hands and commonly seems in the people having asthma or eczema. It also supports nail infection and leads a condition of regular skin infections.
- Acute vesicular Athlete’s foot– a least common type of fungal infection and causes by Trichophyton mentagrophytes. The condition occurs in the people who have chronic interdigital toe web infection. This condition is also known as “Jungle rot”.
Risk factors associated with Athlete’s foot are
- Walking barefoot in dark, wet areas such as swimming pool sides, locker rooms, or public showers
- Exposure to the moist environment or sweating
- Certain disease such as diabetes, eczema
- Pedicure in contaminated environment
- Abnormal function of the immune system
- Activities that makes sensitive skin
- Defects in the skin barrier
Diagnosis of the infection can be done by only visible symptoms. Sometimes, doctors may suggest a skin test for conformation. The most common skin test for athlete’s foot is skin lesion potassium hydroxide (KOH) test. The skin sample is put into potassium hydroxide that eliminates normal cells and leaves fungal cells which are easy visible under the microscope.
It is easy to control and prevent the formation of this disease, if you follow the instructions of your doctor. Antifungal medication is best to cure the infection. Doctors generally prescribe medicated powder containing miconazole (Desenex) for treating this problem. Other OTC topical antifungal medication, includes
- Terbinafine (Lamisil AT)
- Butenafine (Lotrimin Ultra)
- Clotrimazole (Lotrimin AF)
- Tolnaftate (Tinactin)
Athlete’s Foot Home Remedies
Athlete’s foot is a common skin condition that is caused by the fungus on the feet. It is not a serious condition but a painful and troublesome condition. Natural home remedies for Athlete’s foot are highly significant. Therapies and natural home remedies are extremely beneficial for a patient without any side effects. The use of natural home remedies avoids problems and provides a stress free life. There are many treatment options also available in home remedies. The treatment of athlete’s foot is a combination of strict diet and regular exercises. Many home remedies are quite effective in treating fungal infections, some of these are
- Salt water or diluted apple cider Vinegar
- Tea tree oil
- Neem oil
- Garlic paste
- Himalayan crystal salt
- Sesame and coconut oil
- Oregano oil
- Ozonized olive oil
- Talcum powder
- Vick’s vapour rub
Athletes Foot Prevention
The infected part should be made free from moisture to restrict the growth of fungus. It is necessary to keep the area dry and clean. Wearing shoes and absorbent socks can help the patient to recover from illness in short time. Some simple prevention methods include
- Always keep feet clean and dry
- Always wear sandals in wet public places such as swimming pool area
- Avoid to wear other person’s shoes or socks
- Avoid walking barefoot
- Always keep nails clipped short
- Wash foot daily and dry properly
- Avoid sharing towels and other clothes with infected person
- Removes the insoles of shoes to allow them to dry in the night
- Spread talcum powder inside the shoes to decrease the moisture level
Athlete’s foot can be developed into a severe bacterial infection if not treated properly. It is also important to understand the any kind of fungal or bacterial infection can be serious and needs a prompt treatment. As it is contagious disease, it can easily spread to the other parts of the skin when scratching by the nails. A person should avoid scratching or touching the affected area to avoid its spreading. If the infection is not subsided after treating with home remedies a week at home, it is recommended to consult a doctor.
Source : mayoclinic.org