Athlete’s foot is a fungal infection of the skin, that usually develops around the toes. This fungus is attracted to moist, dark, and warm areas and thrives when feet remain unwashed or untreated. Symptoms of athlete’s foot include itching, burning, scaling, inflammation, dry skin, odor, and blisters (which can lead to cracking and exposure).
Any location that provides warmth, moisture, and skin contact can be a breeding ground for athlete’s foot. Locker rooms, community showers, pools, and yoga rooms are prime areas where athlete’s foot can spread. Athlete’s foot can spread from skin to skin contact and can easily be spread to the underarms or groin through hand contact. Additionally, the fungus that causes athlete's foot is able to survive for long periods in a dormant state and can be transmitted by skin contact with contaminated clothes, bedding or carpet.
If your podiatrist determines that fungus is the problem, a customized treatment plan can be implemented. This treatment plan will usually include some sort of antifungal medication. Traditional antifungals were applied to the skin at the point of infection, however in more recent trials, doctors have noted that oral antifungal medications are additionally useful to target fungus that the cream cannot reach. It is important to take all medication prescribed or failure of treatment is common. Additionally, your doctor can determine if the infection is fungal or bacterial. If it is the latter, antibacterial medicines such as penicillin are prescribed.
While being treated for athlete’s foot, it is important to care for the foot in the proper way. Feet should be kept dry and clean. Feet should be washed frequently and clean socks used after washing. Foot powder is important to utilize as it prevents moisture from building on the toes. Due to the high risk of infection spread, shower and tub areas should be disinfected after the affected person uses these facilities. This will cut down on unwanted transmission of the fungus.