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Athlete’s Foot (Tinea Pedis)

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Athlete’s Foot (Tinea Pedis)

Athlete’s Foot

Athletes foot being a contagious disease is caught easily and mostly because of lack of awareness. So we need to understand what athletes foot is and how to avoid getting it or avoid spreading it. Also, awareness will help us to recognize the disease and get medical attention at the earliest.

 

It is called athletes foot because it is mostly seen in athletes. It is a typical fungal infection that affects the skin of the feet and toes.  If not attended at the onset athletes feet may spread to the toenails and even hands.

Athletes foot although not a very serious ailment gets very stubborn if medical attention is delayed hence takes considerable time to cure.

It is advisable to contact a foot clinic or a podiatrist if you have diabetes and weak immune system and you suspect you have athletes foot.

The following pictures will help you to identify athletes foot.

What are the causes of athlete’s foot?

Athlete’s foot is caused due to the growth of the tinea fungus on the feet. Since it is a contagious disease the most common way of contracting athelet’s foot is through direct contact with an infected person. Another way one can get infected with athlete’s foot is by touching any surface contaminated by the tinea fungus. This fungus thrives in moist and warm places. It is quite common in showers, locker rooms, and swimming pools and other public wet areas where people may roam around barefooted.

 

What are the risk factors for athlete’s foot?

Athlete’s foot is contagious so anyone can get it,  but there are certain behaviors which may increase your risk.

Like :

  1. Walking around barefooted in public places, especially locker rooms, showers, and swimming pools
  2. Sharing socks, shoes, towels etc. with someone who is infected with athletes foot.
  3. Wearing shoes which are closed toed and fit tightly on your feet.
  4. Wearing moist socks or shoes for a long period
  5. Keeping your feet wet for too long.
  6. Poor hygiene habits, like, not attending your sweaty feet.
  7. Ignoring minor skin or nail injury of the foot.

What are the symptoms of athlete’s foot?

  1. Most common symptom is  itching, stinging, and burning between the toes or  soles of the feet
  2. Blisters on the feet along with itching.
  3. The skin of the feet cracks and peels, mostly between the toes and on the soles of the feet
  4. The sides of the feet or the soles of the feet have dry skin
  5. Raw skin on the foot and soles
  6. The toenails become discolored, brittle and thick.
  7. Toenails pulls away from the nail bed

What are the Complications that can arise from athletes foot?

Although athletes foot is not a serious ailment it may in some cases lead to complications.

The allergic reaction to the fungus may lead to some mild complications like blistering on the feet or hands.

In some cases, the infection returns after treatment.

Sometimes a secondary bacterial infection develops which can be the reason for more severe complications. In such cases the foot can be swollen, painful, and hot, it can also have pus drainage and fever. This is a sure sign of secondary bacterial infection.

Apart from the above condition, another serious condition can be due to the spread of the bacterial infection to the lymph system. The skin infection may lead to lymphangitis or lymphadenitis

 

Athlete’s foot infections can be mild or severe. It should be diagnosed and treated immediately. Sometimes it takes a long time to cure, hence long term treatment maybe necessary so that it doesn’t return.

How to prevent athlete’s foot?

  1. Wash feet with water and soap daily and dry them , and most importantly between the toes.
  2. Use antifungal powder on the feet daily if possible.
  3. Don’t share towels, socks and shoes with other people.
  4. Avoid walking barefoot in public showers, swimming pools etc.
  5. Wear breathable socks and shoes, and cotton ones are best.
  6. Do not keep your feet sweaty feet unattended for too long. Change your socks and wash and keep them dry.
  7. Keep your shoes and socks clean, and don’t wear moist shoes or socks.

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