Athlete’s foot is a common infection of the skin by a microscopic fungus that usually affects the skin between the toes. Redness appears in the folds, then the skin dries and peels. In North America, 15% of adults are affected by athlete’s foot at least once in their lifetime.
Causes of Athlete’s Foot
The primary cause of this condition is a dermatophytic fungi or yeasts that populates in warm and humid environments. For this reason, wet places like swimming pools and steam rooms are conducive environments for the development of this fungi. Wearing tight shoes or plastic that prevent the evacuation of sweat also favors their existence. Although common among athletes, children and adults may also be affected.
Symptoms of Athlete’s Foot
The Athlete’s foot may look different from one person to another, and be more or less extended. The common symptoms include:
- Redness, cracking and peeling of the skin.
- Painless and intolerable Itching
- Cracks and painful cuts between the toes
- A nauseating odor sometimes emerges from the affected area.
Over time, if left untreated, athlete’s foot can spread and reach the toenails (onychomycosis). The infection is then more difficult to treat. Nails thicken and change color. Another possible complication is Bacterial cellulitis. This is an infection of the deep layer of the skin by bacteria.
Athlete’s Foot Treatments
There are effective topical anti-fungals (creams, solutions, gels, and lotions) for uncomplicated athlete’s foot. When topical agents are ineffective, an anti-fungal tablet is often prescribed. Some medications used for the treatment of athlete’s foot contain both anti-fungal and antibacterial ingredients to help accelerate healing. Besides, certain special dressings containing aluminum acetate may be useful when applied to vesicular or macerated lesions. It is also possible to treat shoes with anti-fungal powders.
Taking good care of your feet is the overall solution to avoid developing this condition. This means keeping your feet cool and dry. After bathing or showering, it is essential to dry the spaces between the toes. Additionally, water absorbent socks and avoid tight shoes.