Athlete's foot (tinea pedis) is a common skin disease caused by a fungus. It usually occurs between the toes because shoes create a warm, dark, humid environment that encourages fungus growth. The warmth and dampness around swimming pools, locker rooms, and showers are also breeding grounds for fungus. The term athletes's foot was coined because the ailment is common among athletes who use such facilities.
Signs of athlete's foot are drying skin, scaling, itching, inflammation, and blisters. Sometimes the blisters lead to cracking skin. When the blisters break, small raw areas of tissue are exposed, resulting in swelling and pain. If an infected person scratches the feet and touches himself or herself elsewhere, the fungus can spread, especially to the groin and underarms. It can also be spread by contaminated bed sheets or clothing.Practicing good foot hygiene helps to prevent infection. Feet should be washed daily with soap and water, and dried thoroughly, especially between the toes. Changing shoes and socks regularly decreases moisture and helps prevent the fungus from infecting the feet. Quality foot powder can also be used. In public rest rooms, showers, and locker rooms, avoid going barefoot; shower shoes can help.
If you think you may have athlete's foot, see a dermatologist. If the condition is not treated correctly, it can worsen and lead to bacterial infections. If the fungus spreads to the toenails, it is very difficult to treat. Simple cases are treated with anti-fungal creams, which relieve the symptoms quickly. In more stubborn cases, anti-fungal pills or stronger anti-fungal creams may be prescribed.
Disclaimer: This information is not intended be a substitute for professional medical advice. It is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information.
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