What is Athlete’s Foot?
Athlete's foot (tinea pedis) is a caused by a mold-like fungi group called dermatophytes that infect the superficial layer of the skin. The organisms that cause the infection thrive in the moist area between the toes and sometimes on other parts of your foot or hands. It can cause itching, stinging, and burning. In severe cases the skin can crack and bleed. Athlete’s foot is contagious and can be spread by human to human, object to human, or animal to human contact.
Athlete’s foot is closely related to other fungal infections with similar names:
- Ringworm of the body (tinea corporis) - red, scaly, circular rash on the top layer of skin
- Jock Itch (tinea cruris) - affects the genitals, upper inner thighs, and buttocks
- Scalp ringworm (tinea capitis) - most common in children, red itchy patch on scalp, leaving baldness
- Nail fungus (onychomycosis) - thick, crumbly, ragged, or discolored nails. May develop with or without other signs and symptoms of athlete’s foot
What increases risk of contracting Athlete’s Foot?
- Wearing damp socks or closed shoes, especially if they’re plastic lined
- Excessive sweating
- Share personal items with someone who has the infection ( i.e.: towels, rugs, shoes, locker rooms, bath)
- Have a weakened immune system
How is Athlete’s Foot Diagnosed?
The diagnosis is based primarily on the appearance of the skin. If tests are performed, they may include:
- KOH exam - Skin scraping show fungus under the microscope
- Fungal culture - Skin scrapings are able to grow in the lab
- Skin lesion biopsy - Special stain demonstrates fungus under the microscope
How can Athlete foot be treated?
Keep feet (including between toes) clean and dry. Wear light and airy shoes with a breathable material and absorbent socks such as cotton. The fungus does not like dry areas. Medicated foot powder or antifungal foot creams such as clotrimazol, miconazole, or tolnaftate can help. If the infection doesn’t clear in 2-4 weeks or recurs, you may require further treatment by a physician. Stronger, prescription strength oral or topical antifungal medications may be needed. Antibiotics may be necessary bacterial infections that occur in addition to the fungus.
Ask to schedule a consultation to determine the approximate number of treatments recommended for optimum effects. 512-257-7600