Home >>  Skin Infections >>  Athletes foot  

Athletes Foot

The skin can be a host to myriad of skin disorders.  The more common are: athletes foot, carbuncles or boils, ringworm, shingles, and Jock itch.   These are caused by fungus or bacteria.  Fungal infections are contagious.  Clothing and objects handled by a person with athletes foot can contain fungus that can quickly contaminate others.  Athletes are prone to these skin infections.

The ringworm fungus is behind many other skin infections.   They can cause athletes foot, or irritation on the inner thighs or buttocks and genitalia (jock itch).  The scalp can also be infected by the ringworm fungus.  Athletes foot may be a common skin but should not be taken lightly. When athletes suspect they have this infection, they should see a doctor immediately.

Athletes foot is highly contagious. The fungus multiplies in damp, moist places and can be picked up easily by the bare foot.      A person with athletes foot experiences itching and burning on the soles of the feet, or between the toes.  The toe nails become thick and layered.  Sometime the nails pull away from the nail bed.  The skin already thickened cracks and peels.  Itchy blisters compound the situation.  Swimmers and other athletes are immobilized by the pain.

When the foot is attacked by the parasitic dermatophyte fungus the skin becomes thick and assumes a scaly appearance.  As the athletes foot spread, more “dead skin” tissues are produced.   Someone may have the fungus, and not manifest any symptom.   Diabetics and people with HIV/AIDS are vulnerable to the risks of complication when infected with athletes foot.  The treatment is more complicated for people diabetics and AIDS.

There are several prescription drugs that can be bought over the counter for athletes foot.  But when fever or excessive redness and swelling occur, one should seek medical treatment at once.   The doctor may take fluid samples or skin scrapings to classify the fungus, and when necessary, culture the fungus taken from sores caused by athletes foot.

When athletes foot is not treated immediately, the fungus causing athletes foot also induces secondary infection.  A person will experience heightened pain along the eroded skin areas, especially between the toes.  Delayed treatment may also cause flare-ups on the fingers, hands or toes.

In severe cases, doctors treating athletes foot provide oral medication.  Some of these medications are dangerous to the heart and liver.  For milder cases of athletes foot, topical treatments are prescribed. Ointments, lotion, powder or spray – which include Terbinafine (Lamisil AT), Clotrimazole or Lotrimin AF, and Miconazole or Micatin – are commonly advised.

An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure. Athletes may find these tips useful and them the trouble and expense of treatment wrought by athletes foot:

  • Avoid using footwear of other people
  • Alternate the use of your shoe pairs
  • Wear fresh cotton socks regularly
  • Make sure that the area between your toes are wiped dry after a shower
  • Regularly apply antifungal foot powder
  • Use waterproof footwear in public pools and showers