Athlete’s foot (tinea pedis) is a rash on the skin of the foot. It is the most common fungal skin infection. There are three main types of athlete’s foot. Each type affects different parts of the foot and may look different.
Athlete’s foot is caused by a tinea fungus that grows on or in the top layer of skin. Fungi (plural of fungus) grow best in warm, wet places, such as the area between the toes.
Athlete’s foot spreads easily. You can get afflicted with athlete’s foot by walking barefoot on contaminated surfaces near swimming pools or in locker rooms. You can also contract the disease by coming into contact with the toes or feet of an infected person.
Fungus thrives in dark, moist environments such as the inside of a shoe. If you have sweaty feet, keeping them in poorly ventilated shoes for periods of time will allow the fungus to infect your feet.
The first sign of athlete’s foot is unbearable itching. The itching is usually the most severe immediately after a patient removes his or her footwear. A scaly, red rash will also develop on the feet, occurring most frequently between the patient’s toes. If left untreated for a long time, blisters or ulcers will also develop.
Most patients will try to cure athlete’s foot using a variety of home remedies such as application of talcum powder to the infected area, soaking the foot in vinegar and so on. These are temporary solutions that may only be useful in curing the mildest of athlete’s foot infections.
If the symptoms persist after regular administration of such home remedies, the patient should seek professional evaluation by a healthcare professional, such as a podiatrist, immediately. Delaying treatment is a risk as the fungus can spread to other parts of your body or to others around you.
A podiatrist is trained to diagnose and treat lower limb conditions, including fungal infections of the foot such as athlete’s foot. The podiatrist will conduct an examination of your foot and other affected areas and recommend treatment that is suitable for your needs. Treatment options vary, from topical and oral medication to other forms of antimicrobial therapy. Your podiatrist will also dispense suitable advice on speeding up the healing process and preventing the infection from worsening.