ATHLETE’S FOOT (TINEA PEDIS)
As temperatures tend to warm up, the foot can become a harbor point for many skin issues. The most common problem often seen is a fungus to the top layer of the skin, also known as Athlete’s Foot. It can happen in various forms of severity and typically occurs to the bottom of the foot or between the toes.
The term Athlete’s Foot became popular due to the infection being most common among athletes when it was first named. Fungus most commonly affect feet in warm, dark and humid environments. With athletes wearing tennis shoes with thick socks, it immediately becomes a favorable setting to encourage fungal growth. Athlete’s foot is usually contracted when bare feet contact fungus from warm and damp areas such as swimming pools, showers, locker rooms, hot tubs and lakes.
The organism that causes Athlete’s foot can persist for long periods of time, even with treatment. It tends to spread to other areas including the groin and armpits when left untreated. Your podiatrist will be able to assess the severity of the condition and differentiate it from other similar looking diseases such as eczema, dermatitis and psoriasis.
- Dry, scaly skin
- Itching or burning to bottom of foot or between toes
- Sweaty feet
- Redness and warmth to foot or toes
- Blister formation with cracking of skin
- Painful to touch
Athlete’s foot is usually diagnosed through clinical exam with possible skin scrapings taken and sent to a pathology lab to confirm the causative organism. The best means of treatment for the disease is through proper antifungal medication and proper foot hygiene.
Topical or oral antifungals are prescribed to fight the infection and work well quickly. At times, a bacterial or steroidal topical agent may be added if the condition is severe and causing inflammation.
Proper foot hygiene will be just as important to treat and help prevent future infections. Daily foot washes with soap and water with adequate drying will be helpful to decrease moisture. Thus, the fungus will not have a favorable environment to reside.
There are preventative measures that can be taken to help reduce the chances to get an infection.
- Avoid walking barefoot with use of shower shoes or slippers
- Wearing light shoes and socks that keep your feet dry
- Change socks daily and multiple times if you sweat heavily
- Use of talcum powder to keep foot dry
If you are exhibiting early indication of pain or discomfort, visit your podiatrist at Premier Foot & Ankle for care!