All About Athletes Foot

athletes footAthletes foot is a common and contagious skin infection and is caused by contact with a ringworm type fungus that is usually found on wet or damp floors such as in sport changing rooms, swimming pools, saunas or shower areas or from touching an infected human or clothing.

The skin between the toes provides a warm, dark and often moist surface for the athletes foot fungi to grow and prosper.

The most common athletes foot fungus is Trichophyton mentagrophytes which causes itchiness and blister like symptoms. The skin often becomes white looking on the surface but dry below with cracks and peeling occurring that sometimes leads to bleeding.

Athletes foot is not confined to the feet as other areas of the body, such as the groin, can be infected by the fungus although this is much rarer.

Diagnosis of Athletes Foot

In usual cases observation of the affected area is sufficient to ascertain that athletes foot is the cause of the infection but doubt sometimes occurs when other causes, principally eczema or psoriasis, are suspected. In such cases testing a skin sample from the infected area can give a true diagnosis.

Athlete Foot Treatment

It is believed that 70% of the population will become infected with athletes foot at sometime in their lives, often without being aware as it is estimated that it can resolve itself without medication in 30-40% of cases.

Treatment is by the application of topical anti-fungal creams, powders, gels or sprays. Many of which can be obtained ‘over the counter’ in your local pharmacy.

As with all medication it is advised that you continue the treatment for the prescribed period even though the symptoms may appear to have disappeared. Beware of so called anti-itch creams as these can actually encourage the conditions for the fungus to thrive.

Prevention

To prevent athletes foot it is most important to keep the feet as dry as possible. Take care to towel the area between the toes, dry after showering, swimming and other similar wet or damp locations, particularly communal areas.

Do not lend or borrow towels, make sure all footwear is as dry as possible before using. Good hygiene routines will help lessen the chances of contracting athletes foot and the discomfort that goes with it.

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Category: Skin Problems

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