What Is Athlete's Foot?


Athlete’s foot is sometimes referred to as the ‘ringworm of the foot’ which gives some indication as to just how unpleasant it is. Technically however it is known as tinea pedis and is a fungal infection that causes itching, flaking, scaling and bleeding in the affected areas of the foot. It is caused by the fungi ‘trichophyton’ and is transmitted in moist areas such as shower rooms and bathhouses. Here the fungi is transferred to the moisture on the floor and remains there until someone else steps in it. In some cases however it can also be transmitted through the sharing of towels or footwear. It is not completely unique to the feet however and can also affect the groin (where it is known as ‘jock itch’), armpits and other areas. It is treatable via pharmaceutical treatments.

Athlete’s Foot Symptoms

Athlete’s foot causes scaling on the feet which causes white areas of flaking skin. When this skin cracks it can then bleed or reveal blisters and is likely to cause pain or itching for the sufferer. Normally this will occur just between the toes and this is particularly the case if the feet are not properly dried and the areas remain moist. The most common space here is the gap between the fourth toe and the big toe.

In some rare cases athlete’s foot can trigger an allergic reaction called an ‘id reaction’ which results in their hands, chest and arms becoming covered in blisters and vesicles.

Athlete’s Foot Prevention

To prevent an infection of athlete’s foot is important to avoid moist and damp areas where the fungi thrives. To do this it is crucial to ensure that you keep things like your shoes and socks dry. It is also a good idea to ensure you maintain good hygiene and to dry thoroughly between your toes. Do not share footwear with others and ensure to regularly wash your socks and shoes.

Filling your socks with talcum powder can also be a good measure to prevent the spread of athlete’s food and to kill it off if you have already contracted it. This absorbs the moistures before it gets to your feet and so leaves the infection without the dampness it requires to thrive.

Athlete’s Foot Treatment

Normally treatment involves the topical (local) application of an antifungal medication while maintaining good hygiene measures. This will usually be a daily or twice daily treatment, but if this proves ineffective then an oral medication may be used. Zinc oxide based nappy-rash ointment can also be used as can the aforementioned talcum powder – either of which represent good home remedies.

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Christopher Jacoby

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Christopher Jacoby