Information about Athlete’s Foot
Athlete’s foot is a common fungal infection that any person can have at any time in their life. This infection is most commonly found in feet; however it may turn up on any part of the body, providing that it is frequently warm and moist.
Symptoms of Athlete’s Foot
The symptoms of athlete’s foot range from mild to severe, and with a multitude of symptoms, it is unlikely that you will suffer from all of them.
- Burning and itching
- Peeling of skin
- Redness, dry skin and peeling on soles of feet
- Cracking, pain and bleeding
- Moisture, peeling and dry flakes on and between fourth and fifth toes
Athlete’s Foot Risk Factors
Athlete’s foot is caused by a ringworm fungus that grows within the top layer of skin. Athlete’s foot can be transferred in a manner of ways; the fungus may be spread directly through contact with objects including floors, socks and clothing, as well as directly between people. The most common areas where athlete’s foot is spread are in public places, including recreation facilities, salons and fitness centers. Up to seventy percent of the population will contract athlete’s foot at some point in their lives. Although athlete’s foot is common, you can reduce your risk of athlete’s foot by following these suggestions:
- Keep your feet clean and dry
- Make sure your everyday shoes allow your feet to breathe
- Avoid walking barefoot in public places such as swimming pools, gyms and spas
- Frequently change your socks, especially if your feet sweat
- Choose cotton socks to wear whenever possible
- Rotate regular footwear so that your shoes have a chance to fully dry out before they are worn again
Athlete’s foot is contagious, and if you suspect that you may be experiencing this fungal infection, it is important that you limit contact between the infected area and everything else, as your infection can be passed not only to others, but also to other parts of your body, including hands and genital areas.
How to Treat Athlete’s Foot
Athlete’s foot is first treated by altering the infected area’s environment so that the athlete foot fungus is less likely to thrive. This means assuring that feet are dry and clean at all times. The second treatment for athlete’s foot varies, as the choice of medication is dependent on your symptoms, the severity of your condition or your physician’s preference.If you are experiencing mild effects of athlete’s foot, your doctor will likely suggest that you take a prescription or over-the-counter medicated powder, ointment or spray. Your doctor may prescribe any of the following topical agents:
Miconazole (Micatin, which is available over-the-counter)
Terbinafine (Lamisil)If you are experiencing more severe effects of athlete’s foot, your doctor may prescribe an oral medication to combat the fungus. Oral medications are usually only prescribed when athlete’s foot does not respond to topical agents. Common oral medications prescribed for athlete’s foot include:When taking these oral medications, some users have experienced certain side effects. Warnings have been issued by the Food and Drug Administration that have linked oral Sporanox and oral Lamisil to rare cases of liver failure and death.
Additionally, oral Sporanax may weaken heart contractions and should be avoided by people with medical histories of heart problems.Your doctor may also suggest additional care for your feet while medicating your athlete’s foot, and may prescribe a vinegar soak, wet dressings or tea tree oil to ease any itching or blisters that may occur as a result of your athlete’s foot.