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Athlete’s Foot - Causes, Symptoms, and Cures

Athlete’s Foot - Causes, Symptoms, and Cures
Taikhum Sadiq

What is Athlete’s Foot?

Athlete’s foot is a kind of fungal infection that affects the bottom of the foot and the region between the toes. It is medically known as Tinea Pedis and caused by three types of fungi, Tricophyton, Epidermophyton, and Microsporum. These fungi live in moist areas like swimming pools and locker rooms, and can be also spread through animals. Once it comes in contact with the skin it starts spreading and within a few days, its effects become noticeable.

How is Athlete’s Foot Diagnosed?

Usually when a person experiences itching and rashes on the foot, the doctor collects a sample of the skin which is then tested under a microscope or by making a culture. It is not an incurable infection but it can spread and cause severe problems if not treated at the right time.

What Are the Types of Athlete’s Foot?

There are four types of Athlete’s Foot based on kind of infection each causes and the way the skin reacts.

  • Chronic Interdigital Athlete’s Foot - This occurs between the digits or the toes
  • Plantar Athlete’s Foot - This occurs on the sole of the feet
  • Acute Ulcerative Athlete’s Foot - This forms macerated lesions and scaly skin
  • Vesiculobullous Athlete’s Foot - This is one of the most harmful ones, with the formation of blisters and vesicles
Athlete’s Foot - Causes, Symptoms, and Cures

Symptoms of Athlete’s Foot?

There are a number of symptoms to identify if one has athlete’s foot. Dry, scaly feet are one of the foremost signs. Other symptoms include inflammation, itching, and blister on the feet. Many a time, the feet may give a very unpleasant and sometimes obnoxious odor. Excessive sweating of the feet is also a sign of athlete’s foot.

Interdigital Athlete’s Foot is mostly doesn’t show any major symptoms and begins with itching. The appearance of ulcers then confirms the presence of the fungi. Ulcerated forms very evident lesions and hence is very noticeable. Plantar Athlete’s Foot creates scaly skin which sheds a powdery dry skin and hence can be easily detected. Vesiculobullous forms pus filled vesicles and blisters and should be taken care of specifically.

What Causes Athlete’s Foot?

Contrary to its name, athlete’s foot does not only affect athletes. It is named such, because athlete’s have a greater probability of getting this problem. It is common among those who frequent shared facilities, such as locker rooms, bathing areas and swimming pools. Such environments are often warm and humid, which are ideal conditions for fungi to breed and spread from person to person.

It wasn’t a very common problem in the past but the creation of greater public spaces and the proximity of people in one space has led to a widespread of this disease.

How to Treat Athlete’s Foot?

There are water resistant footwear and insoles available that prevent the infection. But even if you do contract athlete’s foot there are a number of topical solutions and gels that can help ease the inflammation and treat the problem. Tea tree oil is very helpful in treating the problem.

Many a time using herbal or home-made solutions might not help and one has to approach a doctor and use allopathic solutions.

There are a number of anti-fungal creams that work wonders. They eliminate the fungi and thus reducing the spread of the disease. Topical analgesics then can be used to heal the existing lesions or blisters and prevent infection. 

Athlete’s Foot - Causes, Symptoms, and Cures

It is also advisable to use comfort soles for people who have already been affected so that they person doesn’t experience pain while walking or standing.

Athlete’s Foot - Causes, Symptoms, and Cures

Bad odor due to Athlete’s Foot might become an embarrassing thing for a person and so the use of special deodorants that do not affect the existing condition can be used. Taking about sprays, one can also use an anti-itching spray to reduce the itching sensation, as itching or touching the feet might lead to it spreading even further. 

Athlete’s Foot - Causes, Symptoms, and Cures

Five Precautions One Should Take To Avoid or While Treating Athlete’s Foot

  • Always wear shoes while walking in public spaces like gyms, clubs, sports rooms, common showers, swimming pool vicinity, or other such places

  • Always carry something that reduces sweat or absorbs it, as these fungi develop the most under moisture. Keeping your skin dry can reduce the chances of them spreading to you

  • Never take the situation lightly, and if diagnosed correctly, then immediately move to treat the problem. Procrastinating or not taking care might cause worse repercussions

  • Always wear a clean pair of socks and make sure that your shoes are dry from the inside

  • Once infected, make sure you don’t share shoes or any other feet accessories. Wearing sandals or flip-flops is the best option

 Athlete’s Foot is a treatable condition and the right kind of treatment and care can cure it within weeks. Make sure you diagnose it correctly and also choose the right treatment methods. 


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HPFY Taikhum Sadiq

Taikhum Sadiq

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Taikhum Sadiq has been a Health Products For You contributor since 2016.

He is an archaeology student and is passionate about learning about the past and how it impacts our future. He believes ...

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