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Athlete’s Foot

athletes foot

Athlete’s foot, or Tinea pedis, is a skin disease caused by a fungal infection. The infection typically occurs between the toes but can occur anywhere in the feet. The feet are most subject to this disease because shoes best create the warm, dark, and moist environment in which fungi thrive. Areas that are constantly wet such as public showers, swimming pools, and bathrooms are also environments where fungi breed.    

Signs of athlete’s foot include dry skin, itching, scaling, inflammation, and blistering. Blistering often lead to break in the skin where exposed areas of tissue develop pain and swelling. Discharge from the blister is teeming with fungi that can spread the infection. Itching and burning are usual symptoms of athlete’s foot.  

Athlete’s foot commonly occurs between the toes, but it may also spread to the toenails or soles of the feet. Other parts of the body may have the same disease if fungi from the athlete’s foot is spread to those areas from touching. Aside from physical contact, athlete’s foot can also spread through fungal contamination of footwear, clothing or bedsheets.

Proper foot hygiene is essential in preventing athlete’s foot.  Athlete’s foot infection can be prevented by frequently washing the feet using soap and water and thoroughly drying the feet especially in between the toes. Changing shoes and socks every day to reduce moisture and disinfecting bathroom and shower floors are effective ways in controlling fungal growth. Avoiding direct contact of surfaces with fungal growth and keeping the feet dry are ways of preventing athlete’s foot. 

First line of treatment is prevention and good hygiene. Mild cases of athlete’s foot can be treated with topical drying agents. More severe cases of athlete’s foot may require antifungal treatments given as topical agents or oral medications.

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