How To Prevent And Get Rid Of Athlete’s Foot On Your Feet

By June 30, 2020 Feet
athlete's foot

Our feet are a very essential and vital part of the human body. These limbs are our primary source of contact with the ground and hence they are subjected to high amounts of stress. Like a machine which needs to be cleaned and oiled regularly, our feet not just demand, but deserve to be taken care of to ensure that they remain healthy and problem-free. However, due to the immense abuse, we subject our feet to, it is very likely that if proper care is not taken then there is a risk of developing one or multiple foot problems. One such problem which is very common is the Athlete’s Foot, with some types more prevalent than others.

What is the Athlete’s Foot?

Athlete’s Foot, medically known as tinea pedis, is a condition caused when a family of fungi called dermatophytes starts growing on the skin of your feet. It is a common fungal infection and can be caught by people regardless of their gender and age. It mostly affects the upper layer of the skin of the foot in between one’s toes, where conditions for growth are ideal. It can also spread to other parts of the body if one repeatedly and constantly touches the area where the fungi grow and proceed to touch other parts of their body without thoroughly washing their hands first.

Prevention of Athlete’s Foot

Like with more surface-level infections, the best preventive measures for the Athlete’s Foot involve having a good foot hygiene regimen. This includes regularly washing one’s feet, exfoliating, changing into fresh socks every day, having footwear with perforated or breathable fabrics, and avoiding walking barefooted in public gyms, pools, and locker rooms.

Causes of Athlete’s Foot

It requires a warm and moist environment – wearing unventilated footwear for long periods creates the perfect storm – and can be caught by walking barefooted on the floor or by coming in contact with soiled clothing. Since it is contagious, walking barefoot on a surface while being afflicted with the Athlete’s Foot can be detrimental to the health and well-being of those around you. Common places where this fundi can be found are on the floors of gyms, swimming pools, locker rooms while sharing socks, towels, and bedsheets with someone who has Athlete’s Foot can also lead to one catching it. While some people may be less prone to catching the fungi and thus having a reduced tendency to suffer from Athlete’s Foot, lack of proper care of one’s feet will lead to problems that will manifest over longer periods. People who have impaired immune systems or diabetes are more susceptible to get infected, especially if they have an open cut on their feet or if they are extremely sore.

Types of Athlete’s Foot and Their Symptoms

There are 4 major types of Athlete’s Foot which one can get infected with.

  1. Toe Web or Interdigital Infection.

This type of infection exists between the skin of one’s toes or fingers. It gives a burning sensation in the toes and the rash has a pungent smell. The skin can become red, peeling, or scaly, while in more complicated cases it can even turn green.

  1. Plantar or Moccasin Infection

This infection is usually found covering the sole of one’s foot, but in some cases may even spread to the heel and up the sides of one’s feet. Initial symptoms include dry, sore, or itchy skin, with the skin cracking and peeling later on. This type of Athlete’s Foot also tends to spread to the nails in which case the nails get crumbly or may even completely come out.

  1. Vesicular or Vesiculobullous Infection

The medical word for blisters is vesicles, which is what this type of infection entails. These can happen anywhere on one’s feet but usually pop out between one’s toes or on the soles. These blisters are red and small, causing itchiness. Bursting one could lead to a bacterial infection.

  1. Acute Ulcerative Infection

Open sores, cuts, and ulcers constitute this category of Athlete’s Foot. They are also prone to bacterial infections. It can lead to pain due to the crusting and fissuring of the skin, while the bacterial infection may release an odor.

Treatment of Athlete’s Foot

Each type of Athlete’s Foot has similar remedial procedures that can be used and applied in a variety of ways for treatment. While treatment should be started as soon as one begins to notice symptoms, some cases require no medication to the extremely mild nature of the fungi. Most treatments are fairly simple, can be done at home, and require no prescription. The standard topical treatment procedure would include applying an antifungal, which can be found in various forms such as cream, gel, powder, or spray. Additionally, a greater focus on food hygiene plays a huge part in reducing the infection and preventing reinfection. This includes regularly changing into fresh socks, providing one’s feet with plentiful air and ventilation, applying the antifungal in the inner sole of footwear if required, and washing and cleaning one’s feet. For those who choose to go down the more natural and organic route, tea tree oil, hydrogen peroxide, and ajoene found in garlic. These coupled with the increased hygiene measures have also proven to be effective.

Ideally, the treatment should be continued until after a week or two since the infection has died down to prevent any chances of the fungi making a comeback.

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