The Scourge of Athlete’s Foot and
What To Do About It
A Fungal Invasion
Athlete’s foot (Also Known As Tinea Pedis) is a common fungal infection that invades areas of the feet where the skin is kept dark and moist. Tinea means fungal infection and pedis means foot. This fungal invasion got this name because it affects people whose feet tend to be damp and sweaty, which is often the case with athletes. Although it is a common fungal infection, many people are unfamiliar with the causes and symptoms of athlete’s foot. In this blog, our team of experts dives deep into the scourge that is athlete’s foot, and the different causes, risks, and treatments for every situation.
The Run-Down On Athlete’s Foot
Athlete’s foot causes an itchy, stinging, burning rash on the skin of one or both of your feet. Athlete’s foot is most common between your toes, but it can also affect the tops of your feet, the soles of your feet, and your heels. It’s the same fungus that can cause a jock itch or ringworm. Once it invades the top layer of skin, it begins to flourish and cause trouble.
With this infection, your skin may become scaly and cracked or develop blisters. It commonly occurs in people whose feet have become very sweaty while confined within tight-fitting shoes. The athlete’s foot fungus thrives best in damp, dark, and warm environments. These conditions are what make locker rooms, public pools, and similar areas a particular risk for picking it up. Once it is on your foot, sweaty socks and shoes can provide a prime environment for the fungus to continue growing. The fungus can also be transferred from person to person through direct contact.
One of the main goals in treating this condition is to prevent the infection from spreading to other parts of the body. The fungus is also capable of infecting the hands and groin, often traveling through direct touch or on towels. It is important to keep these factors in mind and take measures to avoid the unnecessary spread of the infection.
Signs & Symptoms of Athlete’s Foot
Athlete’s foot usually causes redness, flakiness, peeling, or cracking of the skin on the feet. It may itch, sting, burn, or simply feel uncomfortable. It’s usually on the soles of the feet, the areas between the toes, and sometimes the toenails. When the toenails are involved they become thick, white or yellowish, and brittle.
Common signs and symptoms are:
-Peeling or cracked skin between the toes
-Itchiness, especially right after taking off shoes and socks
-Inflamed skin that might appear reddish, purplish, or grayish
-Burning or stinging in the affected area
-Blisters in the affected area
-Dry, scaly skin on the bottom of the foot that extends up the side
Signs of Fungal Invasion
Toe web infection: A toe web infection is the most common type of athlete’s foot. It typically affects the skin between your fourth toe (ring toe) and fifth toe (pinkie toe). Your skin may change color, crack, peel, or flake.
Moccasin-type infection: A moccasin-type infection affects the bottoms of your feet, your heels, and the edges of your feet. Your feet may be sore for a few days. Then, the skin on the bottom of your feet thickens and cracks. In rare cases, your toenails may get infected. They can thicken, break into small pieces and fall out.
Vesicular-type infection: A vesicular-type infection typically affects the bottom of your feet, but it may appear anywhere on them. A vesicular-type infection features bumps or fluid-filled blisters (vesicles).
Ulcerative infection: An ulcerative infection is the rarest type of athlete’s foot. Open sores (ulcers) often appear between your toes. Open sores may also appear on the bottom of your feet.
The athlete foot fungus, called Trichophyton, is a fungi that causes infections in human skin, hair, and nails. These fungi exist harmlessly on human skin. As long as the skin is dry and clean, their reproduction is limited. However, under damp and warm conditions, they multiply rapidly.
Thick, tight shoes are more likely to trigger athlete’s foot because they squeeze the toes together, creating ideal conditions for the fungus to thrive. If socks are damp and the feet are warm, there is a greater risk of developing athlete’s foot.
Athlete’s foot can be spread through direct and indirect contact:
Direct, skin-to-skin contact, as may occur when an uninfected person touches the infected area of somebody with athlete’s foot.
Indirect contact, in which the fungi can infect people via contaminated surfaces, clothing, socks, shoes, bed sheets, and towels.
Athlete’s foot commonly spread around swimming pools and communal showers – these places are generally humid and warm.
Complications & Risk Factors
Athlete’s foot can affect everyone. However, it most commonly affects men and those over the age of 60. You may be more likely to develop athlete’s foot if you have: -Diabetes, -A weakened immune system,
-Pre-existing tissue damage or wounds on your feet.
Commonly Asked Questions
Now that our team of experts has provided the rundown of athlete’s foot, we want to hear from you! Below you will find the most commonly asked questions about athlete’s foot, right from our audience:
Q: Is athlete’s foot contagious?
A: Yes. Athlete’s foot is contagious. It’s a fungus that grows on or in your skin. Fungi (plural form of fungus) need warm temperatures and moisture to grow. People often wear socks and tight shoes every day, which keep their feet warm and moist. This is the perfect environment for athlete’s foot to grow.
Q: What will happen if athlete’s foot is left untreated?
A: Athlete’s foot doesn’t typically go away on its own. If it’s left untreated, it can spread to other areas of your body, including your: Nails: fungal nail infections can be more difficult to treat. They are often more resistant to many treatments. Hands: A similar fungal infection can spread to your hands. This happens when you scratch your infected feet or use the same towel to dry off your infected feet and hands. Groin: The same fungus that causes athlete’s foot can also spread to your groin. It’s a condition called jock itch. The fungus typically spreads from your feet to your groin after using a towel to dry off after bathing or swimming.
Q: How is athlete’s foot diagnosed?
A: Your healthcare provider can typically diagnose athlete’s foot by examining your feet and reviewing your symptoms. In some cases, your healthcare provider may remove a small piece of skin (biopsy) and test it in a lab.
Q: How Long Does Athlete’s Foot Last?
A: Most mild cases of athlete’s foot clear up within 2 weeks. But treatment can go on for several weeks or longer if the infection is more serious or affects the toenails.
Athlete’s foot often can be prevented!
Our experts recommend the following tips:
-Keep feet clean and dry by washing them daily and drying them completely, especially between the toes. (Use a clean towel and avoid sharing.)
-Wear waterproof shoes or flip-flops when walking around in locker rooms, public showers, and public pool areas.
-Switch between wearing shoes or sneakers to prevent the build-up of moisture. Choose ones that are well-ventilated with small holes to keep the feet dry.
-Avoid socks that trap moisture or make the feet sweat. Instead, choose cotton or wool socks or ones made of fabric that wicks away moisture.
-Change socks regularly, especially if the feet get sweaty.
-Use a powder on the feet every day to help reduce sweating.
You may be able to treat athlete’s foot with items in your medicine cabinet at home. If symptoms do not subside within a few days, contact a medical professional for further advice. These remedies are known to fight fungal infections and aid in keeping the affected area clean and dry and are found in most households. Some home remedies may include:
Hydrogen Peroxide, Tea Tree Oil, Neem Oil, Rubbing Alcohol, Sea Salt soaks, Talcum Powder
PediFix®Athlete’s Foot Solution: Start with Your Footwear
Athlete’s foot is an unpleasant condition. It’s itchy and annoying. It can also sting or burn and smell bad. Our specialists at PediFix® understand just how much athlete’s foot can affect your day-to-day. PediFix® ShoeZap 15-Minute UV Shoe Sanitizer is a fast, easy way to kill fungus and bacteria using UVC germicidal light. One-size sanitizer fits in any shoe, and can also be used on small items that fit into the Protection Bag.
More effective than sprays and powders that can leave a toxic residue, ShoeZap® is the fast, easy way to kill fungus and bacteria that cause Athlete’s Foot, Fungal Nails, Foot and Shoe Odor, Diabetic Infections, and more.
Interested in learning more about this specialized technology?
Watch This Video: ShoeZap®, 15 minute UV Shoe Sanitizer from PediFix® Medical Footcare
If you have questions about how our products can support you, please call 1-800- PEDIFIX (733-4349) to learn more. Our product specialists are ready to support your needs! You can also visit our website for more expert guidance and top products that will support numerous foot and ankle conditions.