Athlete’s Foot

Athlete’s foot is a fungal infection of the foot and can spread to other parts of the body, including hands, chest and arms. Some symptoms of athlete’s foot are blisters, cracked skin in between fingers and toes that may lead to exposed raw tissue, pain, swelling, and inflammation. As the fungus that causes athlete’s foot requires warmth and moisture to survive and grow, it is usually transmitted in moist areas where people who regularly wear shoes walk barefoot into places like communal shower areas, and then put on shoes. It can also be transmitted by sharing footwear with an infected person. Keeping feet dry and practising good hygiene is the easiest way to keep Athlete’s foot away.

The causes of Athlete’s foot

Athlete’s Foot is a type of fungal infection and is also commonly known as ringworm. The disease is typically transmitted in moist communal areas where people walk barefoot, such as showers or bathhouses. It normally develops between the toes and occasionally on other parts of the feet.

The common symptoms

1) Skin on the foot, especially between the toes becomes itchy.
2) There is also a sensation of stinging or burning.
3) The skin may also become dry, flaky, red or scaly.
4) The skin may also crack, there may be oozing or crusting blisters, and swelling.
5) The sole and the side of the foot may develop scaling patterns.

Preventing Athlete’s Foot

Practise good hygiene
Keeping your feet clean and dry is important in preventing Athlete’s Foot. Wash your feet once a day with water and soap and ensure you clean between your toes each time. This will keep the fungus Trichophyton from growing.

Keep your feet dry
Ensure that you wear dry and clean socks every time. If your socks are damp and your feet are warm, there is a greater risk of developing athlete’s foot. Thick, tight shoes are also more likely to trigger athlete’s foot because they squeeze the toes together, creating ideal conditions for the fungus to thrive. So always wipe in between your toes each time to keep them dry.

Communal bath/wash rooms
There are indirect methods of contracting Athlete’s Foot but only if you share contaminated surfaces, clothing, socks, shoes etc. If you’re using a communal shower, take proper precautions to avoid getting infected.

Treatment for Athlete’s foot

    Hygiene and prevention
  • Wash your feet often with soap and water
  • Make sure your feet are completely dry after washing them, especially between your toes
  • Wear clean cotton socks
  • In order to keep your feet dry, change your shoes and socks often
  • Wash your towels regularly, do not share them

Self Care for Athlete’s Foot
In the majority of cases, athlete’s foot symptoms are mild and you need not to see a doctor. OTC (over-the-counter, no prescription required) medications and topical medication can be bought at pharmacies which are effective in clearing up the infection. Follow the instructions on the leaflet regarding how often you apply the medication and how long the treatment lasts. Some topical medication may need to be applied for a longer duration to treat the fungus. You usually have to keep applying the medication after signs and symptoms have gone. Although the rash goes away rapidly, that does not always mean that you are infection-free.