Athlete’s foot, also known as Tinea Pedis and ringworm of the foot, is a skin infection causing fungus to grow on the foot and toes. The fungus often lives in warm, humid, and moist/damp areas like those around locker rooms, showers, and swimming pools. Another hub is inside sweaty and wet socks and shoes. All of these characteristics are prevalent in athletic activity, hence the name Athlete’s Foot.
What are the Causes?
Causes of Athletes foot, much like plantar warts, are skin to infected skin contact, and from skin to contaminated surface contact (showers, locker room, etc.). Sweaty, confined feet are also a major cause of the fungus’ growth – damp athletic shoes and socks during long workouts are frequently the culprit.
Symptoms & Identification
There are several kinds of athlete’s foot that each have their own differentiating attributes.
Toe Web Infection (Most Common)
- Usually between 4th and 5th toes
- Itching and burning between toes
- Skin becomes flakey, loose, and breaks
- May also include bacterial infection
Moccasin Type Infection
- Foot soreness
- Heel skin becomes dense and splits
- Toenails can become dense, break down, and even fall out
Blistering – Vesicular Type Infection
- Fluid-filled blisters under the skin
- Usually on bottom of foot (can appear anywhere on foot)
- Can also cause bacterial infection
Care & Treatment
Besides spreading throughout the foot, athlete’s foot can spread to other host sites of the body. Scratching the infection and touching elsewhere, contaminating clothes and bedding, etc. can spread the infection to areas like the groin and underarms.
Athlete’s foot can last long periods of time and worsen without appropriate treatment. Treatment may require prescription anti-fungal medication, either topical or taken orally. Antibiotics that are effective against a broad spectrum of bacteria, such as penicillin, may be prescribed if the infection is caused by bacteria.
It’s important to see a podiatrist right away if there is no improvement within 1 to 2 weeks.
At Advanced Foot and Ankle Care Center our podiatrists can determine whether or not your symptoms are caused by Athlete’s Foot or some other fungus, and create a specific treatment plan.