Athlete’s Foot

Have you ever wondered why your feet often itch or become scaly in appearance? If you have, you may be suffering from a fungal skin infection. Fungus commonly attacks the feet because shoes create a warm, dark, and humid environment which encourages fungus growth. The warmth and dampness of areas around swimming pools, showers, and locker rooms, are also breeding grounds for fungi.

Fungal infections are often picked up in locker rooms and showers. The name came from a firm trying to sell anti-fungal creams. Previously, they were called “policeman’s foot” but it seems people like to think of themselves more as athletes than policemen. The fungus causes redness, cracking, itching and sometimes blisters between the toes. Drying feet thoroughly, wearing protective flip flops in the shower room, and applying talcum powder regularly can help prevent the fungus from spreading. In many cases a prescription topical medication is necessary to cure the infection.

However, not all fungus conditions are athletes’ foot. Other conditions, such as disturbances of the sweat mechanism reaction to dyes or adhesives in shoes, eczema, and psoriasis, may also mimic a fungal infection.

So how do you know if you have a fungal skin infection?

The signs and symptoms of a fungal skin infection can occur singly or in combination:

  • Drying skin
  • Itching
  • Scaling
  • Inflammation
  • Blistering

Blisters often lead to cracking of the skin. When blisters break, small raw areas of tissue are exposed, causing pain and swelling. Itching and burning may increase as the infection spreads. Fungal skin infections may spread to other parts of the body, notably the groin and underarms, by those who scratch the infection and then touch these areas of the body. The organism causing athlete’s foot may persist for long periods of time. Consequently, the infection may be spreads by contaminated bed sheets or clothing to other parts of the body.

Quick tips for prevention of a fungal skin infection:

  • Practice good foot hygiene
  • Avoid walking barefoot; use shower shoes or Crocs
  • Wear light and airy shoes
  • Wear socks that keep your feet dry, and change them frequently if you perspire heavily.

In an apparent fungus condition does not respond to proper foot hygiene and self care, and there is no improvement within two weeks, consult our office and we will determine if a fungus is the cause of the problem. If this sounds like you don’t panic, we can help.