Given the condition’s name, it may seem as though athlete’s foot is exclusive to individuals who engage in sports. Are athletes at greater risk than others in the general population? Not really. Anyone who has feet can potentially contract this fungal infection.
Our Richardson podiatrist practice offers care for many skin and nail issues affecting patients’ feet, including stubborn cases of athlete’s foot. If you find that home treatment is not working, come in and see us for the care you need.
Causes and Risk Factors
This condition is actually a fungal infection. The particular microorganism responsible for the condition is known as the tinea fungus (which also causes jock itch and ringworm), and the infection is sometimes called tinea pedis. Athlete’s foot can be contracted either from contaminated surfaces or an infected person. The fungus can be transferred via floors, towels, socks, and shoes.
Anyone can have a certain degree of risk for developing this fungal infection, but some risk factors that make it more likely include being male, wearing damp footwear, sharing items with an infected individual, having a weakened immune system, and walking barefoot in saunas, communal showering areas, gym locker rooms, pool decks, and other damp, humid environments.
Symptoms and Complications
While a red, scaly rash is one of the visible symptoms, an itching or burning sensation on the surface of the skin is more likely to be the initial cue that an issue is present. These sensations are often strongest when a foot is exposed to air after the removal of shoes and socks. In most cases, the itching and rash begins between toes (an ideal environment for fungal growth—warm, dark, and damp) before spreading across the foot.
For many patients, the condition is mild. If you have diabetes, or develop a rash that will not go away after a few weeks of self-treatment, come to our Richardson, TX office. This is especially true if drainage, swelling, or fever are present.
Athlete’s Foot Treatment
Generally-speaking, mild cases are often treatable with the use of over-the-counter antifungal sprays or powders. If you are treating a case yourself at home, be sure to follow the instructions provided on the product’s label carefully. You may experience relief from symptoms early in treatment and think the infection is gone, when this is not actually the case. The antifungal agent will recommend a certain timeframe for use, and it is important to follow it.
When the powder or spray you picked up at the store is not providing the desired results, you will likely require professional treatment. This is where our professionals at Richardson Podiatry Associates can help. In such a case, we will likely need to prescribe a stronger medication, either topical or oral.
While treatment is usually effective, you would likely prefer to avoid contracting the fungal infection in the first place. The good news is that there are several preventative measures you can take:
- Keep your feet dry. We’ve mentioned that fungus needs a warm, damp environment, so dry your feet thoroughly before putting on socks and always replace wet footwear with dry ones as soon as you are able.
- Use an antifungal product daily. A quick spray or sprinkle of antifungal powder on your feet and in your shoes every day will reduce your risk.
- Wear sandals or shower shoes. Instead of walking barefoot in gym locker rooms and showering areas, put on a pair of clean sandals or shower shoes to protect your feet.
- Wear breathable footwear. Socks that wick moisture and shoes that allow your feet to breathe will keep them drier and less appealing to fungus.
Foot Skin and Nail Treatment in Richardson, TX
Athlete’s foot is just one of the many potential conditions that can affect the lower limbs. Most of the time, this condition can be successfully treated at home, but cases that are severe may require professional care. If you are unable to handle the infection on your own, contact Richardson Podiatry Associates. We provide effective treatment for an array of skin and nail conditions, so give us a call at (972) 690-5374 or request your appointment for our Richardson foot doctor office online today.