Athlete’s Foot

Table of Contents

What is Athlete’s Foot?

Athlete’s foot is a fungal infection that usually appears between the toes. It mainly occurs in people whose feet have become very sweaty when wearing tight-fitting shoes. Athlete’s foot is also known as tinea pedis. 

Signs and symptoms of athlete’s foot include scaly rashes that usually cause itching and burning sensation. Athlete’s foot is contagious and can spread through contaminated floors, towels, or clothes. 

Athlete’s foot is closely related to other fungal infections, such as ringworm and itching in the groin. Fortunately, you can treat an athlete’s foot with over-the-counter antifungal medicines, but the infection may recur. 

Make an appointment with a dermatologist through Smarter Health if your athlete’s foot worsens. Your dermatologist can help determine proper treatment and medication prescriptions for your condition.

Causes of Athlete’s Foot

Athlete’s foot, ringworm, and jock itch are caused by the same type of fungus. Semi-wet socks and shoes, as well as warm, humid conditions, contribute to the growth of organisms.

You should watch out for the transmission and spread of athlete’s foot through contact with infected people or from touching contaminated surfaces, such as towels, floors, and shoes.

You have a higher risk to develop athlete’s foot if you: 

  • Are a male. 
  • Often wear damp socks or tight shoes.
  • Sharing mats, rugs, sheets, clothes, or shoes with an infected person 
  • Walk barefoot in public places, such as saunas, swimming pools, public baths, and showers.

When to See a Doctor for Athlete’s Foot

If athlete’s foot does not resolve after taking an over-the-counter anti-fungal medication, you should consult a dermatologist to get proper treatment.

In some cases, your doctor may diagnose athlete’s foot right away just by looking at your foot. To confirm the diagnosis and rule out other conditions, your doctor may take a skin sample from your leg for lab analysis. 

During the examination, your doctor may ask a number of questions such as:

  • When did you first notice the symptoms of athlete’s foot?
  • What did the rash look like when it first appeared?
  • Is the rash painful or itchy?
  • Is there anything that relieves your athlete’s foot symptoms?
  • Does anything worsen your athlete’s foot symptoms?
  • Is there any family member suffering from an athlete’s foot?
  • Have you ever been to a swimming pool, sauna, or other places where athlete’s foot is prone to spread?

After, your doctor will likely recommend a treatment method based on your condition.

Symptoms of Athlete’s Foot

Athlete’s foot usually causes a red, scaly rash. The rash usually appears between the toes. The itching may become worse after you remove your shoes and socks.

Some symptoms of athlete’s foot include the appearance of blisters or ulcers. Athlete’s foot causes chronic dry, scaly patches on the soles, which then extend up to the sides of the foot. This can be mistaken for eczema or dry skin.

The infection can affect one or both feet and can spread to your hands, especially if you scratch or pick at the infected parts of your feet.

If the rash on your feet does not get better within two weeks after consumption of antifungal medicines, it is best to see a dermatologist.

If you have diabetes, consult your doctor when you have symptoms of athlete’s foot, especially any signs of a possible secondary bacterial infection such as extreme redness, swelling, drainage, and fever.

Treatment For Athlete’s Foot

If you have mild symptoms of athlete’s foot, your doctor may recommend over-the-counter antifungal ointments, creams, powders, or sprays.

However, if your athlete’s foot does not heal after using an over-the-counter medication, you may need more specific prescription medication for your condition. Severe athlete’s foot infections may require antifungal pills.

Treatment Cost For Athlete’s Foot

Treatment cost for athlete’s foot is relatively affordable, as you only need to pay for the consultation fee and the antifungal medication prescribed by your doctor.

To calculate the estimated treatment cost for athlete’s foot at home and abroad, contact Smarter Health.

Prevention of Athlete’s Foot

Follow these tips to prevent athlete’s foot and relieve symptoms of infection:

  • Apply anti-fungal powder to your feet on a daily basis
  • Avoid sharing shoes with other people to prevent the risk of spreading athlete’s foot
  • Change your socks regularly. If your feet are very sweaty, change your socks twice a day.
  • Use other shoes as well. Do not wear the same shoes every day to let them dry after using them.
  • Wear lightweight shoes with good air circulation. Avoid shoes made of synthetic materials, such as vinyl or rubber.
  • Protect your feet in public places using footwear. Wear waterproof sandals or shoes around public pools, showers, and other public places.
  • Try to keep your feet dry, especially between your toes. Try walking barefoot to let your feet breathe as much air as possible when you are at home. Be sure to keep your toes dry after showering.

Home Remedies for Athlete’s Foot 

Apart from taking medications from your doctor, there are some self-care measures you can do at home to treat athlete’s foot. Follow these tips to help relieve symptoms of athlete’s foot and prevent recurrence: 

  • Do not share your shoes with other people to prevent the spread of the fungus that causes athlete’s foot.
  • Change your socks regularly. If your feet are very sweaty, change your socks twice a day.
  • Try not to scratch the rash. You can try to relieve itchy feet by soaking them in cold water.
  • Use other shoes. Try not to wear the same shoes every day to give them time to dry off after using them.
  • Wear lightweight shoes with good air circulation. Avoid shoes made of synthetic materials, such as vinyl or rubber.
  • Protect your feet in public places with footwear. Wear waterproof sandals or shoes around swimming pools and public showers.
  • Try to keep your feet dry, especially between your toes. Walk barefoot around the house so that your feet breathe as much air as possible. Be sure to keep your toes dry after showering.
  • Take care of your feet with over-the-counter antifungal products and follow the directions as instructed on the package. For example, you can apply the cream to the infected area twice a day for a week even after the rash disappears.

Have more questions about athlete’s foot? Write them down in the comment section below or book a consultation with a dermatologist at home and abroad through Smarter Health.

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