Athlete’s Foot: Causes, Symptoms, and Diagnosis

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What’s athlete’s foot?

Athlete’s foot — additionally referred to as tinea pedis — is a contagious fungal an infection that impacts the pores and skin on the toes. It could actually additionally unfold to the toenails and the fingers. The fungal an infection is known as athlete’s foot as a result of it’s generally seen in athletes.

Athlete’s foot isn’t critical, however typically it’s arduous to treatment. You probably have diabetes or a weakened immune system and suspect you’ve gotten athlete’s foot, it’s best to name your physician immediately.

Athlete’s foot happens when the tinea fungus grows on the toes. You’ll be able to catch the fungus by direct contact with an contaminated particular person, or by touching surfaces contaminated with the fungus. The fungus thrives in heat, moist environments. It’s generally present in showers, on locker room flooring, and round swimming swimming pools.

Anybody can get athlete’s foot, however sure behaviors improve your danger. Elements that improve your danger of getting athlete’s foot embrace:

  • visiting public locations barefoot, particularly locker rooms, showers, and swimming swimming pools
  • sharing socks, footwear, or towels with an contaminated particular person
  • sporting tight, closed-toe footwear
  • protecting your toes moist for lengthy intervals of time
  • having sweaty toes
  • having a minor pores and skin or nail harm in your foot

There are lots of potential signs of athlete’s foot, which embrace:

  • itching, stinging, and burning between your toes or on soles of your toes
  • blisters in your toes that itch
  • cracking and peeling pores and skin in your toes, mostly between your toes and in your soles
  • dry pores and skin in your soles or sides of your toes
  • uncooked pores and skin in your toes
  • discolored, thick, and crumbly toenails
  • toenails that draw back from the nail mattress

A health care provider could diagnose athlete’s foot by the signs. Or, a physician could order a pores and skin take a look at in the event that they aren’t positive a fungal an infection is inflicting your signs.

A pores and skin lesion potassium hydroxide examination is the most typical take a look at for athlete’s foot. A health care provider scrapes off a small space of contaminated pores and skin and locations it in potassium hydroxide. The KOH destroys regular cells and leaves the fungal cells untouched so they’re simple to see beneath a microscope.

Athlete’s foot can typically be handled with over-the-counter (OTC) topical antifungal drugs. If OTC drugs don’t deal with your an infection, your physician could prescribe topical or oral prescription-strength antifungal drugs. Your physician may additionally advocate residence therapies to assist clear up the an infection.

OTC drugs

There are lots of OTC topical antifungal drugs, together with:

  • miconazole (Desenex)
  • terbinafine (Lamisil AT)
  • clotrimazole (Lotrimin AF)
  • butenafine (Lotrimin Extremely)
  • tolnaftate (Tinactin)

Prescription drugs

A few of the prescription drugs your physician could prescribe for athlete’s foot embrace:

  • topical, prescription-strength clotrimazole or miconazole
  • oral antifungal drugs comparable to itraconazole (Sporanox), fluconazole (Diflucan), or prescription-strength terbinafine (Lamisil)
  • topical steroid drugs to cut back painful irritation
  • oral antibiotics if bacterial infections develop on account of uncooked pores and skin and blisters

Dwelling care

Your physician could advocate that you simply soak your toes in salt water or diluted vinegar to assist dry up blisters.

Various remedy

Tea tree oil has been used instead remedy for treating athlete’s foot with some success. A research from 2002 reported {that a} 50 % answer of tea tree oil successfully handled athlete’s foot in 64 % of trial members.

Ask your physician if a tea tree oil answer may help your athlete’s foot. Tea tree oil may cause contact dermatitis in some folks.

Athlete’s foot can result in problems in some instances. Delicate problems embrace an allergic response to the fungus, which might result in blistering on the toes or fingers. It’s additionally potential for the fungal an infection to return after therapy.

There could be extra extreme problems if a secondary bacterial an infection develops. On this case, your foot may be swollen, painful, and scorching. Pus, drainage, and fever are further indicators of a bacterial an infection.

It’s additionally potential for the bacterial an infection to unfold to the lymph system. A pores and skin an infection may result in infections of your lymphatic system or lymph nodes.

Athlete’s foot infections could be delicate or extreme. Some clear up rapidly, and others final a very long time. Athlete’s foot infections typically reply effectively to antifungal therapy. Nonetheless, typically fungal infections are tough to remove. Lengthy-term therapy with antifungal drugs could also be essential to hold athlete’s foot infections from returning.

There are a number of issues you are able to do to assist forestall athlete’s foot infections:

  • Wash your toes with cleaning soap and water each day and dry them completely, particularly between the toes.
  • Wash socks, bedding and towels in water that’s 140°F (60°C) or larger. Combining washing socks and utility of OTC antifungal suggestions ought to deal with most instances of athlete’s foot. You’ll be able to disinfect your footwear by utilizing disinfectant wipes (like Clorox wipes) or sprays.
  • Put antifungal powder in your toes each day.
  • Don’t share socks, footwear, or towels with others.
  • Put on sandals in public showers, round public swimming swimming pools, and in different public locations.
  • Put on socks made out of breathable fibers, comparable to cotton or wool, or made out of artificial fibers that wick moisture away out of your pores and skin.
  • Change your socks when your toes get sweaty.
  • Air out your toes if you end up at residence by going barefoot.
  • Put on footwear manufactured from breathable supplies.
  • Alternate between two pairs of footwear, sporting every pair each different day, to offer your footwear time to dry out between makes use of. Moisture will permit the fungus to proceed to develop.

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