Athlete's Foot  New York, NY

Athlete’s Foot

Athlete’s foot (tinea pedis) is a specific type of fungal infection that typically begins between the toes. A common cause of athlete’s foot is sweaty feet that are confined to tight shoes for a long period of time. Signs and symptoms of athlete’s foot include a scaly rash that usually causes itching, stinging and burning. Athlete’s foot is contagious and should be carefully monitored and treated. Athlete’s foot can easily be treated with antifungal medications, but the infection is likely to recur. Prescription medications also are available.

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What is athlete’s foot?

Athlete’s foot is an irritating fungal infection that commonly develops between your toes. Although it’s called athlete’s foot, it’s not only seen in people who take part in sports, but can, in fact, affect anyone. The fungus is spread easily by contact, and it has a perfect breeding place in the warm, moist, dark spaces between your toes.

Observing good hygiene is essential to help avoid infection, including:

  • Washing feet daily
  • Using foot powder to absorb sweat
  • Replacing old shoes
  • Alternating shoes to allow them to dry out
  • Drying the area between your toes well
  • Not sharing shoes, socks, or foot care products

The main fungal strain that causes athlete’s foot is Trichophyton rubrum, which is also responsible for other types of skin infections, including nail fungus, jock itch, and ringworm. T. rubrum is common in places such as hotels, swimming pools, gyms, locker rooms, and showers, where it can be passed on by walking barefoot.

What are the symptoms of athlete’s foot?

Because the fungus grows in the spaces between your toes, you may not notice the infection at first. As the fungus multiplies, symptoms develop such as:

  • Scaling
  • Itching
  • Peeling
  • Flaking
  • Soreness
  • Red skin
  • Unpleasant odor

You might also have clear liquid oozing from the infected areas, and if left untreated cracks and fissures can appear. At this stage, athlete’s foot can be uncomfortable or even painful, and the cracks can allow entry for bacterial infection.

How is athlete’s foot treated?

Treatments for athlete’s foot work best when started as soon as symptoms appear. Early treatment is particularly important for people with diabetes or impaired circulation, as bacterial infection can set in that may lead to more serious problems such as:

  • Cellulitis
  • Sepsis
  • Abscesses
  • Osteomyelitis

The primary treatment for athlete’s foot is the use of topical medications applied daily for several months. These medicated skin creams are effective in the earlier stages of athlete’s foot, but if the infection is more serious, oral antifungal medication may be required.

If you suspect you might have athlete’s foot, or you’re worried about any other aspect of foot health, call City Podiatry or schedule an appointment online today.