The Facts About Athlete’s Foot

August 19, 2013 by Admin

Also known as tinea pedis or ringworm of the foot, Athlete’s Foot is one of the most common reasons people see podiatrists. They can also make an appointment with a dermatologist, since it is a fungal infection of the skin.  The most common symptoms of the disorder are itchy, scaly feet.  It’s hard to say exactly how many folks suffer from athlete’s foot, since many of them do not seek professional treatment and rely on over-the-counter medications instead.  But if recent estimates are accurate, about ten percent of the population has a fungal foot infection.

What is Athlete’s Foot?

The fungus responsible for the infection thrives in moist, damp environments, such as locker rooms, indoor swimming pools, gyms, Laundromats, and nail salons.  The communicable condition spreads easily and often in these areas. Because they are more likely to walk barefoot in them, men get athlete’s foot more often than women.

The common skin disorder typically affects the feet, but may spread to other parts of the body, especially moist, covered ones, such as the groin.  Although it is not always contagious, Athlete’s Foot can be passed from person to person in lockers rooms, showers, even at home.

Symptoms

Most cases progress slowly.  They may begin with a mild cracking of the skin on the toes and feet.  Whiteness around the toes is another common sign of Athlete’s Foot.  Finally, the skin may become flaky and scaly, which will often cause it to itch.  If ignored, the disorder can develop into a far more serious skin infection.  Toenails can easily become infected and painful blisters can form on or between your toes.

Who gets it?

As we mentioned, men are more likely to come down with a case of athlete’s foot than women, especially if they wear sweaty socks and tight-fitting shoes. Remember, the fungus thrives in moist environments and can spread quickly.  While it is true that all athletes are susceptible to the disorder, wrestlers and swimmers get is far more frequently. Why is this? Because they share those moist environments, i.e., indoor pools, wrestling mats, showers, and they have close contact with one another.  This gives the fungus the breeding ground and the contact it needs to pass from person to person.

How to treat Athlete’s Foot

There are several effective treatment methods for this common skin condition like antifungal powders, sprays, and creams

The reason why so many (between 30-40 percent) of the people who suffer from Athlete’s Foot treat it on their own is because powerful antifungal creams are widely available without a prescription.  In most cases, they can clear up an infection in only about a month. With that said, if you do not experience a marked improvement in symptoms after a few weeks, contact a podiatrist for an appointment soon as possible. He can write you a prescription that will alleviate pain and discomfort in no time.  In many cases, these potent medications must be administered orally.

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