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Athlete's Foot

Athlete's foot is a common fungal infection of the skin of your feet. The fungus, tinea pedis , is contracted from public environments. The fungus then grows in the warm and moist environment of your footwear, and can be difficult to eradicate. A foot inside a shoe is the perfect place for the fungus. The same fungus may also cause "jock itch" in the groin.

A common, contagious fungus infection of the skin on the feet between the toes (usually 4th and 5th toes). It is especially common among athletes.

Causes

Infection by a trichophyton fungus or yeast. Contributing factors include:

  • Use of locker rooms and public showers.
  • Infrequent washing of the feet.
  • Infrequent changes of shoes or socks.
  • Hot, humid weather.

Signs and symptoms

  • Moist, soft, gray-white or red scales on feet, especially between toes.
  • Dead skin between toes.
  • Itching in inflamed areas.
  • Redness and scaling of the skin in affected areas.
  • Damp, musty foot odor.
  • Small blisters on the feet (sometimes), caused by a hypersensitivity to the fungus.

Diagnosis

  • Your own observation of symptoms.
  • Medical history and exam by a doctor.
  • Laboratory culture and microscopic examination of scales.

Treatment

Fungicidal and fungistatic chemicals, used for athlete's foot treatment, frequently fail to contact the fungi in the horny layers of the skin. Topical or oral antifungal drugs are prescribed with growing frequency.

In mild cases of the infection it is important to keep the feet dry by dusting foot powder in shoes and hose. The feet should be bathed frequently and all areas around the toes dried thoroughly.

Many medications are available including miconazole, clotrimazole , etc. Ask your health care professional or pharmacist for a recommendation. Treatment should be continued for 4 weeks

Home Treatment

  • Remove scales and material between the toes daily.
  • Wash your feet and dry them well. Fungi from athlete's foot will live in a warm, moist environment. If you keep your feet dry, they will have a hard time enjoying you. Application of a talc powder can help keep your feet dry over the course of the day.
  • Keep affected areas cool and dry. Go barefoot or wear sandals during treatment.
Prevention
  • Observe good locker-room hygiene.
  • Bathe feet dally. Dry thoroughly, especially between the toes, and dust with talc or antifungal  powder.
  • Go barefoot when possible.
  • Wear light and airy shoes.
  • Change shoes and socks daily.
  • Wear socks made of cotton, wool or other natural, absorbent fibers. avoid socks made with synthetic fibers.
  • Keep home bathroom surfaces clean - especially showers and tubs.
  • Spray your shoes with a disinfectant and set them in out in the sun to help kill germs.


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