Athlete’s foot is a fungal infection that affects the upper layer of the skin of the foot, especially when it is warm, moist, and irritated. The athlete’s foot is caused by the fungus called Trichophyton, which is commonly found on the floors and clothing.
Athlete’s foot generally infects the outer layer of the toes, which can cause burning, stinging, redness and itching. It is a common infection which happens in a warm and moist condition, for instance, shoes. It can be easily treated with over-the-counter (OTC) medications.
What are the causes of Athlete’s Foot?
- As mentioned earlier, the athlete’s foot occurs due to the fungal infection caused by Trichophyton, which thrives in warm and moist conditions. If the conditions are dry and clean, the spread of infection will be significantly reduced.
- This infection can also be triggered when you are wearing tight shoes as your toes are stuck together which can lead to the production of sweat and moisture. These are the perfect conditions for the fungus to thrive and spread.
- Athlete’s feet can also be contagious, so if an infected person has direct, skin-to-skin contact with an uninfected person, the latter can also be infected by it.
- Apart from being infected through shoes, socks, clothing, sheets, and towels, athlete’s feet are generally caused through the water of swimming pools and communal showers. In addition to this, if the immune system of people is weak, they are more susceptible to suffer from athlete’s foot.
What are the symptoms of Athlete’s Foot?
The most common symptoms of an athlete’s foot are stinging, burning, dryness, flakiness, redness, and cracking between the toes. If not taken proper care of, you might also experience oozing, blisters, and swelling,
When you suffer from any fungal infection, your skin is also more prone to catch a bacterial infection. So, if you are suffering from an athlete’s foot which causes sores around your toes, you are more susceptible to a bacterial infection.
In addition to this, if the symptoms go unchecked, the infection can spread from toe to toe, it might even spread in your feet causing redness and itchiness. In rare cases, it also infects your hands, causing similar symptoms.
Therefore, it is necessary to wash your hands if you have an athlete’s foot because if you touch other areas of your body with those unwashed hands, the chances of spreading the infection throughout your body are increased.
How can you treat Athlete’s Foot:
More often than not, people suffering from athlete’s foot have mild symptoms that can be easily cured with the help of over-the-counter medications. These medications prevent the spread of infection and gradually reduce the symptoms.
However, if symptoms are severe, the doctor may prescribe some antifungal medications, which help in killing the fungus entirely and reduce the symptoms. These antifungal infections include tablets, powders, tablets, liquids, creams, and sprays. Apart from these medications, you can also use topical medications. Topical medications are the ones that are applied to the skin directly.
What home remedies can be applied to treat Athlete’s Foot?
If you have an athlete’s foot that is causing some mild symptoms such as redness or itchiness, you might be consulted by your doctor to follow certain home remedies. These home remedies are:
- Wash your feet in daily intervals with soap and water.
- If you have blisters around the infection, you need to soak your feet in salt water or diluted vinegar.
- According to some research done by health experts, if you soak your athlete’s foot in a tea tree oil solution, it can help reduce the symptoms and even treat it up to some extent.
- Do not leave any area between the toes wet, as it would increase the moisture, leading to the growth in the infection. Therefore, whenever you step out of your washroom after bathing, make sure the toes are completely dry.
- Keeping feet dry is your main priority here. So, make sure to change your socks and shoes regularly so as not to create moisture among your toes.
- If possible, then wear clean cotton socks.
- Moreover, try to use your towel. Do not share it with any other person and do not use other people’s as well.
How to prevent Athlete’s Foot?
Although an athlete’s foot is not that serious a condition, it is better to prevent it as unchecked symptoms can complicate the situation. Apart from wearing clean socks, shoes and keeping your feet clean, you need to follow certain steps to prevent athlete’s foot.
The steps are as follows:
- Make a point to wash your feet at least twice a day with soap and water. Not only that but also thoroughly clean it and dry it with a clean towel.
- Make sure to keep your feet dry. To do so, you need to apply antifungal talcum powder. When you apply an antifungal talcum powder, you are protecting your feet from getting infected.
- Shoes or slippers increase the chances of the production of moisture between your toes. To prevent that, you need to walk barefoot at your home at least.
- Under certain unavoidable circumstances where you have to wear shoes, such as exercising or sports, you can remove them off as soon as you are done with the physical activity.
- During summer or other warmer seasons, the chances of you getting infected with an athlete’s foot are increased due to the production of sweat and moisture. Therefore, you must wear loose, well-ventilated shoes or slippers that are available in leather or canvas, as they help in keeping your feet dry and clean.
- Whenever you want to wear socks or tights, make sure that your feet are dry. However, the most appropriate option can be to wear socks that draw moisture away from your feet. They can be of cotton, silk, and wool.
- To prevent infection in swimming pools and communal showers, you can always wear pool slippers.
- In addition to this, no matter what happens, do not share footwear with other persons, because this increases the chances of you catching an infection.
- Remember to wash your feet and towels regularly to prevent athlete’s foot.