What Exactly Is Athlete's Foot?



Even if you aren’t particularly athletic, you may have heard of a condition known as Athlete's foot or may have even suffered from it. This article aims to discuss this condition, it’s cure, and how to prevent it from occurring. 


Defining The Condition

Athlete’s foot is a fungal skin infection that commonly affects many people around the world. The skin rash that usually starts between the toes creates a foul smell that makes sufferers too embarrassed to get a pedicure or even see the advice of a medical professional for the condition. 


The fungal infection is considered contagious, but can also occur without contact. This usually happens due to excessive sweating or prolonged periods of time in tight fitting shoes. The higher moisture levels create the perfect habitat for fungal growth. 

Signs And Symptoms

  • Itching
  • Unpleasant smell
  • Stinging or burning sensation
  • Scaly, red skin rash


It’s noteworthy that Athlete’s foot can be contracted by sharing towels, mats, and shoes. Diabetics should inform their doctor if they suspect they have athlete’s foot because it is particularly dangerous in diabetics patients and could possibly lead to amputation and or other fatal complications if left unchecked. 


Is There A Cure?

There are many over-the-counter antifungal medications used to treat Athlete’s foot. The same medications are used to treat ringworm and jock itch because those conditions are caused by the same organisms. However, although these medications are very effective at eliminating the fungus from a patient’s feet, it is common for patients to suffer from recurring bouts of the condition. This is a case where prevention is better than the cure, because even after the infection is cleared up, some people get it from putting on the same shoes they were wearing during their infection. 


Preventing Athlete’s Foot

As we’ve previously mentioned, it’s better to prevent getting Athlete’s foot in the first place.The advice below is aimed at reducing the favorable conditions for fungal growth, and reducing the risk of contagion.

Keeping Feet And Shoes Dry

Patients are advised to air out their feet by wearing open toed footwear and going barefoot whenever possible. Feet should be dried (especially between the toes) after washing, and spending prolonged periods of time in tightfitting shoes should be avoided. Ideally, shoes should be allowed to air out and dry as well. Many people alternate their shoes in order to give the shoes time to dry out in between wears. Antifungal powders can be added to shoes in order to absorb moisture and prevent fungal growth. 


Try to wear shoes that are well ventilated. If you still find that you are soaking up your socks with sweat, try changing them twice a day or opt for footwear that doesn’t need socks (like sandals or flip flops) whenever possible. Make sure your socks are breathable as well. 

How Not To Get It From Someone Else

When you’re in a public space, avoid putting our feet in contact with common surfaces. This means wearing flip-flops when you’re in the gym shower, and bringing your own towels. Also, avoid sharing shoes. 


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