Those fond of wearing tight-fitting shoes must have experienced rashes around their toes in summer besides of course sweaty feet. If yes, then you have Athlete’s foot (Tinea pedis) which is a fungal infection that usually begins between the toes of one or both feet. This is closely related to other fungal infections such as ringworm and jock itch. The infection is very contagious and can spread very quickly to the hands, nails and the groin via contaminated floors, towels, shared shoes and socks or even scratching and picking at the infected parts of the feet.
Typical signs of Athlete’s foot are a scaly red rash that typically starts in between the toes, intense itching after one takes off shoes and socks, blisters and ulcers in some, chronic dryness and scaling of the soles right up to the sides of the feet which can be mistaken for eczema or extreme dry skin, stinging and burning sensation.
If the infection is not healing, understand that you need to seek immediate medical attention and especially if you have diabetes.
Chances of contracting this infection are higher in males , especially those who often wear damp socks and tight-fitting shoes in warm and humid weather conditions which favor bacteria growth. It can easily spread through sharing rugs, mats, bed linen, towels, socks and shoes, walking barefoot in public areas with high potential of infection like swimming pools, community baths and showers, saunas and locker rooms, and those with a weakened immune system are more vulnerable .
The doctor’s diagnosis is straightforward. The visual examination may be backed by other tests to rule out other conditions with a laboratory testing or microscopic examination of a sample of the infected skin scraping, examination of the feet under black light from a Wood’s lamp.
Mild Athlete’s foot is easily treatable with over-the-counter antifungal medications that include ointment, lotion, powder or spray. If it relapses or does not respond to the medications, then a stronger dose of prescription medication will be administered and that can include oral antifungal pills.
A pair of happy feet is a sign of good health. Keep your feet happy and breathing, away from smells and sweat.