ATHLETE'S FOOT (Tinea Pedis)
Athlete's foot is the most common fungal infection of the skin and derives its name from the frequent and recurrent symptomatic outbreaks that many athletes suffer due to the accumulation of moisture (sweat) and heat in their socks and shoes. Hot and sweaty shoes create the perfect environment for the fungal infection to breed and spread. Depending on the circumstances, the infection can be either chronic or acute.
The chronic or recurrent form of the infection typically reveals pronounced, dry scaling of the skin, redness without itching or swelling, and fungal-infected toenails. When the infection is severe, patients suffer from blisters and scaling between the toes, as well as bouts of burning and itching all over the feet. If the blisters break, the infection can spread quickly to other parts of the feet. Sometimes the infection resembles ringworm, isolated circular lesions that occur on the top or bottom of the feet.
Your podiatrist can quickly and accurately diagnose and treat athlete's foot. In some cases, oral antibiotics may be prescribed to prevent or clear up a secondary bacterial infection that may coincide with the fungal infection. Topical and oral creams, powders and medications are quite effective in the treatment of athlete's foot. Epsom salts soaks can also alleviate symptoms. Open-toed shoes and sandals allow feet to "breathe" and help to keep the condition from spreading and intensifying. Fungal nails should be debrided and treated with a topical anti-fungal medication. Patients should apply fungal medication daily to prevent the fungus from returning.
Keep feet clean and dry. Socks should always be clean and dry. Change socks after physical activities that cause feet to sweat. Cool-water compresses alleviate symptoms.