Athlete’s foot is a fungal infection of the foot that mainly infects the spaces between the toes. It is caused by a fungus called trichophyton rubrum. These are tiny plant like cells found on the skin of all humans.
When these multiply out-of-control, due to moisture build-up in the spaces between the toes, they lead to athlete’s foot. The conditions which aggravate this problem are warm, damp and moist environment, which serve as a perfect breeding space for the fungus cells. It mostly occurs in teens and adult males, whereas women and children are somewhat less affected.
The symptoms of Athlete’s foot
The common symptoms of athlete’s foot are scaling and peeling of skin between the toes. If the condition grows severe, cracks may also appear. Redness and itching, along with tiny blisters along the sides and soles of feet, are also seen in some cases. The skin becomes delicate and painful.
If not treated at the earliest, it can lead to other complications like toe nail fungus. The main cause of athlete’s foot is wearing tight and poorly ventilated shoes and socks, for long hours at a stretch.
It can also happen if one comes in contact with infected sources like swimming pools, locker room floors or public showers. Wearing shoes of a person, who has athlete’s foot, can also get you this problem.
Treatment and prevention
Athlete’s foot can be easily treated with topical medications like antifungal creams, sprays and powders, which are easily available at local medical stores.
Applying tea tree oil, to the affected area, can relieve you of the burning and itching.
A foot bath in a tub of warm water to which vinegar or salt water or bleach has been added can also help. Do this twice a day and see the fungal infection vanish.
Wearing ventilated shoes and absorbent cotton socks is key to prevent this problem. Wear open shoes or flip flops whenever possible. Avoid wearing socks made of synthetic material. Keep your shoes under direct sunlight, for some time, to disinfect them.
When using to public facilities like swimming pools or showering areas, make sure you wear your bathing shoes. Avoid walking bare foot in these areas. Wash your feet daily and especially before hitting the sack. And most importantly, try to keep them dry, especially the area between the toes.
Maintaining personal hygiene and taking few precautions can easily prevent and treat the problem of athlete’s foot.