Athlete's Foot Definition
A fungal skin disease of sorts, athlete's foot occurs between the gaps of your toes. The fungi that causes athlete's foot most commonly occupies and grows in humid, dark, and warm environments (in other words, your shoes after walking on them for a bit). Some common athlete's foot symptoms might root from other disturbances though, like psoriasis, eczema, disturbances in your sweat mechanism, or your foot's reaction to adhesives or dyes in your shoes. These issues might mimic athlete's foot but aren't actually the condition itself.

Athlete's Foot Causes
Other areas you might get athlete's foot from include breeding grounds for fungi like locker rooms, showers, swimming pools, and other wet and warm places. It's also called athlete's foot because the most common sufferers of this condition are athletes who regularly use locker rooms and swimming pools.

Athlete's Foot Symptoms
Here are the most common symptoms of athlete's foot or a fungal infection in between the gaps of your toes:

  • Dry skin
  • Itchiness and burning, which may worsen as the infection grows
  • Scaling
  • Inflammation
  • Blistering
  • Skin cracks
  • When blisters break, small raw areas of tissue are exposed, which causes swelling and pain

The spread of athlete's foot can go all the way to your feet's soles as well as your very toenails. Other parts of your body might be affected too, such as your underarms or your groin, especially if you scratch your infected foot and then scratch yourself elsewhere. The condition might persist because the microorganisms causing the condition tend to propagate for a long time. Contaminated clothing or bed sheets can also result in a fungal spread of the skin disorder.

When Should You Go to the Podiatrist?
If within two weeks, proper foot hygiene hasn't improved your apparent fungal issues, then it's about time to call an expert. The podiatrist or foot doctor should diagnose the fungus causing your issues and prescribe the right kind of medication for your condition. A specific treatment plan will then be developed and executed, such as taking in topical or oral medications of the antifungal variety.

Diagnosing and Treating Athlete's Foot
When going about the proper resolution of your athlete's foot dilemma, you should not shorten the treatment and you should follow your podiatrist's methods to the letter to ensure that treatment failure won't happen. You will probably have to take fungistatic or fungicidal chemicals to treat your condition, but they oftentimes aren't able to penetrate through your affected skin's "horny" layers.

Nevertheless, there's a growing frequency of podiatrists prescribing oral or topical antifungal drugs. If your athlete's foot is a bacterial issue instead of a fungal one, then you might require antibiotic care that's effective for all sorts of bacteria (like erythromycin or penicillin).

If you want to avoid athlete's foot and you have sweaty feet, keep them dry with foot power in your shoes. After the end of the day, you should wash your feet then dry them. In particular, you need to dry the areas between your toes carefully and thoroughly with a towel.

Preventing Athlete's Foot
Athlete's foot prevention is no easy task because if you're an athlete or a student, you're always exposed to swimming pools, dressing rooms, showers, and other public places where these fungi propagate. To wit:

  • Clean feet everyday with water and soap; carefully dry, particularly between the toes
  • Don't walk barefoot and use shower shoes or flip-flops if you're entering a moist and damp public facility
  • Reduce foot sweat by using foot or talcum powder
  • Get airy, lightweight shoes
  • Change shoes and wash regularly to minimize dampness
  • Wear socks that ensure dry feet, then change them regularly if you sweat a lot

Dr. Arshia Roohian is currently serving cities including Laguna Woods, Irvine, Rancho Santa Margarita, Mission Viejo, Laguna Hills, and Lake Forest. She offers expert and professional podiatric services including athlete's foot treatment. She performs the athlete's foot procedure on a daily basis, so you can make appointment online and in real-time.