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Athlete’s Foot: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment & Prevention

Athlete’s foot or tinea pedis is a common fungal skin infection. It affects the skin between the toes and the sole of the foot. It is usually red, scaly and itchy. Sometimes there are raw-appearing eruptions that ooze with small blisters.

It is common among young adults and teens and people with sweaty foot. Kids can get it too because athlete’s foot is contagious. It can spread from person to person through direct contact.

What Are the Symptoms?

Athlete’s foot common symptoms include:

Athlete’s foot is contagious. It may spread to other parts of your body if you pick and scratch at the infected parts of your foot. The fungus that causes athlete’s foot can contaminate floors, clothes and towels.

What Causes Athlete’s Foot?

You get athlete’s foot when you come in contact with fungus. The fungus grows on the top layer of the skin. It is the same type of fungus that causes ringworm and jock itch. The fungus that causes athlete’s foot is contracted in damp areas such as:

  • Swimming pools
  • Nail salon
  • Contaminated clothing and sock
  • Locker rooms
  • Gym
  • Communal shower
  • Shoes
  • Area between the toes

The fungi that causes athlete’s foot thrives best in moist, dark and warm areas like your foot. You can get athlete’s foot if you:

  • Share socks, shoes and towels with other people
  • Do not keep your feet dry and clean
  • Wear tight shoes
  • Weak immune system
  • Walk around barefoot in locker room, gym and communal areas

What are the treatments?

You can treat athlete’s foot at home using non-prescription antifungal medicine. Antifungal medicines can slow the fungus growth or kill the fungus. But if the sypmtoms doesn’t improve after self-treatment, then it’s time for you to see your doctor.

Your doctor can recommend prescription antifungal like Ketoconazole (Lomitrin). Lotrimin is an antifungal medication used in treating tinea infections. It is also used for the treatment of athlete’s foot, vaginal candidiasis and otomycosis.

Reinfection is common. It is therefore important that you will complete the full course of medicine even if the symptoms improve. It needs to be fully treated each time symptoms develop.

How to prevent athlete’s foot?

You can avoid getting athlete’s foot by:

  • Keep your feet clean all the time
  • Avoid wearing tight foot wear
  • Wear flip flops around public showers and pool areas
  • Change your sock everyday
  • Don’t share footwear and towels.
  • Dry your feet thoroughly
  • Practice good foot hygiene