Away with Athlete’s Foot: What it is and How to Get Rid of It
Athlete's Foot, also known as ringworm of the foot, is a contagious fungal infection that causes scaling and flaking of the foot skin. Athlete's Foot can also spread to other parts of the body, such as the palms or groin where moisture is prominent, but it’s commonly found between the toes.
Multiple different fungi are to blame for athlete’s foot, but it’s almost always initially spread in warm, moist environments such as communal showers or pools. The infection spreads through skin-to-skin contact or by walking on contaminated surfaces. Athlete’s foot affects roughly 15% of the population.
There are three common types of fungal athlete’s foot:
- Moccasin, occurring on the soles of the feet
- Interdigital, occurring between the toes
- Inflammatory, a blistering, rash-like infection.
In almost all cases, the infection causes foot-itching, burning, pain, and flaking. It’s typically diagnosed during a physical inspection, but a direct microscopy (or skin-scraping test) may also be performed. In about a third of patients, the infection will clear without medication, but there's a much higher (and faster) cure rate when topical solutions are used.
Nonprescription antifungals are usually used first. If these don’t work, prescription treatment such as butenafine or naftitfine may be advised.
In either case, the patient will apply a topical cream twice daily and make some lifestyle adjustments to include: wear drying socks and well-ventilated footwear, wear sandals in communal areas, and use anti-fungal foot powder to decrease the risk of further infection.
In more extreme cases, an oral prescription medication might be recommended also. However this is far less common due to price and unknown drug side effects.
Regardless of the medication route, it is crucial to follow doctor’s orders and complete the full course of treatment, unless told otherwise. It’s common for symptoms to improve initially but reinfection is also common. Always complete the medication as advised and keep those lifestyle adjustments in mind.
If you are suffering from athlete's foot, contact us today so we can find a solution that works for you.