Athlete's Foot: What You Should Know

Athlete's foot is one of the most common types of fungal conditions of the feet. It is most common among athletes and people who are physically active since heat and sweat can lead to the condition. If you have sweaty, itchy feet, you might be suffering from this condition.   

What are the causes?

As a type of fungal infection, athlete's foot is primarily caused by excessive moisture on the feet. The fungi dermatophytes grows on the skin when there is a lot of moisture, which contributes to this foot condition. There are also some risk factors that may put you at a higher risk for athlete's foot, such as having a lower immune system. This puts you at a higher risk of infections, including athlete's foot. You might also be someone who sweats a lot due to being an active person, which is another risk of the condition.

Is it similar to other conditions?

One important thing to know is that while athlete's foot is very common, it can also be confused with other conditions when you try to self-diagnose. There are other conditions of the feet that have some similarities with athlete's foot. For example, psoriasis, dry skin, dermatitis, and various other bacterial infections show some similar symptoms. Here are some common symptoms of athlete's foot that can help you differentiate between it and other related conditions:

  • Bad odor
  • Scaling or peeling
  • Small blisters
  • Burning or itching rash
  • Rashes on the sides of the feet

How is it treated?

Athlete's foot is not a serious condition, so in most cases, your podiatrist will treat it with an anti-fungal product. There are over-the-counter creams that work well for mild cases. You might also need a prescription-strength topical ointment if your athlete's foot is moderate or severe. There are also powders and sprays that can be used to help fight the fungal infection. If these methods don't work, speak to your doctor about your other options.

What are some preventative measures?

The best way to prevent athlete's foot in the future is by keeping your feet dry. If you find that after your daily run, your feet are soaking wet, it is time to switch socks. Use socks with acrylic or polypropylene since they help to wick away moisture. You also need shoes that provide excellent ventilation and breathable mesh tops. When you are in an area with water, like a swimming pool deck or public bathroom, always wear sandals instead of going barefoot.

For further assistance, contact a local podiatrist, such as one from Allied Ankle & Foot Care Centers PC.