Athlete’s foot is a common and contagious fungal infection that thrives in many warm and moist environments. It can be found in places like showers, around swimming pools and locker room floors. Absolutely anyone in direct contact with an infected person or a surface contaminated with the fungus can acquire athlete’s foot.
Athlete’s foot typically develops between the toes but can also occur on other parts of the feet. It can affect one, or both of the feet. Although the skin infection can vary from person to person, signs and symptoms may include:
- Itching, stinging or burning discomfort
- Dry, flaky, scaly, peeling, or cracking skin
- Oozing or crusting blisters
When left untreated there is a risk that athlete’s foot can spread to the soles of the feet and to the toenails. Furthermore, other parts of the body can become infected by scratching the affected area, not washing the hands, and then touching the skin elsewhere. In the most severe cases of athlete’s foot there may be large, open cracks with exposed raw skin tissue. This particular situation is not only painful; it can lead to a serious secondary bacterial infection.
It is always a good idea to make an appointment with our podiatrist when suffering a problematic foot condition. Often athlete’s foot can be diagnosed by simply examining the area. However, not all itchy and scaly feet necessarily mean athlete’s foot is present. Additional tests are sometimes required as there can be other conditions such as dermatitis, psoriasis, or a low-grade skin infection that produce similar symptoms.
Once a definitive diagnosis of athlete’s foot has been made, our podiatrist will prescribe the appropriate antifungal medication and care. Used as directed, the medication in combination with daily foot hygiene and improved foot care practices, can help resolve the infection as well as prevent it from spreading.