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Athelete’s Foot

Athlete’s foot is an infection of the toeweb spacescaused by fungus. The medical term is tinea pedis and it is usually a recurrent condition. Athlete’s Foot is caused by various forms of fungi known collectively as dermatophytes or moulds.

Closed, warm, moist environments are the perfect medium for the growth of fungi. Keratin, a protein found in hair, nails and skin, provides the nutrition for the fungi. The condition can be mildly contagious. Direct contact with the infected skin cells found in footwear can spread the infection. The condition easily spreads in public places such as hostels, boarding school, public swimming area and fitness centers. Athlete’s foot usually affects the spaces between your toes, but it can spread to your toenails and the soles and sides of your feet.

Signs & Symptoms

Symptoms are:

  • Foul smelly foot odour.
  • Itchy, scaly, red rash that usually oceur in between the toes. Later it will cause cracked, blistered skin that may become infected.
  • Cracking and peeling skin, especially between your toes and on the soles of your feet
  • Nails that are thick, crumbly, ragged, discolored or dislodged from the nail bed
  • Dry, flaking skin on the soles of the feet.
  • Small itchy bubbles or blisters on the soles of the feet.

Risk Factors

  • Damp socks and shoes increase the risk. Warm, humid conditions that promote heavy sweating favor its spread.
  • Moist or damp public spaces or areas
  • People with low immune system or weakened immuned system for example diabetic or HIV/AIDS patients.

Complications

  • Secondary bacterial infection. The bacteria release substances that can cause soggy skin with eroded areas between the toes that are and painful.
  • Allergic reaction that may cause an eruption of blisters on your fingers, toes or hands (dermatophytid reaction).

Treatment

You can apply medication like antifungal cream to your skin. More severe cases may require prescription medications. The aim of the treatment is to inhibit the growth of the fungi as well as to prevent it from spreading. Antifungal powder and basic good hygiene can resolve most cases. If the infection is not adequately treated with anti-fungal powder, consult your doctor. Doctor will prescribe anti-fungal cream or anti-fungal medication. Even when treated with antifungal drugs, the infection may take several weeks to disappear.

Prevention

  • Keep your feet dry, especially after taking shower and oblution. Go barefoot to let your feet air out as much as possible when you are at home.
  • Wear socks that are made of natural material, such as cotton or wool because it helps draw moisture away from your feet.
  • Change socks and stockings regularly. If your feet sweat a lot, change your socks more frequently.
  • Wear light, well-ventilated shoes. Avoid shoes made of synthetic material, such as vinyl or rubber.
  • Alternate pairs of shoes. This allows time for your shoes to dry.
  • Wear waterproof sandals or shower shoes in communal showers, pools, fitness centers and other public areas.
  • Use your own shoes. Borrowing risks spreading a fungal infection.
Last reviewed : 25 April 2012
Writer : Affendi Hj. Isa
Reviewer : Datin Dr. Asmah Johar