About Athlete’s Foot
What is it?
Known medically as tinea pedis, athlete’s foot is an inflammatory skin condition caused by a fungal infection. It affects both the sole of the foot and the skin between your toes and is not restricted to athletes, as anyone can contract it. Symptoms of athlete’s foot include skin that’s burning, red and inflamed, scaly and raw, itchy and dry, and blistered and cracked. However, it’s possible to have athlete’s foot and have no symptoms at all.
What causes it?
There is no single cause for athlete’s foot, and a variety of risk factors can contribute to the condition, as the fungus thrives in warm, moist, and unventilated areas like damp, sweaty shoes and socks. It can spread directly from contact with someone who has the condition and from contaminated socks and/or clothing. Also, walking barefoot in communal areas where others with athlete’s foot have been is another common way to contract the infection. These areas include gyms, swimming pools, locker rooms, public showers, and nail salons.
If you suspect that you have athlete’s foot, you should see your favorite neighborhood dermatologist for an evaluation. Several treatment options are available to you, such as foot-drying powders, antiperspirants, topical antifungal medications (e.g., ones with miconazole, clotrimazole, or tolnaftate), and oral antifungal medications with terbinafine, fluconazole, or itraconazole.
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