Athlete’s foot is caused by fungal infection. The fungus spreads from one person to another through direct contact or by touching contaminated surfaces. This fungus thrives well in warm and humid conditions like damp socks and shoes. It is commonly found in locker room floors, floor around swimming pool, and in showers.
Athlete’s foot is more commonly seen among males when compared to females. Wearing damp socks and tight-fitting shoes is a major risk factor for this infection. Sharing mats, bed linens, and shoes also increases chances of tinea infection.
Higher risk of athlete’s foot is associated with walking barefoot in public places like
Having a weak immune system also increases the risk of getting infection.
4 Making a Diagnosis
Diagnosis of Athlete's foot is based on review of signs and symptoms. Other tests help to differentiate conditions that may have similar symptoms.
Potassium hydroxide (KOH) test helps in confirmatory diagnosis of athlete’s foot.
Skin sample from the affected area of the foot is placed in KOH to destroy the normal cells.
The fungus is then clearly visible in microscopic analysis of the sample.
Viewing the affected region under black light from Wood’s light also reveals fungal infection.
For mild infections, over-the-counter antifungal medications are recommended treatment for Athlete's foot.
It is available in the form of
Prescription medications are suggested when the infection does not respond to over-the-counter medications.
Oral antifungal medications are suggested for severe infections of feet.
Some simple steps can help prevent Athlete's foot.
Avoid walking barefoot in public places like locker rooms, showers, and swimming pool
Keep feet clean and dry
Remove shoes and allow skin to breathe
Avoid contact with infected people
Ensure use of hygienic and uncontaminated tools in nail salons
Those who have had a fungal infection in the foot earlier should disinfect shoes periodically by using antifungal powder.
Prefer cotton socks to other materials.
7 Alternative and Homeopathic Remedies
A few alternative and homeopathic remedies exist for Athlete's foot.
Tea tree oil is considered to be a good natural remedy for treating fungal infection.
Grapefruit-seed extract also have antifungal properties which may be of use in controlling symptoms.
Adding clove and garlic to the diet is of use due to their antifungal properties.
Vinegar soaks and dilute Clorox soaks are easy home remedies for treating athlete’s foot.
8 Lifestyle and Coping
Lifestyle modifications are necessary in order to cope with Athlete's foot.
Simple self-care measures help to keep the feet dry and clean
Remove the shoes and expose your feet at home
Use cotton socks
Dry your feet, especially after using a public shower or swimming pool
Avoid walking barefoot in public places
Avoid borrowing and using other people’s shoes
9 Risk and Complications
There are several risks and complications associated with Athlete's foot.
The fungal infection may spread from feet to other parts of the body like
Infection of toenails are more resistant to treatment.
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