Causes of Foot FungusFoot fungus, or athletes foot, is a common, contagious infection that can affect the bottoms, heels, and toes of the foot. At the root of the problem generally lies a common ringworm fungus that is found in various locations – from the locker room at your favorite gym to the nail salon where you have a pedicure.
Some people seem more prone to foot fungus while others have an apparent resistance to becoming infected. This may be because the fungus that causes athletes foot requires a warm, moist environment in order to grow. Nonetheless, up to seventy-percent of the population will experience this foot fungus at one time or another and some people will experience it on a chronic basis.
Signs and Symptoms of Foot FungusMany people will have no signs or symptoms of athlete’s foot at all, and many are unaware that they have the condition. Some may simply believe that they have unusually dry skin on the soles of the feet. When foot fungus is symptomatic, it will exhibit itself with itching, burning, and irritability on the soles of the foot, heels, and toes, hence, toenail fungus. The skin may peel away, and in many instances, become cracked or bleed. In rare and very extreme cases, the foot fungus can cause blistering. One might notice red, dry, peeling skin on the foot, or dry flaking on the tops of the feet.
Most people show symptoms on just the bottom of the foot, or the area of skin between their fourth and fifteen toes, which may have moisture, dry flaking, and peeling. In some cases, the rash may even infect one of the hands, and may accompany ringworm of the groin. When the fungal infection affects more than one area, treating all areas is important to avoid recurrence.
Treating foot fungus or athlete’s foot first and foremost involves making the infected area of the body less suitable for the growing fungus by keeping the area dry and clean. Investing in shoes that are made from breathable materials is important to keeping the foot dry, and wearing absorbent socks can also help. Medicated Lotrimin or Tinactin powders can also work to keep the feet dry.
Treatment of the actual fungus involves the use of antifungal washes and creams. There are lots of options available over-the-counter (OTC) that can be used to kill the fungus that causes athlete’s foot. Advanced cases of foot fungus may require a visit to the doctor for stronger oral and topical antifungal medications.
Treatment is more successful and less complicated when athlete’s foot is treated in its earliest stages. Left unchecked, this foot fungus can spread to other parts of the body, and to other people.
PreventionThose who have experienced foot fungus or a fungal skin infection are more prone than those who have not to experience a recurrence, and knowing the causes of foot fungus can help to prevent future problems. Preventing foot fungus requires keeping the foot clean and dry, and avoiding barefoot exposure in moist environments, like the locker room or public swimming pool. You should also disinfect your old shoes and periodically sprinkle foot powder into your all of the shoes that you wear regularly. Taking your own nail instruments with you to a nail salon is also an option. Check with the salon to determine if they have strict sterilization requirements in place, or go to a salon that uses disposable nail files, clippers, and so on.