What is Athlete’s Foot?
Signs, Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment
Soft, Painful or Itchy Skin Between the Toes
Athlete’s foot is a very common skin disorder that affects moist skin between the toes. The most common signs of the condition include lighter colored to red “soft” skin that peels off easily. Athlete’s foot is often first recognized when a painful fissure (split) occurs between the fourth and fifth toes. There may or may not be an unpleasant odor or itch, and the affected area is prone to bacterial infection as a result of the skin breach. Although the condition is generally mild, any signs and symptoms should be examined for a potential diagnosis so that treatment can begin and complications can be avoided. Athlete’s foot can be difficult to eradicate.
What Causes Athlete’s Foot?
As its name implies, athlete’s foot disproportionately affects those who are physically active. The condition is common amongst athletes at all competitive levels for several reasons, including the use of non-breathable footwear, heavy sweating, neglect to carefully wash and dry the feet (including between toes) following activities, and exposure to the fungi that cause athlete’s foot on shared areas of gyms and showers. Athlete’s foot can be caused by one or more factors, including bacterial, mold, or fungal infections, corns between toes, injuries to the foot or toes, eczema, psoriasis, and keratolysis exfoliativa.
Prevent and Care for Toes Affected by Athlete’s Foot
In some cases, an underlying condition may need to be addressed to properly care for toes and feet affected by this condition. For standard cases of athlete’s foot, we recommend several preventive and care measures, including careful hygiene practices, keeping the toes separated with foam or cotton, allowing adequate airflow to the feet as often as possible, and the regular application of a topical anti-fungal spray or powder. Any disintegrating or peeling skin should be removed in the office and properly protected until the area is healed. Activities should be discontinued until the skin has fully healed. Please note that the infection is highly contagious to your hands and toenails, as well as other people. One should never go barefoot in a public area. Instead, wear water shoes, flip-flops, or other appropriate footgear.
Contact Henry D. McKinney Skin Care Center to schedule an appointment. We provide prompt treatments for athlete’s foot. Call: (814) 944-7109.