You’ve seen the commercials for sprays and powders and probably winced at the thought of fungus living on your feet, but athlete’s foot is not an overly serious condition. It’s the most common form of fungal infection and easily treated. However, the over the counter stuff is not always as effective as advertised.
Tinea Pedis, or athlete’s foot, calls home the dead tissue that remains on the top, outer layers of the skin. It also can thrive on foot hair and in our toenails. The microbes that make up athlete’s foot prefer consistently wet, dark and warm environments, like your shoes and sweaty socks. However, it doesn’t just show up uninvited. Chances are, athlete’s foot is picked up in a locker room, swimming area or other public place that meets its ideal growth conditions. Since you are often barefoot in these areas, it makes it relatively easy to contract the condition.
Most often, signs of athlete’s foot start in between the toes and include dry skin, redness and maybe some blisters. You could also see signs of scaling and be tempted to scratch; but try not to, because it may get worse. Also, if any blisters form and break, the conditions can be exacerbated. Also watch for small pimple-like formations.
Occurring more in men throughout their teen years and into middle age, athlete’s foot can also be encouraged by poor hygiene. It is important then, to consistently wash areas prone to athlete’s foot and be conscientious about entering such areas without shoes or socks.
Dermatophyte (skin) infections cause raised, circular pimples or blisters that resemble the lesions caused by ringworm. The infections are named for the part of the body they infect; therefore, tinea pedis refers to an infection of the feet.