Foot Fungal Problems - Athletes Foot

Fungal Problems (Athlete's Foot)


Athlete's foot typically affects the skin on the feet between the toes, but can move anywhere on the foot and can affect the toenails.

Athlete's foot is a fungal infection of the skin and the nails, usually found on the skin between the toes. When the infection spreads to the toenails, they become thick and distorted.

Fungi are plant organisms (tinea pedis) such as mold and mildew and grow best in conditions that are moist. Bacteria may thrive as a secondary infection, which worsens the symptoms of the disorder and makes it more difficult to cure. A fungal infection is one of the most difficult nail and foot conditions to treat.

It is common to catch athlete's foot from other people who have it by walking on floors that are moist or wet (e.g. at swimming pools and in shared bathroom facilities). Athlete's foot is also much more common in people who tend to have moist feet. Athlete's foot can also be spread by sharing other people's shoes or personal care items such as towels and wash cloths.

Athlete's foot and fungus may also spread to other parts of the body, notably the groin and underarms, by those who scratch their and then touch themselves elsewhere.

Symptoms


On the skin:


  • Reddened, cracked, and peeling skin
  • Some bleeding
  • Itching
  • Burning
  • Stinging sensation
  • Development of small blisters (Blisters often lead to cracking of the skin. When blisters break, small raw areas of tissue are exposed, causing pain and swelling. Itching and burning may increase as the infection spreads. In severe cases the skin may thicken, like a callus, and begin to scale.)

On the toe nail:


  • Change in color (yellow or brown)
  • Nail gets thicker
  • Bad odor
  • Debris collects beneath the nail
  • White marks on the nail

Treatment



Bathe your feet at least once a day with soap and warm water. Dry thoroughly after bathing and keep your feet dry. Change socks frequently and buy socks that absorb moisture, such as cotton and wool. Expose your feet to the air for short periods of time throughout the day (do not walk barefoot, however).

Wear sandals with open toes whenever possible.