| What Is Athlete’s Foot?
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What Is Athlete’s Foot?

What Is Athlete’s Foot?

Athlete’s foot is a bit of a misnomer.  While it can, of course, occur in athletes, it is not limited to only occurring in athletes.  Athlete’s foot is very common in the United States and is a fungal infection of the foot.  While it is usually self-diagnosable and self-treatable, there are times when a trip to the doctor is necessary.  It typically starts small and then spreads out of control.  Therefore, catching the condition and treating it early is absolutely necessary in order to stop the spread.

Athlete’s foot typically begins by showing up between the toes.  While it is common in athletes, it is also common in people who wear tight or poor-fitting shoes.  People who are suffering from athlete’s foot may notice a scaly red rash that is extremely itchy, especially right after taking off the shoes and socks.  Athlete’s foot can look very similar to dry skin and is sometimes misdiagnosed by the patient.  Athlete’s foot is contagious and can quickly spread from the foot to the hands or to the other foot if the patient is not constantly washing their hands and feet.

Athlete’s foot is caused by a fungus that favors damp and dark environments, just like the environment in a sweaty athletic shoe.  Once the infection begins, it is easily spread by direct contact with another person, or by coming into contact with a towel or item that has touched the fungus.  It is easily spread by walking barefoot in communal areas, sharing a bed with someone who has the infection or wearing poor-fitting shoes.  Keeping your feet dry, changing shoes and socks, and not walking barefoot in a public place are the best ways to avoid athlete’s foot.

If a case of athlete’s foot is mild, the over-the-counter antifungals may be enough to get rid of the infection.  This is why it is so important to catch the infection early.  However, if the infection is allowed to spread, more serious treatment may be needed.  If the over the counter medication does not work, prescription antifungals may be needed.  This can include creams applied directly to the infected area, or pills that are taken orally.  As long as the prescriptions are followed correctly, the athlete’s foot should eventually subside.

Athlete’s foot is a very common infection, but it can also be easily avoided.  It is most often caused by wearing shoes that are too tight or walking around in public places barefoot and coming into contact with someone who is infected.  Fortunately, it can be avoided by wearing properly fitting shoes, wearing shoes in public places, not sharing shoes, and changing your socks regularly, especially after working out.  If you do contract athlete’s foot, treatment is simple, especially if it is caught early.  Typically, an antifungal cream from a drugstore is enough to get rid of the infection.  However, if that does not work, a prescription-strength antifungal is usually enough to do the trick.  But, do yourself a favor, and take preventative measure to avoid getting athlete’s foot in the first place.

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