Athlete’s foot is named so because it is commonly seen in the feet of athletes. It is a fungal infection that is caused by the fungi Trichophyton rubrum or mentagrophytes and Epidermophyton floccosum. It usually affects the upper layer of the feet and can spread to toenails and hands. It is a very contagious infection. The fungus tinea pedis grows on the feet and causes this infection. It is very hard to cure especially if one is affected by diabetes. In that case it is advised to contact the doctor immediately. Sometimes the infection on the toenails gets mistaken as fungal infection and is neglected. It should not be so.
The worst condition is when the athlete’s foot affects the below layer of the feet. The person will not be able to walk or press their feet on the ground. It is a condition in which the scale becomes itchy and scales develop on the feet skin. The skin flakes by itself and peels off. In worst cases, if left unchecked, blood starts to ooze out of the pores in the skin. Pus starts to develop and results in very grave conditions. Even after treatment the feet will not get cured easily but the changes will be visible only after four weeks.
Causes Of Athlete’s Foot :
The primary reason is the result of a fungal infection that can affect the feet. The secondary causes include :
- Contact with the person infected by the fungus.
- Using the things of the infected person like towels, socks, shoes and clothes.
- Walking barefoot outside that has greater chances of getting infected by this fungus especially the warm and moist places.
- Walking in the locker room flowers and near swimming pools can augment the chance of being infected by this fungi.
- Low Immunity in the body.
- Tight and wet shoes
- Certain climatic conditions.
- Having a wound on the skin and nails.
- Wetting the feet always.
- Feet that sweat always more.
Symptoms Of Athlete’s Foot :
The symptoms of the athlete’s foot are pretty obvious and there is no need to confuse. A person may develop one or more of the following symptoms. The symptoms include :
- Red and itchy feet.
- Foot skin that flakes and forms scales.
- Blisters on the feet
- Cracks and flays that form on the skin.
- Skin decolorization on the foot especially between the toes.
- Drying of the skin
- Decolorization, rigid and rugged thickening appearance of toenails.
- Toenails that fall off with no proper rigid fixtures.
- Softening of the skin of the feet between the toenails.
- Soreness and crumbling of the feet.
- Burning sensation on the feet especially between the toes.
Diagnosis Of Athlete’s Foot :
The athlete’s foot are easy to find. But in order to make sure the doctor may perform tests to check if the infection is a normal one or that of athlete’s foot. The doctor will scrape the skin from the foot and put it in a mixture of potassium hydroxide. The chemical reacts with the living cells and destroys them leaving only the affected skin. From this it is easy to find whether the infection is a normal one or that of athlete’s foot.
Treatment Of Athlete’s Foot :
The treatment is double fold as it comprises both medical and home remedies. A person may undertake whatever treatment he wants. If the infections does not respond well to the home remedies then he may resort to medical treatments.
Home Remedies :
1. Baking Soda :
Baking soda is also known as sodium bicarbonate. Add a cup of water to a bowl of baking soda and mix them well. Apply the paste on the affected foot. Wash the foot after a quarter of an hour. Wipe it clean with a cloth and add talcum powder to it.
2. Human Spit :
It has been said that one’s own saliva is an effective cure for the infection.
3. Salt water :
We must add salt to a trough of water and soak our feet in it thrice a day. It helps in the immediate recovery of athlete’s feet.
4. Mustard :
When it comes to fungal treatments, mustards are an effective cure. We may either soak our feet in mustard water or apply mustard oil directly on the affected area.
5. Tea and Tea Tree Oil :
The tea has tannic acid that helps in drying the sweat feet faster. We must dip about seven tea bags in a bowl of hot water. We must allow it to cool and dip our feet in the lukewarm water. It helps in immediate relief. Mix tea tree oil with olive oil or aloe vera and apply on the infected skin. It smoothes the skin and nourishes it.
- Hair spray, apple cider vinegar, garlic powder and honey help in solving the fungal infections.
7. Yoghurt :
Plain bacteria has acidophillus bacteria that stops the growth of bacteria. It is highly beneficial to apply the yoghurt on the infected feet and wash it when it dries completely.
8. Cinnamon :
We must boil cinnamon in water for about five minutes and steep them for about an hour. We must dip our feet for about an hour and wipe dry.
9. Vodka :
In a cup of vodka mix three tablespoons of cinnamon and cloves with garlic paste. We must store it well and apply on the affected area with the help of cotton.
10. Lemon :
In a high concentrated lemon juice dip your feet for about three times every day. It will remove the sweaty odour from the skin and wards off fungal infection.
11. Lavender :
Lavender imparts divine fragrance. The lavender oil is used to treat fungal infections. Applying lavender oil on the affected feet helps to treat fungal infections.
12. Grapefruit :
In a bowl of grapefruit juice we must dip our feet for about quarter of an hour to treat fungal infections.
Medical Prescriptions :
Normally doctors prescribe over-the-counter antifungal medicines and drugs to treat fungal infections. If they do not effectively treat the skin then certain antifungal tablets which must be taken orally will be suggested. The OTC tablets are Desenex, Lamisil AT, Lotrimin Ultra and AF, Tinactin. The other prescribed medicines for athlete’s foot include clotrimazole, miconazole, antifungal medicines like itraconazole, fluconazole and terbinafine, some steroid medications and antibiotics to fight against certain bacteria.
Prevention Of Athlete’s Foot :
Just like every part of the body needs special care, our feet too needs special care. Preventing athlete’s is necessary because of the amount of stress it causes and the amount of money it demands for the treatment.
- Apply anti-fungal powder on the feet everyday.
- Wash your feet and socks everyday to be free from the attack of fungi with soaps.
- Always wear shoes and socks made of breathable and cotton material.
- Never go out barefoot. Wear shoes always.
- Have an alternate pair of shoes and socks that you can wear alternatively.
- Neither share your things with others nor others things.
These infections can be either mild or severe depending on the person’s exposure to the fungus. Some fungus may respond well to the treatment while others return once the treatment is over. So it is advised to be careful in protecting the feet. The fungus may also affect the lymph vessels. So it is better to be in long term medical treatments to fend off the fungal infections.