Athlete's Foot

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Athlete's foot, known medically as tinea pedis, is a skin disease induced by a fungal infection of the foot. Although athlete's foot is infectious, the condition is not highly contagious. Some infected individuals may not even feel the itchiness or be aware of the condition for years after being infected.

The wet and hot weather in summer, together with frequent sweating of the feet, turns summer into the peak of athlete's foot infections. Athlete's foot may not always be transmitted by other people. In fact, there are fungi in the environments around us. Under suitable environments, they can breed non-stop. Even though the infection of athlete's foot is very common and has no immediate danger, we still need to address the problem seriously, as it is possible for the fungi to spread from the feet to other parts of the body, such as the hands. Meanwhile, it is possible for the peeling or cracking of the skin due to athlete's foot to cause wounds and lead to bacterial infections. For patients who also suffer from diabetes, the outcome of athlete's foot may become even more serious. Hence, such patients should receive treatment as soon as possible.


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What are the symptoms of athlete's foot?

The common symptoms of athlete's foot include itchiness of the feet, peeling, redness of the skin, and abnormal thickening and keratinisation of the skin at the heel. In more severe cases, there may also be blisters, wounds, and ulcers. If not handled properly, the condition may lead to bacterial infection and cause problems such as inflammation, etc.

Some patients who suffer from athlete's foot do not feel any pain, itchiness, or a foul smell from their feet. Rather, they only have a thick callus at the soles of their feet. As such keratinised problems of athlete's foot are similar to the usual symptoms of thick callus, the condition is relatively difficult to distinguish and identify.


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How to treat athlete's foot?

Although athlete's foot is a very common local disease, there are still many misunderstandings, and many people are still reluctant to seek medical advice. Some patients even use folk remedies such as soaking the feet in vinegar in order to relieve the problems brought by athlete's foot. However, prolonged soaking of the feet in vinegar or the usage of over concentrated vinegar can both lead to damaged skin. Hence, it is important not to try alternative remedies without making any judgment. Patients should listen to professional advice and treatment given by the doctor.

After the doctor's professional diagnosis, patients with milder symptoms will be prescribed anti-fungal ointment treatment. However, patients should not stop the treatment without consulting the doctor, as the fungi are likely to relapse. Hence, patients need to follow the doctor's instructions in completing the entire course of treatment. The doctor may prescribe oral medications for patients who suffer from more serious conditions. Meanwhile, patients who also demonstrate signs of bacterial infection may need to take antibiotics.


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How to avoid suffering from athlete's feet?

Existing all around us, fungi like warm and humid environments. Airtight shoes, together with frequent sweating of the feet and a warm and humid condition, gives an excellent breeding ground for the fungi. The top priority is to keep the feet dry and to properly dry them after showers. Airtight shoes or socks should be avoided, and socks are recommended to be changed frequently. It is also important to remember not to walk barefoot in public places, as swimming pools, public bathrooms, gym rooms, etc. are all optimal breeding grounds for fungi. In order to keep the feet clean and dry, people with sweaty feet can use antiperspirants.


Last Updated : Jul 2019

Please note that all medical health articles featured on our website have been reviewed by Quality Healthcare doctors. The articles are for general information only and are not medical opinions nor should the contents be used to replace the need for personal consultation with a qualified health professional on the reader’s medical condition.

Athlete's Foot

 

 

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Please note that all medical health articles featured on our website have been reviewed by Quality Healthcare doctors. The articles are for general information only and are not medical opinions nor should the contents be used to replace the need for personal consultation with a qualified health professional on the reader’s medical condition.
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