Athlete's foot is a skin disease caused by a fungus, usually occurring between the toes. The fungus usually attacks the feet because shoes create a warm, dark, and humid environment that encourages fungus growth.
The warmth and dampness of areas around swimming pools, showers, and locker rooms, are also breeding grounds for fungi. Not all fungus conditions lead to Athlete's foot, however. Other conditions, such as malfunctions of the sweat mechanism, reaction to dyes or adhesives in shoes, eczema, and psoriasis, also may mimic Athlete's foot.
Symptoms of athlete's feet include drying skin, itching scaling, inflammation, and blisters. Athlete's foot may spread to the soles of the feet and to the toenails, and can spread to other parts of the body, including the groin and underarms.
You can prevent Athlete's foot by:
- Avoiding walking barefoot. Use shower shoes.
- Reducing perspiration by using talcum powder.
- Wearing light and airy shoes.
- Wearing socks that keep your feet dry, and changing them frequently if you perspire heavily.
While fungicidal and fungistatic chemicals are usually used to treat Athlete's foot problems, they often fail to contact the fungi in the lower layers of the skin. Instead, our practice may prescribe topical or oral antifungal drugs.