Athlete’s Foot Treatment Specialist Questions and Answers
If you have athlete’s foot or are exhibiting its symptoms, trust the professionals at Bay Area Foot & Ankle Associates to help you find relief. We can develop a treatment plan for an athlete’s foot that will uniquely address your individual concerns. Call us today or schedule an appointment. We have 3 convenient locations to serve you in Walnut Creek, CA and Brentwood, CA.
Athlete’s foot is an incredibly prevalent condition, affecting an estimated 3 to 15% of the population, although some estimates place this figure much higher, around 15 to 25% of the population. It is a highly infectious fungal infection that commonly spreads in warm, moist environments. The most common place that an athlete’s foot spreads is at a public shower, such as at a gym.
What is an athlete’s foot?
Athlete’s foot is a common condition that is caused by a fungal infection. It manifests symptoms of a scaly rash that typically causes itching, burning and stinging. The most common place of contraction of an athlete’s foot is a public shower, especially those of gyms. This is where it gets its name, as it affects people who often have damp and sweaty feet, like athletes. To minimize the spread of athlete’s foot, when using a public shower or changing room, it is imperative to wear sandals or flip flops, as the protective barrier between the sole of the foot and the floor prevent the fungal particles from touching the feet, and thus, causing infection.
What causes an athlete’s foot?
Athlete’s foot is caused by a fungal infection. It is caused by the same type of fungus that causes ringworm and jock itch, known as the tinea fungus. Conditions that favor the fungus’ growth include damp socks and shoes and warm, humid environments.
Who is at risk for an athlete’s foot?
While an athlete’s foot can affect anyone, certain behaviors can increase the risk. Factors that increase the risk of developing athlete’s foot include the following:
- Visiting public places barefoot, especially:
- locker rooms
- swimming pools
- Sharing socks, shoes, or towels with someone who has athlete’s foot
- Wearing tight, closed-toe shoes
- Allowing the feet to stay wet for long periods of time
- Having sweaty feet
- Having a minor skin injury on the foot
What are the symptoms of an athlete’s foot?
Athlete’s foot has many possible symptoms, including:
- Itching, burning and/or stinging, between the toes or on soles of the feet
- Blisters on the feet that itch
- Cracking and peeling skin on the feet, which most commonly occurs between the crevices of the toes and on the soles of the feet
- Dry skin on the sides of the feet or the soles of the feet
- Raw skin on the feet
- Discolored, thick, and crumbly toenails
- Toenails that pull away from the nail bed
If you have any of these symptoms, it is vital to seek medical attention right away.
How is an athlete’s foot diagnosed?
A doctor may diagnose an athlete’s foot simply by looking at the external symptoms. However, if a doctor is unable to tell if a fungal infection is causing your symptoms, they may order a skin test. The most common type of test for athlete’s foot is a skin lesion potassium hydroxide exam. During this type of test, a doctor scrapes off a small area of infected skin and places it in a solution of potassium hydroxide. The potassium hydroxide destroys normal cells and leaves the fungal cells untouched, making them easy to distinguish under a microscope.
If you or someone you love is exhibiting symptoms of athlete’s foot, it is important to have it evaluated by a medical professional as soon as possible. The kind and caring professionals at Bay Area Foot & Ankle Associates can determine if you have athlete’s foot and help you on the road to an effective and speedy recovery. Call us today to book an appointment. We look forward to serving you! We serve patients from Walnut Creek CA, Brentwood CA, Concord CA, Pleasant Hill CA, Pittsburg CA, Antioch CA, Alamo CA, Danville CA, and Oakley CA.
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