Athlete's Foot

The condition known as athlete's foot affects the skin of the feet, most often between the toes, but it can spread to any part of the foot and even go on to affect the toenails. Athlete's foot is defined as a fungal infection that attacks the skin and nails. If the infection moves into the toenails, they thicken and become distorted.

Plant Organisms

Fungi such as the one responsible for athlete's foot, tinea pedis, are plant organisms belonging to the same family as mold and mildew. These organisms grow best in damp conditions. Once the skin is compromised by a fungal infection, it also becomes susceptible to infections of bacterial origin. This type of secondary infection exacerbates the symptoms of the original condition, making it much harder to treat and cure. Fungal infections are notorious in the medical field as being one of the most difficult to treat in the class of foot and nail conditions.

Because of the fungus' predilection for moisture, it's common to catch athlete's foot where others who have the condition have walked with bare feet on floors that are moist or wet, such as at the local pool or in shared bathrooms. The condition is also more common in those who produce a great deal of sweat and therefore tend to have moist feet. Other risk factors are found in the form of sharing shoes or towels and wash cloths with other people.

Don't Scratch

The condition can even spread to other parts of the body, for instance in the groin and underarms. Those who scratch their feet and then make contact with those parts of their bodies are the most susceptible.

Symptoms of athlete's foot include:

*Redness of the skin, cracking and peeling




*Small blisters


*Thickening of the skin resembling calluses


Home care for the condition consists of keeping your feet clean and dry. Bathe your feet a minimum of once daily with soap and warm water. The next step is to dry your feet well, paying particular attention to the area between the toes. Wear socks made of natural fabrics like cotton or wool, which absorb moisture and wick it away from your skin. Try to give your feet some air time, taking off your socks and shoes, but avoid walking barefoot. If you can, opt for open-toed sandals. Besides these simple, common sense steps, there are a variety of over-the-counter products on the market to treat Athlete's foot.