Fungal Infection Of The Feet

You Don't Have To Be An Athlete To Get It

Although the name "athlete's foot" was originally associated with a skin condition prevalent among athletes, you do not have to be athletic to be infected. Athlete's foot is a common skin infection caused by a fungus, the same fungus that causes jock itch (another athletic association) and onychomycosis, or nail fungus. The technical name for the fungus is trichophyton rubrum, but we know it by its more common name, ringworm.

Fungal skin infections may show up anywhere on the body. They can occur on the scalp, trunk of the body, hands, feet, finger and toenails and the groin area. Trichophyton rubrum thrives in warm, moist environments on the body and causes an infection that easily spreads from one part of the body to another as well as from person to person. Both foot and toenail fungus are the result of the organism finding a way into the skin and then multiplying in the area around the invasion. It feeds on keratin, a protein found in the skin and nails. The fungus breaks keratin down causing flaking and scaling on the skin as well as crumbling and discoloration of the nails.

It Lurks In Warm, Wet Places

Also called tinea pedis, the ringworm fungus can be found on such places as floors in gyms, locker rooms, swimming pools, nail salons and can hang around in socks, towels, and clothing. The good news is that the fungus requires the right growing conditions in order to become a problem. Without a warm, moist environment, it is difficult for it to infect the skin easily.

Tinea pedis, or athlete's foot, is a very common fungal issue affecting up to about 70 percent of the population at some point in their lives. Exposure to someone with the infection is not necessary in order to contract it; all types of foot fungus are present in the environment. Normally, our bodies are able to fight off an infection without help, but it is important to act quickly should you see signs of infection to prevent it advancing and getting out of hand. Knowing the signs and having a proper diagnosis from a medical professional are the first steps in treating foot fungus.

There Are Many Treatment Options Available

There are many important facts to be aware of regarding foot fungus. It is useful to become acquainted with options available for treatment and efficacy of the various remedies available. Prescription drugs, homeopathic preparations, over-the-counter medication, and home remedies are abundant. Antifungal creams are commonly used; however, your medical practitioner may have something else in mind to treat your condition.

A Few Simple Steps Can Keep You Fungus Free

Foot fungus can be kept at bay with the application of a few simple rules. Since fungus loves warm, moist environments, keep your feet clean and dry. Dry your feet well after they have been exposed to water, especially between the toes. Wear appropriate footwear in shower areas, locker rooms, and pool decks. If your feet sweat a lot, take your shoes off frequently and allow your feet to "dry out." Change your socks regularly and try an antifungal powder to help keep your feet dry.

Remember good foot hygiene, keep your nails trimmed, treat any injury to your feet promptly, and check your feet regularly for signs of infection. These simple steps can spare you the discomfort and itching of fungal foot infections.