Athlete’s Foot
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Athlete’s Foot

Athlete’s foot is a very common fungal infection that can happen to anyone at any age, not just athletes. The condition gets its name from its tendency to affect people whose feet are often moist, damp, and sweaty, which is a common situation for athletes of all kinds.

Learn more about athlete’s foot, its most common causes and symptoms, and how Comprehensive Foot Specialists in Huntington, NY, diagnoses and treats athlete’s foot on a daily basis

What is Athlete’s Foot?

Athlete’s foot, also known as tinea pedis or ringworm of the foot, is an infectious fungal disease that affects the skin of the feet, as well as the toenails and potentially the hands. Athlete’s foot is the most common type of fungal infection, and it usually develops between the toes. This uncomfortable ailment is not a serious infection, but since it is contagious, taking care of it accordingly can help reduce its impact. Those who develop athlete’s foot who also have diabetes or a weakened immune system should see a doctor as soon as the condition develops. The symptoms of athlete’s foot are most commonly present on the toes or soles of the feet. If you have athlete’s foot, you may experience:

  • Itching or itchy blisters
  • Stinging
  • Burning
  • Skin that cracks or peels or is dry, flaky, and scaly
  • Raw skin
  • Discolored, thick, and crumbly toenails
  • Toenails that pull away from the nail bed

The most common symptom of athlete’s foot is a scaly red rash that normally starts between the toes and spreads outwards. Another sign of athlete’s foot is an increased urge to itch or scratch the foot once socks and shoes are removed. Certain types of athlete’s foot can even produce itchy ulcers or blisters on the foot. If athlete’s foot is not treated right away and progressively gets worse, it can produce open sores on the skin, exposing the area to bacteria.

What Causes Athlete’s Foot?

Athlete’s foot is extremely contagious and can be caused by a number of different factors, including:

  • Direct (skin-to-skin) contact with the fungus
  • Walking barefoot in warm, damp environments
  • Leftover skin particles on towels, shoes, floors, etc.
  • Sharing clothes, mats, rugs, shoes, etc.
  • Wearing tight-fitting footwear that is not breathable
  • Frequently wearing damp socks

Athlete’s foot is so common because it is easily spread through direct contact. The fungus prospers in warm and damp settings, allowing it to run rampant in public showers, locker rooms floors, communal baths, saunas, and near swimming pools. Walking barefoot, wearing tight-fitting footwear, frequently wearing damp socks, and sharing mats, clothes, or shoes can all increase a person’s possibility of contracting athlete’s foot. Plastic shoes are also more likely than shoes made from leather or canvas to encourage the development of the condition. The risk of developing athlete’s foot is even greater for those who have diabetes or a weakened immune system, because open sores may already be present on the feet.

How is Athlete’s Foot Diagnosed?

A doctor can usually diagnose athlete’s foot based on the common symptoms of the infection. For a more thorough examination, a doctor may require a skin test to properly identify the fungal infection that is causing the symptoms. A skin lesion potassium hydroxide exam is the most common test for athlete’s foot. During the examination, the doctor will scrape off a minor area of infected skin and place it in potassium hydroxide under a microscope. The potassium hydroxide destroys normal human cells and leaves the fungal cells untouched, making it easier for a doctor to review the root cause and provide a proper diagnosis.

How Comprehensive Foot Specialists Treat Athlete’s Foot

In approximately 30-40% of cases, a case of athlete’s foot resolves on its own. However, with the addition of certain over-the-counter and prescription-strength medications, higher rates of cure have been experienced. In addition, the patient will be instructed to thoroughly wash the feet daily, dry well, and practice good hygiene. This will not only aid in killing the fungus itself, but also help prevent future reinfection.

At Comprehensive Foot Specialists, we are experts in diagnosing and treating a diverse range of foot conditions, including athlete’s foot. At our office in Huntington, NY, all of our patients receive optimal foot care and treatments focused on helping them live a more comfortable and active life, free of conditions that may be limiting them. To learn more about the services we offer and how we can help treat athlete’s foot, please contact us today.

The CFS Team
Our doctors at CFS, Dr. Richard Boccio MD and Dr. Ashley Boccio DPM, are highly skilled and experienced in treating various types of foot and ankle ailments.
Dr. Richard Boccio, MD
Dr. Ashley Boccio, DPM

Huntington, NY
775 Park Ave, Suite 330, Huntington, NY 11743
Smithtown, NY
290 East Main St, Smithtown, NY 11787
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