Athlete’s Foot (Tinea Pedis)

WHAT IS ATHLETE’S FOOT?
A fungal infection of the skin of the feet is usually termed an athlete’s foot or Tinea Pedis. The specific type of fungus that infects the skin is called a dermatophyte and so Dermatophytosis is also term used to describe athlete’s foot. Most patients will first notice itching, usually between the toes. The skin may have small blisters and may begin to peel. The small blisters may contain fluid. If the process continues untreated the sensation might graduate to a burning or stinging feeling. Maceration or whitening might also occur between the toes.

HOW IS ATHLETE’S FOOT DIAGNOSED?
It is mainly diagnosed with a thorough physical exam and history. Scrapings of the peeling skin can also be taken and prepared to view under a microscope to confirm the diagnosis but this is usually not necessary due to the usual classic symptoms of the condition.

WHY DO I HAVE ATHLETE’S FOOT ?
The source of infection can be from the soil, an animal, or another person. The fungus thrives in dark, warm, and moist environments like in our shoes. We also believe that there is a genetic predisposition to the infection as there are people in the same household that share showers but do not become infected.

HOW CAN I TREAT THIS PROBLEM?
Over the counter fungal powders and cream should be used. The powders should be used in the shoes and the cream should be used as directed on the labeling of the packaging. Shoes that can be washed, should be washed. If the problem persists greater than two weeks you should contact our office and schedule an appointment. Individuals who are diabetic or have poor circulation should see their podiatrist immediately.

WHAT WILL MY DOCTOR DO FOR THIS PROBLEM?
After a thorough history and physical exam, appropriate management would include a more potent prescription topical or even an oral antifungal. In some cases a concomitant bacterial infection is also present at which point antibiotics will need to be utilized. Treatment should be continued until directed by us to discontinue the medication.

CAN I PREVENT FROM IT HAPPENING AGAIN?
The best way to prevent future infections is to use powders in your shoes. Socks should of the type that do not trap perspiration, like cotton socks. After bathing, thorough drying of the feet should be performed especially between the toes. Change socks and wash shoes periodically.

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