Understanding the meaning of athletes’ foot: What Exactly Is an Athlete’s Foot? Athletes’ foot is a commonly detected illness; it is not limited to athletes. This irritating condition affects any person whether boy or girl or even male or females of any age.
Why does the athlete’s foot occur?
The majority of cases of athlete’s foot are caused by a group of fungi known as dermatophytes, which also are the cause of jock itch and ringworm. The fungi grow in closed, warm, and humid conditions and prey on keratin, a specific protein in hair, nails, and skin. On occasion, non-dermatophytes, such as yeast, can cause athlete’s foot (candida).
Walking barefoot on exposed surfaces might increase the chances of growing an athlete’s foot. The likelihood of acquiring athlete’s foot can even be affected by susceptibility. People with compromised immune systems or diabetes, for instance, are more prone to infection if they already have an open wound or sore on their foot.
The disease is mildly contagious.
It can be transmitted through direct touch with an infected person as well as by skin flakes left on cloths, footwear, or floors.
Sometimes, there can be red, itchy rash in between your toes which could be an athlete’s foot.
It can spread and escalate to your toenails, soles, and up your feet’s sides.
And if you touch your feet, your hands can also become infected.
Athlete’s foot can happen on one or both feet, and there are different types. But with any kind you have, you’ll probably see:
- Itchy, scaly red rash between your toes
- Small, red blisters (usually on your soles or between your toes)
- Ongoing flakiness and scaling on the soles and up the sides of your foot
- Ulcers or sores that leak fluid, smell bad and look red
Typically, ringworm and jock itch causing fungus can be responsible for athlete’s foot.
It thrives in moist or soaked shoes, socks, and other warm, moist places where it can multiply rapidly. It is highly infectious.It is more likely to occur if you spend a lot of hours at a workout area or open pool. It is easily transmitted from individual to individual by exposure to unsanitary surfaces such as floors, shoes, and towels.
You are more likely to develop an athlete’s foot when you:
- Always wear enclosed footwear
- Sweat profusely
- Do not share floor coverings, bedding, clothing, or footwear with someone that has a fungal infection.
- Infectious organisms can spread in locker rooms, change rooms, saunas, swimming pools, communal baths, and showers.
Types of athletes’ foot
If your feet feel constantly burning or itchy, and there is a rash-like appearance over the surface of the skin, then it may be athlete’s foot.
But did you realise there are other types? The cause of this infection is a fungus. One of the most frequent ways to acquire it is by walking barefoot in public areas where bacteria congregate, such as public pools and gym locker rooms. You can also contract it by sharing socks, hand and bath towels, and even the bed sheets of an infected person.
The specific symptoms of an athlete’s foot depend on the type of infection present. Some varieties create red and blistering rashes. Your skin may appear thick and scaly to others.
Which option would you prefer? There are generally four types of athletes’ foot namely
Toe Web infection
Your physician may refer to this as an interdigital infection. That just indicates that it will be between the fingers or toes. Typically, it begins on the area between the fourth and fifth (pinky) toes.
Occasionally, bacteria can make a fungal infection worse. You may get a burning feeling between your toes as a symptom. The skin could be red, flaky, or flaky, and the rashes may have an odour or discharge. In extreme circumstances, your skin may acquire a green hue.
If the fungus infects the sole of the foot, the condition is known as a moccasin infection. The rash may also extend over the heel and over the side of one’s foot. In the beginning, your feet may feel sore, dry, and slightly itching. The skin eventually thickens, splits, and peels. If the infection spreads to your toenails, they may become thick and crumbly. Occasionally the nails even fall off. You may be unable to use a medication that is applied to the skin. Sometimes even a drug combination, including a specific medication for your nails, is most effective.
The scientific name for blisters is vesicles, and blisters are exactly what characterises this sort of infection. If the blisters rupture, you can acquire an infectious disease caused by the bacteria and require medication. Vesicular infections can occur anywhere on the foot. However, the little, red blisters typically appear on the soles or between the toes. The rash may cause irritation or pain. It can be severe during the summertime.
It is uncommon, although occasionally the feet develop blisters or ulcers. These ulcers are also prone to bacterial infection. Antibiotics are required to treat this. In addition to lesions that may exude fluid, the skin would become extremely irritated and pigmented. Typically, this form of illness is extremely painful.
HOW TO TREAT THE ATHLETE’S FOOT
At the first indication of itching, treat the athlete’s foot. The majority of cases of athlete’s foot can be treated with over-the-counter antifungal medications and basic sanitation. Wash and dry your feet (especially between both the toes) each morning and night, change your socks or stockings every day, and don’t use the same pair of shoes twice in a row so they can dry completely before you wear them again. Daily application of antimicrobial powder on feet and shoes. Additionally, antifungal lotions and sprays are beneficial in treating the infection. To prevent a recurrence, continue treatment for one to two weeks after the illness has disappeared.
Ensure that your feet receive ample oxygen. If you cannot walk barefoot or wear sandals, use moisture-wicking synthetic socks. Cotton has a tendency to retain moisture and promote the growth of fungi. Utilize footwear manufactured from a porous substance. If not properly and swiftly treated, the athlete’s foot could be highly persistent. Although treated with antifungal medications, the infection may persist for several weeks and return following treatment. Typically, it responds positively to these over-the-counter therapies. Nevertheless, more patients with severe symptoms may require medical attention.
Home remedies that can be tried
Try to use an over-the-counter antifungal powder, lotion, or spray when you do have an athlete’s foot. There are various options available. They are highly effective when employed correctly. Do not rip or scrape away flaky skin, since doing so could cause damage to neighbouring healthy skin and transmit the illness.
Many individuals have their own methods for dealing with it while being at home. There is less scientific evidence on the effectiveness of these therapies, although some are more effective than others.
Tea Tree Essential Oil
This oil is extracted from plants of an Australian tree. Since it may destroy certain forms of germs and fungi, it has been used as a home medicine for centuries. Tea tree oil can lessen the itch, flaking or scaling, swelling or puffiness, and stinging of athlete’s foot when applied to the skin twice daily.
However, it may take a couple of weeks to notice results, and it is not effective for everyone. Tea tree oil may induce skin irritation or allergy symptoms. Consult your physician before attempting it.
They can recommend a tea tree solution as well as explain how to saturate the oil to prevent negative effects. Never consume tea tree oil orally, as it is poisonous.
Bitter orange oil
This fruit originates from a specific variety of orange trees, been in use for ages in Chinese medicine and by Amazon rainforest inhabitants.
Bitter orange oil is naturally antifungal. In addition to the athlete’s foot, it may also help treat ringworm and jock itch. One study found that when people applied a diluted form of bitter orange oil to their feet three times per day for two weeks, the fungus disappeared.
Bitter orange can seriously damage your skin if you’re using it in its pure state. It can also increase the likelihood of sunburn, so if you use it, be sure to secure your skin from the sun.
Ajoene from Garlic
Ajoene is a chemical found naturally in garlic. It may alleviate the athlete’s foot symptoms.It can be taken orally as an anti-fungal pill. It is also available in gel form. In one research, people have applied it once a day to their feet seemed to have no symptoms after one week. This treatment may also prevent the athlete’s foot from returning.
Sunflower Seed Oil
This oil, extracted from the seeds of sunflowers, has long been believed to be antibacterial. Oleozon, a brand of antifungal medication that contains ozone (another germ-killer), has been shown to eliminate an athlete’s foot. You apply a small amount to your feet rather than ingest it. It is unknown if all the brands of sunflower oil perform and also Oleozon, although it may be worthwhile to test other brands.
If you drench your feet in lukewarm green tea, you may experience a reduction in symptoms such as peeling and redness.Because polyphenols, which are nutrients in green tea, have antifungal properties.
However, this method will not be quick.You may be required to soak your feet daily for three months.And additional research is required to demonstrate that green tea can eliminate the fungus and isn’t only to get healthy and feel better feet.
In rural areas of Mexico, the leaves of the plant Solanum chrysotrichum, also known as Giant Devil’s Fig, are utilised. Studies indicate that a cream containing a decoction of this shrub or small plant is effective as an antifungal treatment for athlete’s foot. It may also restrict it from returning. While research indicates that Sosa is convenient for topical application, it may be difficult to locate.
Some individuals believe that soaking their feet in a solution of water and lemon juice will eliminate athlete’s foot. While soaking your feet in vinegar won’t harm them, there is insufficient evidence to suggest that it would do much good.
Available over-the-counter Medicine
There are many OTC topical antifungal medications, including:
- miconazole (Desenex)
- terbinafine (Lamisil AT)
- clotrimazole (Lotrimin AF)
- butenafine (Lotrimin Ultra)
- tolnaftate (Tinactin)
Many lotions, gels, and sprays which cure athlete’s foot are available over-the-counter at your local pharmacy. These remedies will alleviate your symptoms. However, the fungus may require six weeks to completely disappear. Consult a pharmacist or visit a health food store if you are unable to locate the necessary ingredients for any of these remedies.
If you have started trying one or a few of these treatments and your athlete’s foot has not improved, consult a physician. You would need an alternative strategy to eliminate it.
How does this disorder impact my body?
Typically, an athlete’s foot leads to inflammation of the skin between the toes. Your skin might change colour, develop fissures, flake, and peel.
Additionally, your skin may become paler, thicker, and swollen.
Athlete’s foot can spread throughout the foot or feet. This is the condition known as moccasin athlete’s foot. The skin on the soles, heels, and edges of feet with moccasin athlete’s foot is dry, itchy, and scaly.
In severe cases of athlete’s foot, fluid-filled blisters or open wounds may develop. Blisters typically develop on the soles of the feet, but they can appear anywhere. Open sores frequently appear between the toes, but they can also occur on the soles of the feet.
Your feet may also have a foul odour.
How Do I Avoid Athlete’s Foot?
Avoid going barefoot in public places, namely the pool or the gym, where many other people are also barefoot. Let your feet be free to air as much as possible.
Minimize your chances of risk by maintaining your feet hygienic, dry, and dusted with an antifungal foot powder available over-the-counter.
Other prudent measures:
- Wear synthetic socks and permeable shoes; water-resistant shoes trap perspiration.
- Share neither footwear nor towels.
- Wash your footwear and toiletries in the hottest water available if you have an athlete’s foot.
- Be extra cautious if you are taking an antibiotic. The medicines can kill the healthy bacteria that help regulate the athlete’s foot-causing fungus.
- Remove your shoes before entering your home and expose your bare feet to the air.
- Always protect your feet in public places.