Athlete’s foot is a disorder that commonly affects the feet’s skin. Also known medically as tenia pedis, athlete’s foot is most often characterized by the itching of feet and toes, as well as the appearance of rashes in the affected areas.
Awareness is the key to prevent any illnesses, and athlete’s foot is not an exception. Ask yourself this: “What is athlete’s foot?” and “Do I know enough about it?” You should read further ahead to know more about its symptoms, remedies, and prevention methods.
Getting to know Athlete’s Foot
The name comes from the fact that this infection appears mostly in athletes. This happens because athlete’s foot is usually caused by fungi – an organism that thrives in moist environments. Coincidentally, since athletes sweat a lot due to the nature of their activities, the inside of their shoes tend to create an optimal environment for fungal infection to set in, hence affecting their feet. Athlete's foot does not only affect athletes, however, and non-athletes should still be careful and aware.
There are also alternative causes of athlete’s foot such as bacterial infection, contact allergy, or even psoriasis. One thing to note is that if the athlete's foot is caused by a fungal infection rather than any of these, it may be contagious. People associated with the infected person are suggested to be extra cautious not to touch the places the affected areas have been in contact with.
How do we know we have contacted athlete’s foot?
Symptoms of athlete’s foot are generally easy to recognize. However, due to how common some of these symptoms are, people might also ignore them at first until it becomes more severe. Here are some of the symptoms to help you recognize that what you have is athlete’s foot.
Athlete’s Foot usually starts with a sudden and uncontrollable itchiness of the feet. No matter how you scratch the areas, the itchiness remains and sometimes even worse than before. If this happens, check for any signs of redness and rashes, for you may have contacted athlete’s foot. Scratching the affected areas is strongly not recommended, for it might spread to your hands and your problems will only grow worse.
Immediately comes after itching, are the red spots and the rashes. The itching now includes burning and stinging sensations. The rashes come in various degrees. If the infection is severe, the rashes might large and immediate. Otherwise, they may be mild and unassuming.
In some cases, the skin of the feet may dry and peel. Other times, even blisters may appear as a reaction of the body to avoid further infection.
How do we cure athlete’s foot?
Using over-the-counter treatments
There are treatments available in pharmacies that can counter athlete’s foot. Most of these treatments are not expensive and if your case is not extreme, you might want to try them. Being over-the-counter, they are easily accessible and can save you from trouble in the long run. These treatments come in various forms but are mostly applied externally such as ointments, and pastes.
If you want alternatives to medicine, that is okay. There are easily accessible, some even natural, alternatives that you can apply to your athlete’s foot. First off, you can use salt with water to soak your feet in. Another thing you can apply is rubbing alcohol. Just make sure there are no visible open wounds in the affected and you will be fine. Lastly, you can also use crushed garlic as some sort of paste that can be applied to the feet.
Consult a doctor
If all else fails, please go see a doctor. Life is important, and while athlete’s foot is normally not life-threatening, it is still recommended to treat it as early as possible.
How do we prevent athlete’s foot from happening in the first place?
Maybe you do not have athlete’s foot. However, it does not mean you will never have it either. That is why it is important to be aware from the very start what kind of illness athlete’s foot is and how we can prevent it. Thankfully, you do not need to do much.
Use clean socks and shoes all the time
Since the primary cause of athlete’s foot is due to the unhygienic environment of the feet caused by sweat, simply using clean socks and shoes will help a lot in preventing it. If possible, use a spare pair of socks after doing any strenuous activity.
Clean your feet regularly
Obviously, if your socks are clean but your feet are not, then it is useless. Wash your feet as much as possible with soap and water especially after a long day. Easy, right?
True to its essence, having athlete’s foot is not just an irritable condition – it is also embarrassing. Imagine yourself wearing stilettos only to find out there are some red rashes or developing fungus on your feet. Now how can you enjoy your heels and be confident when going to work? As of men, how can you participate well in your sports activities if you have an itching feet below?
Athlete’s Foot or tenia pedis can indeed cause a lot of problems. However with proper guidance and awareness, nothing is impossible, and nothing is unpreventable. What is athlete’s foot? I am sure you can answer now.