Athlete's foot is a skin infection caused by a fungus, and most commonly occurs in the gaps between the toes of the foot. The fungus thrives in damp and humid conditions, and a typical breeding ground for the infection is wet footwear. Symptoms include scaly, red and itchy skin. Athlete's foot is contagious, and can be spread while walking barefoot on contaminated floors, or using contaminated towels or clothing. The medical term for athlete’s foot is tinea pedis.
Because infectious skin fungi need dampness and warmth to take hold, breed and spread, a common contributing factor is prolonged confinement of sweaty feet inside damp socks or tight shoes. Similarly, the areas around gyms, locker rooms and swimming pools contribute to fungal infection. In fact, the popular name for this condition emerged from its prevalence among the most frequent users of such facilities: athletes.
The most common symptoms of athlete's foot include the following:
- Dry, flaky skin
- Itching and burning sensation
- Reddened and cracked skin
- Swelling of the area
- Some types of athlete’s foot cause blistering or ulcers
Diagnosis and Treatment
Accurate diagnosis and timely treatment is important for several reasons. Athlete’s foot is contagious between people. In addition, the infection can spread to other parts of the body, e.g. the soles and toenails of the feet. Other conditions like eczema and psoriasis may present the same symptoms. If you have diabetes and are experiencing the symptoms of athlete’s foot, an immediate medical consultation is essential.
Prevention of a recurrence of athlete’s foot is as crucial as treatment. After you have discussed your particular symptoms with Andrew Shapiro, DPM or Michael Barkin, DPM and completed our comprehensive examination, we will recommend a targeted program of treatment (e.g. topical gels and ointments; oral medication) to not only address your current discomfort but also prevent recurrence of the condition (e.g. best practices for footwear and foot care).
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of athlete’s foot listed above, or are concerned that you might develop the condition and would like to know how to prevent infection, we are here to help you. We know the importance of timely diagnosis and correct treatment alongside a plan to prevent recurrence, and we’ll work closely with you so you can return to your normal active life. Schedule an appointment today by calling (516)-825-3860. At Valley Stream Podiatry you will be well taken care of by our board certified Podiatrists, Andrew Shapiro, DPM and Michael Barkin, DPM. Our office is conveniently located in Valley Stream NY with additional Saturday hours to accommodate your busy schedules.