Fungal infections affect over half of Americans by the age of 70. Athlete’s foot is the most common fungal infection that infects the skin between the toes and on the soles of the feet, and despite the name, athletes are not the only ones at risk. This type of foot fungus is also known as tinea pedis, or ringworm of the feet. The fungus that causes this infection is in the genus Trichophyton, and requires a warm, moist environment to survive. The most common places for the fungus to grow are on the dead tissue of hair, toenails, and outer skin layers. The fungus may also spread to the groin, toenails, legs, hands, fingernails, and cause secondary bacterial infections.
Walking barefoot in an infected area, such as a public pool, or locker room, often causes athlete’s foot. Even using an infected towel could lead to a fungal infection. The most common symptoms of athlete’s foot are peeling, cracking, and scaling of the feet, redness, blisters, and itching. If the infection spreads to the nails, then the nail bed becomes thick and discolored. When the toenails become infected, this is known as Onychomycosis. If Onychomycosis is left untreated, then it may lead to permanent damage to the nails, or other major infections, especially in those with diabetes, HIV, or leukemia. Treatment for fungal infections is dependent upon the severity. In less severe cases a topical anti-fungal is often used, but in some cases an oral anti-fungal is required.
Here are some tips to prevent fungal infections:
- Do not walk barefoot in public places
- Keep your feet as dry as possible
- Do not share shoes with others
- Wear shoes and socks that allow your feet to breathe (cotton socks are great)
- Use a foot powder after showering
- Wear shower sandals in public showers
- Disinfect old shoes
- Bring your own nail tools to the salon
If you end up with athlete’s foot, contact your podiatrist because treating early and with the right medication will prevent complications and recurrence.
Please visit www.ColumbusFoot.com for more tips for healthier and happier feet or call 614-885-3338 (FEET) to schedule an appointment with a podiatrist in Columbus, Ohio. Columbus Podiatry & Surgery is located on the North side of Columbus, Ohio near Worthington.
Columbus Podiatry & Surgery has opened a new location in Gahanna, near Easton. Please call 614-476-3338 (FEET) for an appointment with a podiatrist in Gahanna, OH today.