While the thought of something growing on you might elicit thoughts of some dreadful sci-fi horror flick, there are plenty of harmless and even helpful organisms that exist in places such as our stomachs. Of course, not everything that hitches a ride on us is so benevolent. When our feet are in the wrong places at the wrong time, the fungus responsible for athlete’s foot can take up residence, leading to a stubbornly uncomfortable time.
A Rash Takeover
Athlete’s foot, also known as tinea pedis, is the most common type of fungal skin infection in humans. It has close relations to other types of fungus that plague the skin, including jock itch, ringworm, and even toenail fungus. You can consider them pros at infiltration and just being a general nuisance.
The fungus responsible for athlete’s foot is contagious, and it’s possible to pick it up by directly touching the feet of an infected person, or by sharing items such as towels. More commonly, though, the condition is picked up when one walks barefoot among damp, public areas such as community pools and locker rooms. Moisture, warmth, and darkness are the fungus’ best friends, so an infected foot that spends much of its time stuffed inside sweaty shoes are providing the organism a superb place to thrive.
Athlete’s foot often shows itself in one of a few different ways. The most common form begins between the toes, where the skin turns a soft, moist, pale white. Itching, burning, and a slight odor often follow. The second form, known as a moccasin-type infection, tends to develop on the sole or heel of the foot, leading to thickened, peeling, cracked or scaling skin. The least common form, a vesicular infection, usually starts with fluid-filled blisters developing beneath the skin, and can sometimes be accompanied by a bacterial infection.
Routing the Enemy
It is not uncommon for a mild case of athlete’s foot to be treated successfully at home, but it’s time to see a professional if you see no improvement after a couple weeks or if things aren’t completely cleared up by the end of a month. You should head in to see us even sooner if you have severe cracking, peeling, or blisters. If you live with diabetes, do not wait or try to treat the condition yourself. It’s important to receive quick treatment to reduce the potential of deeper complications.
Athlete’s foot is usually easy to identify, but some cases might need further analysis. Sometimes the area might need to be viewed beneath a black light or a sample of the skin will be sent to the lab for testing.
Once properly identified, we can often prescribe a specified, stronger medication to apply to the infection. In more severe cases, antifungal pills might be recommended instead. This can help eradicate the fungus from the inside out.
If you need help evicting a stubborn case of athlete’s foot Dr. Timothy Barry and the staff of Family Foot & Ankle Care of Jasper can help. Call us at (812) 481-7200 or use our online form to request an appointment at our office today.