Tinea pedis, which you probably know as “athlete’s foot,” starts as an itchy, scaly rash between the toes. This fungal infection usually develops when your feet get wet or sweaty and are confined in tight-fitting shoes.
You might be able to grit your teeth and ignore the uncomfortable sensations caused by athlete’s foot — but this isn’t smart. It’s easily treatable so you don’t have the infection worsen or spread to other areas of your foot.
Stubborn cases of athlete’s foot that won’t respond to over-the-counter solutions are treated at Go Feet with three locations in New Jersey. Here’s why you should seek treatment right away.
What exactly is athlete’s foot?
Athlete’s foot is the most common fungal skin infection. It appears in different forms, including:
Toe web infection
This form appears between the fourth and fifth toes. You’ll notice scaling, peeling, and cracking of the skin. A bacterial infection can accompany the fungal infection, causing even more skin breakdown.
Instead of starting on the toes, you’ll notice a thickening and cracking of the skin on the bottom of the heel of your foot. The infection can spread to your toenails and may even fall off.
This type of athlete’s foot appears as fluid-filled blisters under the skin — usually on the bottom of the foot. A bacterial infection may accompany this infection.
Why treat it?
Well, one major reason to treat athlete’s foot is that it’s incredibly uncomfortable. It can cause stinging, burning, itchiness, and flaky skin. The skin in affected areas can grow thin and be tender.
If allowed to progress, the fungal infection can spread. All of the area between your toes may become affected, the skin on your heels may grow thick and cracked, or your toenails may suffer infection.Toenails affected by a fungal infection are quite hard to treat and require efforts beyond the standard antifungals used for mild cases of athlete’s foot.
Uncomfortable feet can lead to changes in the way you walk or run. This can carry up your entire kinetic chain and cause dysfunction in your ankles or pain in your knees and hips.
So, how is athlete’s foot treated?
Treatment for athlete’s foot is quite easy, especially in its early stages. Over-the-counter antifungal lotions, creams, and sprays are effective in mild cases — when the athlete’s foot starts to show up between your toes.
If you have a more severe case, we may prescribe a stronger antifungal for you. These may be oral pills or a medicated cream. You’ll use the medication for the directed period of time, even if your symptoms start to subside. You need to fully course to wipe out the infection completely.
During treatment, and afterward, it’s important to keep your feet clean and dry. This means the fungi has nowhere to grow as it thrives in wet, cool places. Always wear water shoes in public places, including locker room showers and outdoor pools, and wear breathable socks and roomy shoes.
If you have persistent athlete’s foot or any other infection causing irritation in your feet, contact Go Feet for an appointment. Call one of the offices, or use the online tool to schedule.