Thursday, May 15, 2014

Stop the Itch!

Dr. Belinda Dotter

With warmer weather being here, we are more active and more exposed to this pesky fungal skin infection. If you notice a scaly rash that itches, stings, or burns, you probably have athlete’s foot. Athlete's foot, officially known as tinea pedis, is a fungal infection that usually starts between the toes. It is very common for this infection to affect people with sweaty feet, especially if they wear shoes that fit too tight. Most people affected by Athlete’s Foot maintain that itching worsens after the removal of shoes and socks. Be careful because this infection can spread— especially if you scratch the infected parts of your feet.

Athlete’s foot can extend to other parts of your body, including:
  • Your hand. A similar infection may develop on your hands if you continue to scratch or pick at the itchy parts of your feet.
  • Your nails. Athlete’s foot can spread to your toenails because of the fungi. This is a problem because your toenails can be more resistant to treatment.
  • Your groin. Athlete’s foot can travel from the feet to the groin via your hands or a towel. The same fungus that causes Athlete’s foot can also cause Jock itch.

Athlete’s foot does not just spread by body parts. It can also spread other ways:
  • Sharing. If you share clothes, socks, shoes, rugs, mats, towels, or bed linens with someone who has the infection, chances of you getting Athlete’s foot increase.
  • Walking barefoot. Public areas like swimming pools, locker rooms, saunas and communal baths/ showers are more susceptible to the fungi associated with Athlete’s foot. This is because fungi like to thrive in warm, moist places.

Try these tips to prevent Athlete’s foot or to help ease the symptoms if you already have the infection:
  1. Keep your feet dry. Also, be sure to keep the areas between your toes dry since this is where Athlete’s foot usually begins.
  2. Do not share shoes.
  3. Wear well-ventilated shoes. Avoid shoes made out of rubber or vinyl since these synthetic materials do not allow for air to move.
  4. Do not wear the same pair of shoes every day. Alternating shoes allows them to dry out while they are not being worn.
  5. Change socks regularly, especially if your feet sweat often.
  6. Protect your feet in public places by wearing shower shoes or waterproof sandals.
  7. Use antifungal powder on your feet daily if you have Athlete’s foot.

Some types of athlete’s foot can lead to blisters or ulcers. Another type called Moccasin, causes scaling and dryness on the soles of the feet. Sometimes it is mistaken as eczema or very dry skin. Since there are different varieties of Athlete’s foot and this infection is highly contagious, see your local podiatrist if you have a rash on your foot that doesn't improve within a few weeks after self-treatment. If you have diabetes, please visit your podiatrist sooner as there are a number of foot-related complications associated with diabetes.

Community Foot Specialists - Podiatrists/Foot & Ankle Surgeons Serving Dayton and Springfield, Ohio Call today to schedule your appointment! (937) 426-9500

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