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Contagious Skin Disease: Athlete’s Foot


Athlete’s foot, medically known as tinea pedis, refers to a fungal infection that typically initiates between the toes. It often develops in people whose feet become quite sweaty while confined within tight-fitting footwear.

The signs and symptoms of this dermatology condition include a scaly rash that typically leads to stinging, itching, and burning. Athlete’s foot is a contagious condition and can spread through contaminated towels, floors, or clothing.

Athlete’s foot is related to other fungal conditions such as jock itch and ringworm. It can be treated with over the counter antifungal drugs, but the infection typically recurs. Prescription meds are also available for the treatment of Athlete’s foot.

Suncoast Skin Solutions, led by board certified dermatologist Dr. Christopher Ewanowski, provides cutting-edge skin care treatments to patients in Tampa, Brandon, Lutz, Seminole, Riverview, Brooksville, Winter Haven, Daytona Beach, Largo, St. Petersburg, Ocala, Sarasota, Palm Harbor, Central Florida, Florida, and surrounding communities.

 

Symptoms

Athlete’s foot typically causes a scaly red rash. This rash usually initiates between the toes. The itching is typically the worst immediately after the patient takes off their shoes and socks.

Certain types of athlete’s foot cause ulcers or blisters. The moccasin type of athlete’s foot leads to scaling and dryness on the soles that extend up to the sides of the foot. This condition can be mistaken for dry skin or eczema.  

The infection can impact one or both feet. It can also spread to the hand, especially if the patient scratches or picks at the infected areas of the feet.

 

When to Consult a Doctor

People who have a rash on their foot that does not improve with self-treatment should consult a doctor.

Diabetic patients should see their doctor if they suspect that they have athlete’s foot, especially if they notice any signs of a potential secondary bacterial infection such as inflammation, excessive redness, fever, or drainage.

 

Causes

Athlete’s foot develops due to the same fungus that causes jock itch and ringworm. Conditions such as damp socks and shoes as well as humidity favor the organisms’ growth.

Athlete’s foot is a contagious condition which can spread by contact with an affected individual or contact with contaminated surfaces, such as floors, towels, and shoes.  

 

Prevention

Dermatologists recommend the following precautions to reduce the possibility of catching athlete’s foot:

When walking around gyms, pools, locker areas, and hotel rooms, wear flip-flops, shower shoes, or sandals. The fungus that leads to the development of athlete’s foot may be present on the floor. It is important to wear flip flops or shoes even when taking a shower in a gym.

The feet should be kept dry even if a person has not ventured barefoot in public areas. This fungus thrives in moist, warm such as the one created inside sweaty, hot shoes. When it is hot outside, it helps to wear sandals or flip-flops.

Shoes that are made from synthetic materials like plastic and rubber are more likely to cause sweating. It is important to wash the feet with soap every day and thoroughly dry them after washing.

It is helpful to wear socks made of natural fabrics or materials that dry quickly or wick moisture away from the skin. Additionally, changing the socks every day and more frequently when they get moist can help prevent the development of athlete’s foot.

It is a good idea to alternate the shoes that a person wears every day to ensure that the shoes are dry.

For people living with someone with athlete’s foot, it is important not to share linens, towels, or shoes as well as wear shoes in areas where the infected feet have been.

Dr. Ewanowski’s dermatology practice and medical spa receives patients from Tampa, Brandon, Lutz, Seminole, Riverview, Brooksville, Winter Haven, Daytona Beach, Largo, St. Petersburg, Ocala, Sarasota, Palm Harbor, Central Florida, Florida, and nearby areas for safe and proven skin care procedures.

SunCoast Skin Solutions Dermatology offices are located in Tampa / Hillsborough, St. Pete/ Pinellas County , Brandon, Lutz, Winter Haven, Largo, Riverview, Brooksville, Ocala, and Daytona Beach, Sarasota, Florida. Contact us at 1-844-786-3376 or click here.

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