What is Athlete’s Foot?
Athlete’s foot is a fungal infection that affects the skin on the feet. It is contagious, and can spread to the toenails and hands as well. This fungus is named “athlete’s foot” because it is commonly seen in athletes.
Athlete’s foot is caused when tinea fungus grows on the feet. This fungus can be spread through direct contact with an infected person, or by touching surfaces contaminated with the fungus. The fungus lives in warm, moist environments, and is commonly found on locker room floors, in showers, and around swimming pools.
There are many symptoms associated with athlete’s foot, including:
- Itching, stinging and burning between the toes and soles of feet.
- Blisters on the feet.
- Cracking and peeling skin on the feet.
- Dry skin on the soles or sides of the feet.
- Raw skin on the feet.
- Discolored, thick, or crumbling toenails.
How is it Treated?
Athlete’s foot is often treated with over-the-counter topical antifungal medications. If these medications do not treat the fungal infection, topical or oral prescription-strength antifungal medications may be prescribed.
Over-the-counter medications may include:
- Miconazole (Desenex)
- Terbinafine (Lamisil AT)
- Clotrimazole (Lotrimin AF)
- Butenafine (Lotrimin Ultra)
- Tolnaftate (Tinactin)
Prescription medications that may be prescribed for athlete’s foot include:
- Topical, prescription-strength clotrimazole or miconazole.
- Oral medications such as Sporanox, Diflucan, or Lamisil.
- Topical steroid medications to reduce inflammation.
- Oral antibiotics if bacterial infections develop due to blisters and raw skin.
It may be recommended that you soak your feet in salt water or diluted vinegar to help dry up any blisters.