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By Dr. Philip Pinsker
September 21, 2011
Category: Foot Care

Athlete’s Foot is caused by a fungus, most commonly tinea pedis, which grows in warm moist areas. It is most frequently seen in people who are continuously wearing closed shoes such as athletes and construction workers, where heat and sweat make the perfect growing environment; however it can be seen in other circumstances too. Athlete’s Foot causes severe irritation to the affected area leading to symptoms of an itching or burning sensation, redness, and cracked skin especially between the toes where the warmth and moisture is greatest. 

Because tinea pedis is a living organism, it is considered contagious.  It can be spread from person to person in places such as the shower, bed sheets that are shared with a person who has Athlete’s Foot, locker rooms and swimming pools.  If you have Athlete’s Foot, remember to use a new towel every day, so as not to re-infect a healing foot.

 Many common over-the-counter medications can kill the fungus allowing your feet to heal and recover; however, the cells of the fungus are remarkably similar to our own cells, so it is important that dosing and length-of-use directions are followed so it doesn’t interfere with the healing process of your feet.  During treatment, don’t forget to air out and treat your shoes, change sweaty socks during the day if possible, but especially when returning home for the night, and making sure to get dry your feet very well after showering; and don’t forget between the toes!  Also remember that once the fungus has been suspected, areas that have been in contact with the affected foot should be cleaned properly, both during and after the infection has been treated, to decrease risk of re-infection.   

Although rare, serious complications can arise from the infection.  If you are diabetic, or if you do not notice improvement when using the over-the-counter medications, schedule an appointment with us to review your situation.  We have multiple options for treating those “hard to kill” infections.

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