Athlete’s foot

Athlete’s Foot (Tinea Feet) Summary

Mycosis of the feet, also known as athlete’s foot (tinea of ​​the feet) is a common infectious disease caused mainly by dermatophyte fungi (tinea pedis). The most affected areas are the regions between the fingers and under the nails, it can also appear on the back, soles or other areas of the feet.

Healthy people are also affected by foot mycosis, however certain groups of people are more sensitive to this disease, such as: diabetics , people with circulatory problems, immunocompromised people or people taking cortisone-based medications and athletes.

Transmission can be through contact with infected people and animals or through contaminated environments such as changing rooms, area around the pool, saunas, etc. Using someone else’s items and clothing is also a means of transmitting athlete’s foot.

The symptoms are: redness, desquamation, whitish and brittle skin, appearance of cracks (fissures) and blisters. People with athlete’s foot often also have the infection in the hands, under the fingernails and groin.

Because it is a very characteristic disease, the diagnosis is made through the patient’s history and symptoms. If confirmation is needed, samples can be taken from the wounds for fungal research under a microscope.

Treatment, in most cases, can be done using only topical antifungals, but in more severe cases, oral antifungals may be necessary.

Some medicinal plants can be used, such as tea tree) or calendula.

Additional prevention recommendations can help limit the appearance of mycosis on the feet, such as drying the space between the toes or walking barefoot.

Definition

Foot mycosis, also known as athlete’s foot or chilblain, is usually caused by dermatophytes (tinea pedis), fungi that need a host to develop (in this case, humans).

Mycosis manifests itself on the feet, most often between the toes and under the nails (see mycosis of the nails ), it can also appear on the back, soles or other areas of the feet. Ringworm develops on the upper layers of the skin and in environments that are often damp and warm.

Diabetic people , those with circulation problems, those taking cortisone-based medicines, those with a depressed immune system and sportsmen (due to intense perspiration), are generally the ones who are more sensitive to developing mycoses. But people who are considered healthy are also routinely affected.

Athlete’s foot is the most common dermatophyte infection in medical practice.

Because it is a mycosis caused by fungi, it can spread to different parts of the body.

Epidemiology

In the United States, the American newspaper Prevention estimated in 2018 that about 15% of Americans suffer or have suffered from foot mycosis ( Athlete’s Foot in English).

Causes

Dermatophytes are most often the cause of foot mycosis. It is the most common type of fungus that causes skin and nail infections. These fungi transmit spores, which are considerably resistant in the environment.

Fungal foot infections can also be caused by other types of fungus, such as yeast (type of Candida).

Factors that favor the appearance of athlete’s foot

– Wet areas: swimming pools, sauna, showers

– Sweaty feet, for example, closed shoes or shoes that let your feet breathe little

– Skin lesions on the feet

– Decline

– Diabetes

– Use of certain medications, such as antibiotics

– Poor circulation in the extremities

– Footwear made of synthetic material such as plastic

Foot mycosis transmission Transmission can be made directly between the foot and an environment rich in spores or fungi, such as swimming pools, showers or any humid and/or hot environment, through contaminated objects, such as slippers, or through contact with people and infected animals.

athlete’s foot symptoms

At first redness appears and then the skin, often between the toes, becomes grayish or white and begins to flake off.

An itchy, “pinching” sensation, followed by considerable pain, often accompanies mycosis of the foot, often leading to blistering and some fissures (cracks).

People with athlete’s foot often also have the infection in the hands, under the fingernails and groin.

Athlete’s foot usually appears on both feet.

Diagnosis

Because the symptoms are characteristic, most of the time, the doctor can make the diagnosis just by looking at the eruptions (sores) and observing the patient’s history. But in some cases he can collect ′′ scraping ′′ from the rash and analyze it under the microscope to check for the presence of fungi.

It should be noted, however, that the symptoms of mycosis of the feet can sometimes be confused with other diseases, such as psoriasis .

Treatments

First of all, we emphasize that, as with acne treatments, it is necessary to be patient before observing the effectiveness of the medication.

Treatment, in most cases, can be done using only topical antifungals, but in more severe cases, oral antifungals may be necessary.

There are different forms of medication to treat mycosis of the feet, such as:

– gels, lotions, creams, sprays. Usually applied once or twice daily for 4 weeks (most often over-the-counter)

– pills (most often under medical prescription)

– powders (advisable if the person sweats a lot on the feet)

Medicines

– the triazoles ( clotrimazole , econazole, sulconazole, oxiconazole, ketoconazole, miconazole), antimycotic creams to be applied several times a day, effective after approximately one month of treatment.

– allylamine (terbinafine, naftifine), in antimycotic cream to be applied once a day, effective after one week of treatment.

Also ask your pharmacist for advice, he has numerous medications to efficiently treat foot mycosis and will be able to refer you to a doctor in cases without results.

Herbal medicine

There are medicinal plants that allow to obtain good results in the treatment of mycosis of the feet (athlete’s foot)

– tea tree ( tea tree ), topical use (do not ingest !). Apply 1 to 2 drops of tea tree essential oil to the area of ​​ringworm (it is very effective)

– calendula , to be used in foot ointment or spray

– lavender oil ( lavender )

–  Atlas cedar , to be used as an essential oil (10 drops of Atlas cedar essential oil mixed with sweet almond oil, then massage the infected foot after drying it).

Alternative treatment: 
Sulfur soaps at 10% act naturally thanks to their antifungal effect. Start by drying the foot well and spread this soap directly on the foot with some antifungal powder.

Good advice (Tips)

– Thoroughly disinfect the area where the mycosis of the feet is located, then apply medication against mycosis . In general, they are antimycotic creams, but you can also use plant-based remedies against mycoses (for example, based on “ tea tree ”).

– Make a foot bath with calcium permanganate (available in pharmacies).

– Preferably wear leather shoes. Avoid wearing shoes and sneakers made of synthetic materials.

– Occasionally use a powder, such as common talc, to dry the feet, limiting moisture (a factor that favors the development of fungal infections).

– Wear socks, if possible made of cotton or wool. If you sweat a lot, change your socks twice a day, if not once is enough.

– Preferably wear leather or canvas shoes. Avoid wearing shoes and socks made of synthetic material. The aim is to have shoes, in which the air can circulate well, to reduce the dampness of the feet.

Prevention

– Thoroughly dry the spaces between your toes (especially between the middle and pinky toes), in fact it is often there that foot mycosis develops. Use, for example, cotton between your fingers to dry the area properly.

– In public places (showers, swimming pools, …), especially in damp places, avoid going barefoot, take flip flops.

– Wash clothes that have been in contact with mycoses (washing machine at 60°C or more) and eventually use an anti-fungal product in the washing machine.

– Wear clothes and shoes that let your feet breathe. Indeed, a lot of perspiration favors the development of mycoses (dermatophytosis). You can, for example, use an anti-fungal spray or powder on your shoes.

– Take good care of the hygiene and quality of the skin on your feet using special ointments or going to a pedicure.

– Pay attention to wounds and bruises, this can favor the entry of dermatophytes and the development of mycoses.

– Do not use someone else’s clothes, sports equipment, towels and shoes.

– If you have athlete’s foot, wear socks before underwear (underwear or panties) to avoid contamination of other parts of the body.

– Thoroughly disinfect the area where the mycosis of the feet is located, then apply medication against mycosis . In general, they are antimycotic creams, but you can also use plant-based remedies against mycoses (for example, based on “tea tree”).

– Make a foot bath with calcium permanganate (available in pharmacies).

– Wear leather or canvas shoes, avoid synthetic materials.

Jeanne Kenney
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I’m a stylist trainer, a content creator, and an entrepreneur passion. Virgo sign and Pisces ascendant, I move easily between my dreams, the crazy world I want, and my feet on the ground to carry out my projects.

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