Athlete’s foot is the term used for a common disorder affecting the skin between the toes. The cleft between the fourth and fifth toes is the most frequently affected, with moist soft skin that peels off easily. Often the skin splits uncomfortably (a fissure). It may smell unpleasant. It is generally mild but a very inflamed athlete’s foot is generally due to secondary bacterial infection.
Athlete’s foot can be due to one factor or a combination of factors. Athlete’s foot is more common in those who participate in sports because:
- They may wear occlusive footwear.
- They sweat heavily.
- They may fail to dry their feet carefully after showering.
- They are exposed to fungal spores on the surfaces of communal areas.
- Laboratory tests
If there is no infection, or treatment of infection does not control the symptoms, an underlying skin condition could be responsible. Look for signs of psoriasis (scaly patches in scalp, on elbows and knees or rashes in body folds) or dermatitis (itchy areas of dry skin).
Treatment for athlete’s foot should begin with general measures.
- Dry carefully between the toes.
- Keep toes apart using a cotton or foam wedge.
- Wear shoes that are loose around the toes or go barefoot.
Make sure that other sites of fungal infection are also treated effectively. Prevent relapse by using anti-fungal foot powder.
Schedule an appointment with one of our medical providers to see which treatment is best for you.