Athlete's Foot: Fungal Infection
What is Athlete's Foot?
Athlete's Foot, known as tinea pedis, is a very common fungal infection that grows on human skin but especially the feet. The fungus itself is called Trichophyton or ringworm fungus. In fact, it is by far the most common fungal infection of the skin.
It affects mostly men of all ages as well as young people and appears in the area between the toes, on the soles of feet as well as in the fingernails and toenails. This infection, once it takes hold, grows and multiplies particularly in a dark, moist and warm environment. Athlete's foot is very contagious and may easily be picked up when walking barefoot in public places. Up to 70% of the population will have athlete's foot at some time during their lives.
Our skin is constantly being shed and this dead skin drops off in small pieces all the time. If such skin contains the athlete's foot fungus, then it can be picked up on the bare feet of others and they in turn can become infected. The infection can be spread to other areas of the body, such as the armpits, knees, elbows and the groin. It is usually called by a different name once it spreads (such as jock itch or tinea cruris for an infection of the skin of the groin).
Athlete's Foot - what does it look like?
Athlete's Foot is a rash which appears on the foot but does not always have the same appearance.
Other signs and symptoms include:
- burning sensation on the feet
- bumps on the feet
- cracked, blistered or peeling areas often between the toes and especially the two smaller toes where the rash starts to peel and crack.
- redness and scaling on the soles of the feet
- skin between the toes may look 'cheesy' and have an unpleasant odor
- a rash that spreads to the instep
- blisters and sometimes there are single, small patches of extremely itchy blisters
- raw skin from scratching (but please try not to scratch!)