Living in Arizona during the summer months definitely comes with its own unique set of challenges. Most of us are simply focused on staying cool, often dashing from one A/C chilled building to another. During these months of extreme heat, it can be easy to forget about taking care of our feet. Various fungal species often favor the hot sweaty environment inside our shoes, and delight in infecting our skin. This is often what we call Athletes Foot.
What is Athletes Foot?
Athlete’s foot (know as Tinea Pedis in the medical community) is a cutaneous (skin) fungal infection of the foot. Tinea Pedis is commonly seen, with up to 70% of the US population eventually developing the infection. There are often multiple causative species of fungi that give rise to certain clinical expressions of Athlete’s Foot. But typically, Tinea Pedis presents with the following signs and symptoms:
- Scaling Rash
- Generalized Dryness
- Blisters, fissures, or peeling
- Sensations of itching, burning, or stinging
- Moist sloughing skin between the toes
- Moccasin distribution (affecting all the surfaces a Moccasin shoe would cover)
Complications of Athletes Foot
While we typically think of fungus when we think of Athlete’s Foot, if it is not managed and treated properly, a bacterial infection can occur. These bacterial infections can potentially ulcerate and cause permanent damage. So for this reason you want to make sure you see your doctor for proper treatment.
Treatment of Athletes Foot
Before you simply run out and buy some “tough actin” Tinactin, there are a few considerations that must be made first. First, what specific type of Tinea Pedis do you have? Second, are there any secondary bacterial infections? Third, has the infection reached the nail? These considerations and more, have a direct impact on the mode of treatment that will be administered. For some forms of Athletes Foot, topical antifungals bought at a store are not sufficient, and may require an oral antifungal for eradication. This is especially true if the infection has reached the nail, as the nail acts as a reservoir for the fungus. Your doctor will be able to determine which treatment is best.
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