Let me begin by dispelling a myth. The common name of tinea pedis is athlete’s foot however you do not have to be an athlete to be struck with this irritating skin condition. The condition arises due to excess foot moisture where no ventilation exists such as in shoes or socks which allow no air movement. As a result, fungus forms causing itching and cracking of the skin. The athlete’s foot is a communicable condition meaning that it can be passed through contact such as when wearing someone else’s footwear that has had the condition or using a public shower.
Identifying an Athlete’s Foot
If you have never contracted athlete’s foot you may be confused as to what it actually is. The main signs of athlete’s foot consist of the skin of the bottom of the foot or between the toes or, in some cases, on top of the foot becomes dry and somewhat scaly. Redness and extreme itching may accompany the athlete’s foot. The itching, once present, can worsen when wearing socks and shoes due to the increase in moisture. At the outset, if you are not familiar with the condition, you may be prone to suspect an insect bite due to the itching and redness but the key is to look for signs of the skin becoming cracked, scaly, and dry. These are sure signs that it is athlete’s foot.
Because an athlete’s foot is caused by a fungus, it is the fungus that must directly combat in order to rid oneself of it. There are numerous remedies including medicated creams that are available over-the-counter that relieve the symptoms and eradicate athlete’s foot. Additionally, With ever-evolving podiatry coding guidelines, it is recommended that you keep yourself updated to avoid high medical bills.
The first step, however, is to begin a regimen of washing one’s feet daily and thoroughly to keep the area clean. Also, it is a good idea to wear only well-ventilated shoes and socks. Socks made from cotton are the best for this. If possible wear sandals or other “open” footwear in order to prevent perspiration. In addition to these measures, you should change your socks and shoes once a day if possible. And whenever possible apply baby powder to the affected area to prevent moisture.
Now as for the actual irritating symptoms, there are a few different remedies and treatments. To ease the burning and itching of the affected area soak your foot in a mixture of water and Epsom salts (which is available over-the-counter at Wal-mart and other such stores). Using a pot or bowl that is large enough to immerse your foot, fill the container about 3/4 of the way with warm water and add about 3/4 cup of Epsom salts. Stir the water and salt with a spoon so that the salt completely dissolves. Soak your foot for about thirty minutes and dry it completely afterward and apply baby powder to remove and prevent moisture.
As for destroying the fungus, a medicated cream is required. There are numerous antifungal creams on the market, too many to name, that will cure athlete’s foot. With most creams, the proper application will be to completely wash the area with soap and warm water and dry the area completely. Apply the cream to the entire affected area and allow it to soak into the skin before putting socks or footwear. Keep in mind that it may take several days for the condition to completely disappear however you should notice a cessation of the itching and burn within a day or so of beginning treatment (depending on the severity of your case).
Avoiding Future Outbreaks
Good personal hygiene and care in social situations are the two best measures for avoiding future outbreaks. If you believe that you came by the condition through communicable means then take precautions in the future to avoid being barefoot in public areas or sharing footwear with others. If your case of athlete’s foot arose through perspiration from physical activity, then practice the habit of applying baby powder daily to your feet to prevent moisture build-up and changing footwear (including socks) after physical activity.
I hope this information is helpful to you and that you will soon be fungus-free! Good luck and take care.
Jane Castro is a journalist and media enthusiast. She graduated from the University of Bacolod in the Philippines. She loves skating, scuba diving, and archery on her free time.