Athlete’s foot (tinea pedis) is a serious health problem, not just an aesthetic one. It hinders sexual activity, arouses shame, and untreated it covers more and more areas on the skin. That’s why it’s worth knowing how to avoid infection, so you don’t have to deal with recurring tinea later on.
Tinea pedis – a common, embarrassing condition
Tinea pedis is very easy to contract. Just a fleeting, physical contact with someone’s exfoliated epidermis. Visitors of saunas, swimming pools, gyms and fitness clubs, where you often go barefoot, are most exposed to the infection. Also athletes are in the risk group.
Sometimes the infection is of short duration, if treatment is started early enough. However, it happens that even after treatment, sooner or later fungal lesions appear on the feet. So it’s a nuisance, especially because it doesn’t allow you to function normally: infected areas not only repel with their appearance, but also emit an unpleasant smell, which certainly does not translate into greater success in the sphere of relationships between men and women.
Where does athlete’s foot actually come from, how to avoid a fungal infection and how to treat it – these questions will be answered in this article.
What causes fungal infections?
The most common cause of infection is a dermatophyte fungal infection, which attacks not only the skin but also the nails and hair: T. rubrum, T. mentagrophytes var. interdigitale, E. fl occosum, Hendersonula toruloidea and Scytadium hyalinum. Fungal spores breed in soil, footwear, animal hair, shower stalls or carpets. The contact with spores alone, however risky, is not enough for the development of athlete’s foot. Appropriate conditions are also necessary: heat and moisture. The development of the fungus is also favourable:
- lack of hygiene or, on the contrary, excessive hygiene of the feet (especially too frequent abrasion of the outermost layer of the epidermis),
- wearing of other people’s shoes or unventilated shoes (especially in summer),
- excessive sweating of the feet,
- immune system disorders,
- long-term intake of antibiotics,
- old age,
- walking barefoot in public places such as saunas, swimming pools, gyms or hotel bathrooms,
- disorders of peripheral circulation,
- use of anti-cancer preparations and preparations that interfere with the activity of the immune system,
- pursuit of a profession that promotes foot sweating, e.g. mining,
- excessive strain on the legs.
Can tinea pedis be confused with any other disease?
Yes, so in case of any doubts, whether we are dealing with tinea, we should consult a doctor. Reliably performed diagnostics will allow to exclude other diseases, which also cause skin changes on the feet. A visit to a specialist is advisable when, after observing the first changes and applying antifungal ointment on your own, the symptoms do not disappear.
The success of treatment depends largely on how early it’s started and whether the diagnosis was correct. In addition, it’s important to identify the source of the infection, so as not to expose yourself to fungal germs again.
How do I avoid athlete’s foot?
The summer season favours fungal infections like no other time of year. Carefree walks on the beach, using public swimming pools, as well as wearing shoes or socks made of unnatural materials may contribute to the development of athlete’s foot and nail fungus. In order to avoid disfiguring changes on the skin, it is worth taking the following advice to heart.
- Do not lend your shoes to anyone. Don’t try on other people’s shoes.
- Wear flip-flops at the pool, gym, sauna or fitness club.
- Don’t use someone else’s sponges, towels, pumice stones or pedicure tools.
- Use a reputable beauty salon where hygiene rules are followed and instruments are disinfected after each client.
- Wear socks and shoes made from natural materials. Avoid so-called textile shoes on rubber, such as trainers and trainers.
- Do not go barefoot in public places.
- Use preparations to prevent foot perspiration.
How to treat tinea pedis?
If you have an infection and the first lesions appear on the skin, it’s best to apply a special ointment immediately. There are plenty of over-the-counter antifungal preparations available in pharmacies. The worst thing you can do is to ignore the problem, hoping that “it will cure itself”. Untreated athlete’s foot develops very quickly and takes over larger and larger areas of the skin. It can also attack the nails, which is even more difficult to cure.
In the vast majority of cases regular use of cheap antifungal medicines brings effects already after two weeks. Unsightly changes disappear, although they may return over time – in which case it is necessary to apply the ointment again. In the case of particularly persistent fungal infection, consult a doctor.