The Most Common Foot Fungus

I don't even like exercise! How did I end up with athlete's foot?

Truth be told, athlete's foot can be contracted in a number of ways, including a foot rub from someone who has just been scratching their itchy, infected foot and has now touched yours. Other ways to become infected include strolling around the locker room and poolside without jelly shoes when you have a cut on your foot or having a pedicure in less than stellar conditions.

What Causes Athlete's Foot?

Athlete's foot, caused by the ringworm fungus, tinea pedis, is a common skin infection and, when caught early enough, is very quickly treated. Symptoms include a varying degree of itching and burning on and around the infected area where the skin becomes flaky and may peel. In severe cases, the skin may crack, bleeding may occur and the skin may become very painful and inflamed. On the other hand, some people have the infection and there is little irritation so it may go unnoticed.

It's Common-This Is How It May Appear

Some distinguishing features to athlete's foot that make it identifiable include red, peeling, and dry skin areas on one or both of the soles of the feet with dry areas sometimes spreading to the top of the feet. The rash is often localized and may occur between the fourth and fifth toes where moisture, peeling, and itching may be present.

There are three common types of athlete's foot. Moccasin type appears on the soles of the feet. Interdigital, as its name implies, appears between the toes and the third type is inflammatory or blistering athlete's foot. There are also unusual cases that present with small or large blisters, thick patches of dry, red skin, or sometimes calluses that are red and inflamed. Athlete's foot can also be seen as a rash on one or both feet and can appear on one hand. The reason it affects only one hand remains a mystery. Athlete's foot may also appear in conjunction with tinea cruris, or jock itch. Fungal infections spread rapidly, so it is important to address the issue as soon as possible to prevent infection of other parts of the body.

If You Suspect Athlete's Foot, Get Proper Treatment

While athlete's foot is often spread from person to person, it is not always contagious. Some people have a much higher resistance to fungal infection than others and some are more susceptible. There doesn't seem to be any particular reason for the difference.

If athlete's foot is suspected, then a consultation with a medical professional is prudent. Left untreated, athlete's foot can spread to other parts of the body, or to other people. When fungus finds its way into the skin the door is open for bacterial and yeast infections to invade as well. Bacterial infections smell bad and can create an inflammation called cellulitis. Since athlete's foot is a common infection, family medicine physicians, as well as doctors in other fields, are familiar with its treatment. Don't wait to see if it will go away on its own-get the treatment you need as soon as you realize there is a problem.