Athlete’s foot, also called ringworm of the foot, is an infection that can happen to anyone despite its name. Its technical and medical name is tinea pedis, which means dermatophytosis of the feet, and it is similar to other diseases such as ringworm and jock itch. It is caused by a parasitic fungus that is easily transmitted in areas like swimming pools and locker rooms, making it contagious. The parts of the body that are commonly contaminated with these fungi are the feet and the skin between the toes. However, toe nails, hands, and fingers can also become infected.
Athlete’s foot causes the skin of the feet, the skin between the toes, and any other afflicted areas, to become itchy and cracked, because of fissuring of the skin. The skin may also turn reddish in color when dry, or white and flaky when wet. Athlete’s foot will cause the area to become painful and the infection will cause the area to produce an unpleasant smell. Furthermore, athlete’s foot will cause the scratching reflex. Severe, untreated athlete’s foot can even lead to blisters.
Athlete’s foot is easy to treat. The easiest solution is to purchase over-the counter medicines such as creams and lotions and apply these to the afflicted area over a given period of time. One home remedy people can try is soaking the affected area in water mixed with a small amount of bleach, which will kill the fungus. However, the real problem with athlete’s foot lies in preventing re-infection. To avoid getting infected or re-infected, one should avoid going barefoot, if possible. One should also avoid getting the feet sweaty and trapped in closed sneakers or shoes. To do this, once can use antifungal powder or carry around extra pairs of socks or slippers.