Don’t be fooled if you ever get this diagnosis. It doesn’t mean you’re eligible to compete for a gold medal. Here’s the real truth about athlete’s foot.
The official medical term is tinea pedis. Tinea means infection from dermatophyte fungi and pedis means foot, so it clearly is a fungus infection of the foot. Although this infection is actually not an exclusive of the foot, it can also spread or infect the nails, groin, or armpits. Practically, almost any skin area can get this fungus infection, anywhere that has a keratin layer.
It is the most common fungus infection and is found in around 70% of the world’s population.
Most commonly from moist environments where people walk barefoot such as showers, bath houses, locker rooms or sharing footware from an infected person. Rarely, it can be transmitted from sharing towels with an infected person.
Keep in mind the fungus still needs the right environment, which is the warm and humid skin, to grow and cause the infection.
The infection shows as a skin rash and itchiness. Some conditions may be flaky skin, small bumps, cracked, blistered, peeling area, or “cheesy” appearance with bad odor.
Another important fact is that it is not an infection exclusively on the foot, it can also spread or infect the nails, groin, or armpits. Practically, almost any skin area can get this fungus infection.
What you can do?
Most over-the-counter antifungal medications works to kill the fungus, however other measures are necessary for the complete treatment:
- Keep your feet as clean and dry as possible.
- Carefully dry your feet after bathing and showering. Remove flaky skin each day with dry tissue paper or gauze.
- After drying your feet, apply the antifungal treatment.
- Follow the instruction on how long you should apply the medication. Most of the time it takes weeks to complete the treatment.
Whenever in any doubt, ask your doctor. Your doctor might perform a test by scraping the affected area. Don’t worry this procedure is painless. A special laboratorium process can see objectively under the microscope which type of fungus is the cause.
- Keep your feet clean and dry, especially after showering. Make sure you dry your feet thoroughly, especially between the toes.
- Avoid tight or synthetic closed footware. If possible, wear open sandals or shoes with porous soles and uppers.
- Wear light socks made of natural absorbent fibres, cotton would be the fabric of choice in Bali.
- Change your socks daily.
- Dry your sneakers under the sun to make them dry. You may add some shoe disinfectant.
- Go barefoot at home occassionally.
- Wear sandals around pool areas, public showers and gyms to steer clear of the fungus.
- Don’t share towels or footwear.