Athlete’s Foot is a highly contagious fungal infection that’s caused by a specific group of fungi. This group of fungi love warm, damp squalid conditions – much like the conditions in your socks/shoes after a full day working/exercising.
- 1 What Causes Athlete’s Foot?
- 2 What are the Signs & Symptoms of Athlete’s Foot?
- 3 Is Athlete’s Foot Contagious?
- 4 Can Athlete’s Foot Spread to Other Parts of my Body?
- 5 Can I Get Athlete’s Foot if I’ve Had it Before?
- 6 Treatment for Athlete’s Foot
- 7 Can Athlete’s Foot be Cured?
- 8 Will I Definitely Get Athlete’s Foot if I’ve Come in contact with the Contagious Fungus?
- 9 Should I Go to the Doctor for Athlete’s Foot?
- 10 Are there different types of Athlete’s Foot Infections?
What Causes Athlete’s Foot?
Athlete’s foot is the result of a fungal infection. The specific type of fungi that is responsible for the onset of the medical condition adores damp and warm conditions. These conditions are often found in people’s shoes and socks, and so the fungi are often drawn to these environments.
What are the Signs & Symptoms of Athlete’s Foot?
Although there are a few variations when it comes to Athlete’s Foot Infections, there are a number of symptoms that are generally associated with the condition, these include:
- Itchy white patches of skin between the toes, or on the feet.
- Sore, red and flaky areas of skin between the toes, or on the feet.
- Skin on the feet that cracks and bleeds easily.
- Fungal toe-nail infections (resulting from improper treatment of Athlete’s Foot).
- Fluid-filled blisters on the soles and sides of the feet.
- More symptoms can be read here
Is Athlete’s Foot Contagious?
Yes, the various types of fungi that cause Athlete’s Foot are highly contagious. It’s possible to contract the frustrating infection from touching infected skin, surfaces or materials.
Although itchy, try to avoid scratching affected areas of skin. If you scratch the infected areas of skin you risk spreading Athlete’s Foot to other parts of your body. You should also avoid walking around barefoot to avoid spreading the infection to people who share your living spaces.
Ensure you use your own towels, socks and shoes to avoid spreading the fungi farther afield. Furthermore, make sure to use a separate towel to dab dry your feet after washing – dabbing rather than rubbing will stop you further damaging fragile skin.
Can Athlete’s Foot Spread to Other Parts of my Body?
Yes. As the types of fungi that are responsible for Athlete’s Foot are highly contagious, it’s possible to contract the fungal infection from simply touching something that has also come in contact with the fungi. If you’ve been unable to resist picking at infected skin, then there’s a significant possibility you have spread the infection onto your hands. If the fungi are on your hands, and you’ve touched other parts of your body such as torso, head or groin, it’s possible that the infection could be spread to these locations. Similarly, using a towel or bed sheet that has come in contact with the infection also presents a risk of exposure to the contagious fungus.
Can I Get Athlete’s Foot if I’ve Had it Before?
Yes, if you’ve had Athlete’s Foot before, it doesn’t offer you any form of immunity against re-infection. Therefore, if you come in contact with the contagious fungus, there’s a strong possibility you may contract Athlete’s Foot once again.
Treatment for Athlete’s Foot
Luckily the vast majority of the most effective treatments for Athlete’s Foot are available over-the-counter at your local pharmacy. Most of these treatments come in the form of a topical anti-fungal cream, gel or foam and should be applied according to the medication. With that being said, the majority of these treatments require multiple daily applications for several weeks.
There are also a number of more natural treatments you can use alongside your topical anti-fungal Athlete’s Foot Cream:
- Make sure your feet are totally dry after washing them. Ensure this by dab drying them, rather than rub drying, this will protect the already delicate skin on your feet from further damage.
- Ensure you use a separate towel for drying your feet and that you regularly wash this towel with hot soapy water.
- Make sure you take your shoes and socks off when home and relaxing, however make sure you don’t walk around the house barefooted as this may spread the infection to other people who share your living spaces.
- Wear cotton socks that allow your feet to breath.
- Avoid scratching or touching your feet at all with your hands, this will reduce the possibility of you spreading the condition around your own body.
- Try to avoid making your feet hot and sweaty, you should even consider washing your shoes every couple of days to destroy the fungus.
Can Athlete’s Foot be Cured?
Yes. Thankfully the vast majority of Athlete’s Foot Cases can be cured using over-the-counter, topical anti-fungal Athlete’s Foot Cream. However, there is a tiny percentage of people who may develop a chronic Athlete’s Foot infection. If you’ve been using topical anti-fungal Athlete’s Foot Cream with little to no effect, make sure you’re applying it properly or contact your doctor to arrange an appointment.
Will I Definitely Get Athlete’s Foot if I’ve Come in contact with the Contagious Fungus?
No, of course not! However, it’s important to realise that the fungus is highly contagious and that it’s possible you may contract the condition if you’ve come in contact with the fungus. If you do think you’ve come in contact with the fungus, you should begin to pay attention to your feet to notice if you start showing symptoms of Athlete’s Foot.
Should I Go to the Doctor for Athlete’s Foot?
You should not initially attend the doctors for Athlete’s Foot. The majority of treatments doctors would initially suggest for Athlete’s Foot are available over-the-counter at your local pharmacy anyway. With that being said, if you have an incredibly persistent case of Athlete’s Foot (or have left it untreated for a long time), or if your foot suddenly becomes red, sore and hot you’ll need to see a doctor.
Your doctor may:
- Use a swab to take a small scraping of skin from your feet for laboratory analysis. There’s no point treating Athlete’s Foot if it turns out you don’t actually have Athlete’s Foot.
- Prescribe you a steroidal topical cream to use alongside a stronger anti-fungal cream.
- Prescribe you stronger anti-fungal medication in tablet form, you may need to take these for a number of weeks.
Are there different types of Athlete’s Foot Infections?
Yes, there are three quite common types of Athlete’s Foot Infection, they include:
Toe Web Infection – Toe Web Infections usually occur between the fourth and fifth toes. With Toe Webb Infections the skin often becomes scaly and begins to peel and crack. As the skin breaks and cracks with Toe Web Infections, there’s an increased risk of contracting a bacterial skin infection.
Moccasin Type Infection – Moccasin Type Infections usually tend to begin with a growing soreness on the foot, furthermore within a few days the skin on the bottom/heel of your foot may start to become thick and crack. In the worst cases, the toenails can get infected and can thicken, crumble and even fall out. If this occurs it’s important to know that fungal infections in toenails need separate treatment to an Athlete’s Foot infection.
Vesicular Type Infection – Vesicular Type Infections can begin with a sudden outbreak of fluid-filled blisters appearing under the skin. The blisters are usually on the bottom of the foot, however it’s not impossible for them to appear anywhere on your foot. As blisters can often burst leaving exposed skin, the wounds left by Vesicular Type Infections are prone to bacterial infection.