What Causes Athlete’s Foot?

Athlete’s foot is common and not terribly dangerous, but it is notoriously hard to eradicate. It’s mildly contagious, and it looks awful. 

At Alliance Foot & Ankle Specialists, we recommend you seek medical care for athlete’s foot, especially if you have diabetes. Dr. Richard Nichols and Dr. Joseph Harvey understand the unbearable itch that comes with a bad case of athlete’s foot and how to treat it so that you’re cured of the infection completely. 

How you get athlete’s foot

Athlete’s foot is an infection caused by a fungus. The medical name for it is tinea pedis, and you don’t actually have to be an athlete to contract it. It’s just called athlete’s foot because it tends to be common among athletes. 

The reasons athletes tend to develop tinea pedis more than other people is that the fungus thrives in damp, warm areas, like locker rooms and public showers. Also, if you often have sweaty feet, you have a higher chance of getting athlete’s foot. 

Walking barefoot in public places raises your risk, as does wearing tight shoes or having moist feet for long periods of time. Tinea, the fungus that causes athlete’s foot, is also frequently found around swimming pools. 

Uncomfortable symptoms

Most often, you’re likely to feel the symptoms of athlete’s foot between your toes. Itching, stinging, and burning on the soles of your feet or between your toes are common symptoms. You might develop blisters, or the skin between your toes or on the bottoms of your feet might crack and peel or become dry or raw. If the infection moves to your toenails, they may become thick and crumbly or pull away from your nail bed. 

When athlete’s foot is dangerous

If you have diabetes and think you may have athlete’s foot, you should see your doctor right away. Any wound, injury, or infection on your feet can be dangerous when you have diabetes. 

If you develop a fever with athlete’s foot, you should see your doctor. Finally, if you have a condition that causes a weakened immune system, and you have symptoms of athlete’s foot, don’t try treating it at home. See your doctor right away. 

Treatment for athlete’s foot

We strongly recommend that if you notice symptoms of athlete’s foot, schedule an appointment with us, for a few reasons. First, it’s important to make sure you’re dealing with athlete’s foot and not some other problem. We have a simple, in-office diagnostic test to confirm athlete’s foot. 

The other reason that it’s better to get medical care for athlete’s foot is that it’s often a difficult infection to clear. You may use over-the-counter products for a while and think that you’re better, only to find the infection is back after a couple of weeks. 

If you suspect you may have athlete’s foot, schedule an appointment with one of the experts at Alliance Foot & Ankle. We have locations in both Grapevine and Keller for your convenience, and we want you to have feet that don’t itch! 

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