Men's Articles

Athlete's Foot

Athlete's foot is caused by fungus that causes itching, cracking and peeling of the skin on the foot, especially between the toes. The condition is highly contagious and can be easily contracted by contact with an exposed surface such as a swimming pool deck, shower floor, locker room floor, bathroom, etc.

Contact with the fungus, however, is usually not enough to bring on athlete's foot. The fungus can only thrive in a warm, moist environment, so tight fitting shoes and moist, sweaty socks will greatly increase the risk of becoming infected. There are three main kinds of athlete's foot: chronic, seasonal and ulcerative. Chronic athlete's foot is characterized by small cracks, scaling and softening of the skin, mainly between the toes, and can spread to the sole and even under the toenail.

Seasonal athlete's foot occurs mostly in the summer months and causes small, fluid filled bumps on the instep and sole, and this skin can become scaly. Ulcerative athlete's foot is a severe form of the condition which produces scaling and softening of the skin and weeping ulcerations on the sole which can be painful, odorous and disabling. After infection, most athlete's foot conditions can be controlled with over-the-counter medications, available in creams, ointments, solutions and powders.

The most common remedies include tolnaftate, miconazole, clortrimazole, and undecylenic acid. Consult a physician in case of an infected toenail, smelly and oozing fluid filled bumps, severe inflammation or cracking of the skin, scaly and blistering skin (especially in children), or whitish, soggy, painful and ill-smelling skin between the toes. People with diabetes should also consult a physician, as some nonprescription remedies can be harmful. The most effective "cure" for athlete's foot, however, is prevention.

A Few Simple Precautions Will Be Effective In Most Cases

  • Do not wear tight fitting shoes for extended lengths of time.
  • Wear sandals in high risk areas such as pool decks, community showers and bathrooms.
  • Wash the feet thoroughly and frequently.
  • Use talc or corn starch foot powders.
  • Be sure to dry the feet thoroughly, especially between the toes. Never put socks or shoes on when then feet are still damp, and change them at least once a day.
  • It is important to consult your physician or pharmacist before using any over-the-counter drugs or treatments. They will be able to advise you on proper usage and can warn you of possible side effects and contraindications.

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