Some Facts About Athlete's Foot
By Paul Rothbart
Athlete's foot is a health problem with a pleasant-sounding name: You would think it could grant you the ability to win Olympic gold medals in the 100-meter dash. Of course, it is named for a group of people who get it often. Athlete's foot is a fungus that grows on the feet and between the toes. It is not a serious condition but it itches to the point of distraction and can drive you crazy. Knowing what it is, how you get it, and how you treat it can be useful information.
Despite the name, there is no one group of people most likely to get athlete's foot. There are factors that can increase your chance of getting it. These include wearing the same socks multiple days in a row, having sweaty feet, being barefoot in public places, especially locker rooms and pools, and sharing towels or socks with others. The fungus that causes this condition grows in damp and warm environments. Wet feet enclosed in tight shoes or socks are prime breeding grounds for it.
In addition to itching, there will sometimes be a burning sensation between the toes. It may also sting and cause blisters on the feet that also itch. The skin on the soles or the sides of the feet may become dry and cracked and may even peel. It can sometimes affect the toenails, discoloring them and causing them to pull away from the nail bed. If you have any of these symptoms, you likely have athlete's foot. You can see a doctor or try an over-the-counter remedy.
Athlete's foot is generally treated with topical antifungal ointments that are available in any pharmacy. You don't need a prescription and they tend to be very effective. Some of these include butenafine, terbinafine, miconazole, tolnaftate, and clotrimazole. If you're not sure which one to use, you can ask your doctor or pharmacist for a recommendation. These treatments usually work very quickly, clearing the rash within a matter of days. It is also a good idea to avoid the conditions that caused the fungus to grow in the first place.
Athlete's foot is not a dangerous condition but it is an irritating one. Be mindful of the causes and avoid them. Should you end up with this fungus, stop by the drugstore and pick up an ointment. You don't have to deal with athlete's foot for long.
To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Flagstaff, Ariz.