Athlete’s Foot: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments

When your feet aren’t comfortable, you aren’t comfortable. Athlete’s foot is a common skin problem, affecting an estimated 3 to 15% of the population, with higher occurrences in men and the elderly. Athlete’s foot can affect anyone, not just athletes. If you’ve ever experienced this foot fungus, you understand how it can greatly affect your daily routine. Understanding athlete’s foot is essential for prevention and treatment. Let’s learn about the causes, symptoms, and treatments of athlete’s foot so you can get back to having great feeling feet.

What Is Athlete’s Foot?

Athlete’s foot occurs when the fungus Trichophyton grows on an infected person’s body. This fungus is A photo of an individual affected by athletes foot.responsible for both athlete’s foot and jock itch. While this fungus is commonly present on flooring and on clothing, it only infects the skin when the conditions are just right. It requires a warm and moist environment. Warm, sweaty socks and shoes, shared showers facilities and community pool surfaces are common areas where athlete’s foot fungus can spread. Once the infection has occurred, it will continue until the fungus is successfully treated.

 

Anti-fungal creams, such as Triple Paste AF from Summers Labs effectively treat athlete’s foot and helps soothe irritated skin, reducing symptoms and protecting against future flare-ups.

 

Infections Come in Different Forms

There are three primary types of athlete’s foot:

  • Interdigital: This form of athlete’s foot occurs when the fungus develops in the webbing between your toes. Symptoms are itchy and irritable skin between the toes and athlete’s foot can cause skin scaling and peeling. In cases of severe fungal infection, it may produce a foul-smelling discharge or result in discoloration.
  • Moccasin: Another common location for athlete’s foot infection is on the bottom of your foot. This is known as a moccasin infection. This type of infection begins at the heel of your foot and spreads down the sides of your feet.  As with the interdigital form, this can result in irritated and itchy skin, as well as cracking and peeling. If the infection extends the length of your feet and reaches your toes, it can trigger discoloration and crumbling of the nails, or in extreme cases, the loss of the toenails. Note: Toenail fungal infections are treated differently, with different products, than those used for skin fungal infections.
  • Vesicular: This type of athlete’s foot infection typically begins with a sudden outbreak of fluid-filled blisters under the skin, commonly located on the bottom of the foot. This type of infection can, in severe cases, progress to a bacterial infection requiring antibiotic treatments. This type of athlete’s foot is not as common.

Athlete’s Foot Symptoms

Symptoms typically begin with a scaly red rash that causes itching, burning, and stinging. This uncomfortable sensation typically worsens after the removal of your shoes and socks at the end of the day. In other cases, you may develop chronic dryness, scaling, and cracking skin on the foot. Treating athlete’s foot at the first sign of infection with an effective anti-fungal cream, such as Triple Paste AF, will stop athlete’s foot in its tracks and keep it from progressing. Left untreated, the infection spreads. You may notice discoloration and changes in the thickness and texture of your toenails. Fluid-filled blisters can develop, putting you at risk of developing bacterial infections.

Treating your athlete’s foot with an anti-fungal cream reduces redness, itching, and discomfort from athlete’s foot. Our Triple Paste AF stay-put, sweat resistant ointment can get you back on your feet in no time and help prevent recurrence!

Other antifungal treatments tend to be lotions or sprays that treat fungus but do not address the damp, sweaty environment where fungus thrives.  Triple Paste AF is a water-barrier ointment that holds the medication in place, allowing for optimal healing and comfort.

What Are the Causes of Athlete’s Foot?

Athlete’s foot (tinea pedis) occurs when your skin encounters the fungus that causes jock itch and ringworm. This fungus is of the genus Trichophyton. Athlete’s foot can occur either by direct contact with another individual who has the fungus, or by encountering the fungus directly, such as walking barefoot on contaminated surfaces, such as a gym shower stall.

Athlete’s foot is extremely contagious and can spread from person to person through direct contact or contact with a fungal contaminated surface like a gym shower stall.

A photo of an individual susceptible to the athlete's foot fungus by being on the gym floor.

Coming into contact with the fungus doesn’t guarantee you will get infected. The fungus thrives in warm, moist areas, whether on your skin or in the environment, such as warm and sweaty socks and shoes. This is how it received the name athlete’s foot. Although feet are the most common location for an outbreak, it can occur in other areas, such as under your arms or in genital creases, provided the fungus makes contact with the area and experiences both the warmth and moisture that it needs to grow.

How to Prevent and Treat Athlete’s Foot

The best athlete’s foot treatment is to avoid getting it in the first place. This comes in two parts:

  • Avoiding Infection: Your biggest risk for fungal exposure occurs in community locker rooms or shared shower facilities. When in these areas, wear sandals or slippers to prevent direct contact with the flooring and reduce your exposure risk.
  • Preventing Infection: Fungus needs warm, moist areas to thrive. Thus, to avoid fungal infections, make sure to keep your skin clean and dry, paying special attention to your feet, armpits, and groin areas. Allow these areas time to air dry thoroughly before getting dressed. Put on your socks before your underwear to prevent spreading foot fungus “north.”
  • Treating Infection: Once infected, in addition to the prevention tips above, use an effective antifungal cream, such as Triple Paste AF to treat and prevent athlete’s foot.

 

Triple Paste AF is uniquely formulated to be sweat resistant and stay put as you sweat, soothing the area, effectively treating and preventing infections.  You don’t have to live with the pain, itching, and discomfort of athlete’s foot any longer.

Visit Summers Labs today to see how you can be athlete’s foot-free!