Athlete's foot is a fungal infection caused by a fungus growing on the skin between your toes. It is not serious, and you can treat it yourself with athlete's foot medicines. You don't need to be an athlete to catch it, as it is quite common, and it is encouraged to grow by anything that makes your feet damp and sweaty, including wearing trainers. Once you suffer with Athlete's Foot it will tend to keep coming back unless your treat it properly. because it produces minute spores that lodge in your shoes and reinfect you when your feet get hot and sweaty again.
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Athlete's foot is a fungal infection caused by a fungus growing on the skin between your toes. It is not serious, and you can treat it yourself with athlete's foot medicines. You don't need to be an athlete to catch it, as it is quite common.
It is easy to catch athlete's foot from warm damp places, such as the changing room and showers at a gym or swimming pool, or even at home. It is spread by people who already have athlete's foot walking around in bare feet, and spreading the fungus spores on the floor, and then someone else picks this up on their feet, and the spores grow and infect the moist skin between the toes, where the fungus feeds on the skin.
Athlete's foot usually makes the skin between your toes itch and peel, and it can make the skin moist and red, but symptoms can vary. It is best treated straight away, or it can become progressively worse, spreading to the soles of the feet, which can become red, thickened, cracked, itchy and leathery. In bad cases it can lead to a secondary bacterial infection in the skin, which is more difficult to treat, and can be rather smelly. This is more likely if your immune system is low, or if you have diabetes. Fungal infection of the nails can sometimes also occur.
Athlete's foot can largely be prevented by drying your feet well after washing them, and by wearing a clean pair of socks every day. If you wear trainers or sports shoes, it is best to let them dry completely for 24 hours after use, so if you wear them every day you will need to have two pairs and alternate them. Infections are more likely to happen in the winter, as our feet are always in shoes. Wearing sandals in the summer helps the feet to dry out better.
You can treat athlete's foot yourself with athlete's foot medicines, but it is important to choose and use them correctly. Many people keep getting bouts of athlete's foot, and this is usually because they have not fully cleared the last infection, and the spores left on the skin just reinfect the same area after a time. It is also worth treating shoes and trainers with a proper athlete's foot powder to kill fungal spores that can lurk there and reinfect you later.
If you have athlete's foot you should not walk around in bare feet, as you will spread the spores for other people to catch. There is no need to stop playing sports, but always wear something on your feet to prevent infecting others. Use flip-flops to walk around the gum changing room or shower, and around the pool. Don't walk around in bare feet at home either. Do not share your towel, as other people can catch it from a towel which has been used to dry the feet. Wash your towel frequently.
See your doctor about athlete's foot if it doesn't clear up after properly using athlete's foot medicines, or if your feet are very sore, or your nails are also affected, or if skin problems start to appear on other parts of the body.
Athlete's Foot Medicines
Athlete's foot medicines are very effective, and you can buy the same products as your doctor would recommend for treatment. However, they should be used regularly, and for long enough after the athlete's foot symptoms have cleared. Most people stop using them too soon, and the infection soon comes back, because it was not properly cleared in the first place. Also remember to treat the skin for a couple of inches around the affected area, and use a proper dusting powder to treat your shoes and trainers. Dusting powders alone do not treat athlete's foot, but can be used as a preventative.
Lamisil contains terbinafine which is the quickest treatment to kill the fungi causing athlete's foot. It also has the big advantage that it is absorbed into the skin, and carries on working for weeks after it is applied, so that the treatment time is short. Lamisil AT Gel and Lamisil AT Spray are recommended for use where there is an infection between the toes as they are less moist than Lamisil AT Cream. These should be used regularly for a week. The new formulation of Lamisil Once allows a single application to be equally effective.
The imidazole drugs miconazole, ketoconazole and clotrimazole are all equally effective in killing the fungi that cause athlete's foot. They should be used regularly until the area has healed, and then for the recommended time afterwards to ensure a complete cure.
Miconazole kills the fungi causing athlete's foot, and also kills bacteria that can affect the same area, such products should be used for up to 10 days after the area has healed e.g. Daktarin Cream and Daktarin Aktiv Cream.
Ketoconazole should be used for 2 to 3 days after the area has healed, e.g. Daktarin Gold Cream
Clotrimazole and should be continued for at least a month after the area has healed e.g. Canesten AF Cream
Mycil and Scholl Powder contain Tolfinate is an an older medicine for which there is less evidence of effectiveness than the newer imidazoles and terbinafine e.g. Mycil and Scholl Athlete's Foot Cream
Daktacort and Canesten Hydrocortisone contain a steroid and an Antifungal and are formulated to be used where there is athlete's foot together with problem itching. The steroid used is hydrocortisone, which reduces itching and irritation. However, steroids reduce the body's natural defence mechanism, and so should not be used on their own in athlete's foot or healing will be delayed. Hence they are combined with an antifungal. They should not be used for longer than a week though, and so are not suitable to fully clear the infection, and a proper antifungal product should be used as continuation treatment, or the athlete's foot will not be cleared e.g. Daktacort Cream and Canesten Hydrocortisone Cream.
source from www.myphrmacy.co.uk