Auteur: Podiatre Montreal
Athlete’s foot (tinea pedis) causes burning, itching and irritation of the skin below the foot and between the toes. It is one of the most common foot conditions we treat. It is a contagious infection that is usually caused by a fungus. If left untreated, in addition to the possibility of affecting others, athlete’s foot can also affect other areas of your body. Most (but not all) cases of athlete’s foot can be treated at home. However, if the infection persists, you may need to see a Podiatrist. Montreal’s Podiatry Clinic can easily treat the most stubborn cases of athlete’s foot.
What caused your athlete’s foot?
Athlete’s foot does not occur spontaneously; you must be exposed to catch it. Places that could make you susceptible to athlete’s foot include gyms, locker rooms, baths, swimming pools and nail salons.
Wearing dirty shoes or socks belonging to someone else can also expose you to the fungus. Generally, it is caused by walking barefoot on a surface that someone with this condition has also walked on barefoot. Some people are more susceptible to the infection than others. The fungus grows in warm, moist environments. Wearing sandals or water shoes in high-risk areas can protect you.
What are the common symptoms of athlete’s foot?
Some people have no symptoms or mild symptoms such as dry skin on the soles of their feet. The most unpleasant symptoms include itching, burning and scaling between the toes and on the soles of the feet. More serious infections cause cracked skin, bleeding and pain. You may also see redness or a rash on the soles of your feet. Occasionally, you may notice blisters or thick patches of reddish skin. If you scratch your feet, you can spread the infection to your hand, possibly causing a rash or itching on your hands.
What are the most common self-treatment methods for athlete’s foot?
The first step is to make infection impossible, and that means keeping feet clean and dry. Over-the-counter antifungal creams should be applied in the evening. If you prefer a more traditional approach, you can try soaking your feet in mild vinegar. Breathable socks that wick away moisture and sterilized shoes are also helpful. For a detailed guide on how to treat athlete’s foot yourself, read our self-treatment plan by clicking here.
When should I consult us for athlete’s foot treatment?
If you have tried to treat yourself for two weeks or more and have not experienced significant improvement, you need professional treatment. If you have itching, blisters or other skin disorders on your feet that persist, contact us today to come and see us at our podiatry clinic in Montreal. If you encounter any of the following circumstances, do not delay in contacting us for diagnosis and treatment :
- Self-treatment does not work.
- Itching does not get better or worse.
- The infected area is expanding.
- The infection has spread to the toenails.
- You have a nail fungus too.
The same fungus causes both athlete’s foot and a fungal nail infection. These disorders must be treated at the same time, by addressing both the nails and the skin around the toes and feet. This often requires stronger medications that you can’t get without a prescription.
How will we diagnose athlete’s foot?
The first step is to confirm that you really do have athlete’s foot and not another skin condition that has similar symptoms. A physical examination of your feet will usually allow us to make a diagnosis. If it is possible that it is another condition, we may send a skin sample from your feet (obtained by skin scraping) to a laboratory to test for the type of fungal infection. This test will help us to determine the best treatment option for a rapid healing of the infection.
How do we treat athlete’s foot?
The severity of your infection and your level of discomfort will determine how long you will be treated. Here is an overview of what your treatment may include:
- Topical prescription drugs. These are more powerful and more effective than over-the-counter medications.
- Shoe sterilization – We can also give you a prescription or recommend products to kill the fungus inside your shoes.
- Risk factors – We treat all the underlying problems that would cause the fungus to return. For example, excessive sweating is a risk factor for which medications can be prescribed to limit sweating.
- Associated problems – We will treat all associated conditions. For example, if you have a bacterial infection in addition to a fungal infection, this must also be treated.
- Preventive care – We will show you some techniques to prevent the problem from coming back.
Don’t wait for treatment. If your feet are itchy or if you have skin problems on your feet, contact us today to schedule an appointment.2021