Treating Athletes Foot

By: pilkster
Athletes foot is a common but rather unpleasant condition which affects the feet of anybody, not just athletes. It is a fungal infection, and one which can cause considerable damage and pain at its most severe. At its most minor, it is an unsightly irritant which can cause itching and dry eczema-like scaling of the skin. At its worst it can be a burning inflammation of the skin riddled with open sores and pustules. Doesn't sound pleasant, does it?

Athletes foot got its name primarily because it can be most common among athletes. There are a couple of reasons for this. Firstly, the fungi which cause this infection (Epidermophyton or Trichophyton) favour warmth and moisture, much in the same way as all fungi. And what could be hotter and moister than an athletes foot?

Secondly, the fungi is contagious, and given the tendency of athletes to share facilities such as locker rooms, changing rooms, showers and the like, all walked on in bare feet, this can be an absolute breeding ground, thus the name stuck.

Normally, a small amount of these fungi will live on our feet without a problem, but given the opportunistic nature of fungi, if conditions improve for them, they won't waste it and will multiply mercilessly and heighten the risk of it developing into athletes foot. The best ways to ensure your feet don't become fungi heaven are to:

- Wash your feet regularly and change your socks regularly. Used socks contain fungi which feed off the dead skin cells.

- Dry your feet properly. You don't want to encourage the fungi to grow by leaving you feet damp.

- Try to let your feet get some air. If you're feet sweat, once again, you are providing the fungi with exactly what it needs.

- Don't walk on floors with your bare feet. If others are walking barefoot and have athletes foot, you're liable to get it.

The treatment is very simple. You may not even require a visit to your doctors, but just a trip to the chemist to purchase any number of products such as anti-fungal creams and ointments specially designed for athletes foot. Even the worst of conditions should clear up by no more than a month. If you're feet don't clear up after using an off the shelf treatment, you will need to see your doctor to tell him what you tried and what didn't work, and they will provide you with something stronger.
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