Athlete's Foot

Athlete's Foot

What is athlete's foot?

Athlete's foot is a common fungal infection of the foot. It is often found between the toes, although it can spread to the rest of the foot, and sometimes to other parts of the body. It is also known as Tinea pedis or foot ringworm.

What causes athlete's foot?

We all have one or more of the fungi which cause athlete's foot living on our bodies. These fungi survive on dead skin cells found on the skin, nails and hair. They grow best in dark, damp places with poor ventilation. They are usually harmless, and don't cause athlete's foot unless conditions are right.

These conditions include having sweaty feet, wearing tight shoes, and wearing socks that don't absorb moisture. It is also extremely important to dry your feet properly after swimming or washing.

Is athlete's foot contagious?

Yes. Athlete's foot can be spread by skin-to-skin contact. It can also be spread indirectly, for example through using the towel of somebody with the condition.

While athlete's foot is often associated with swimming pools and gymnasiums, it is now thought to be quite difficult to pick up the condition simply by walking barefoot on a contaminated floor. However it is still possible, therefore precautions are needed.

What are the symptoms of athlete's foot?

Symptoms include:

How can I prevent athlete's foot?

What should I do if I suspect I have athlete's foot?

If you suspect you have athlete's foot, visit your doctor, so that he or she can determine the best course of treatment and rule out any other possible infections.

In the meantime, make sure you wash and dry your feet properly, and avoid tight or synthetic footwear.

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