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Facts About Athlete's Foot - Causes, Symptoms and Triggers

Nithya Venkat is a skin care enthusiast who loves to research and write about topics that involves all aspects of skin care.

Taking good care of your feet can prevent Athlete's Foot

Taking good care of your feet can prevent Athlete's Foot

Athlete’s Foot is a skin condition that affects the soles of the feet and the skin between the toes. It is a condition that is caused by a fungus and can spread to any other part of the body.

Athlete’s Foot can spread from person to person through contact with contaminated floors or objects. It can also spread from person to person by direct contact.

What Causes Athlete’s Foot

Athlete’s Foot is caused by a fungus called Trichophyton rubrum. Trichophyton rubrum belongs to a group of fungus called Dermatophytes. Dermatophytes are parasitic fungi that live by feeding off other organisms. Trichophyton rubrum grows and multiplies in warm and moist conditions.

Symptoms of Athlete's Foot

Athlete's Foot is characterized by the following symptoms -

  • itching, burning, or stinging sensation
  • development of rashes
  • oozing blisters
  • watery discharge
  • foul odor
  • soggy white skin

The skin may become dry, flaky, red, or scaly and develop cracks. In extreme cases, the skin may develop deep fissures that can be very painful. Germs can easily enter through these cracks and cause infection and inflammation of the skin.

Toenails may become thick and colored, or they may become very brittle when the foot is infected.

Athlete’s Foot Triggers

  1. Wearing tight-fitting shoes that cramp the toes
  2. Plastic shoes that make the feet hot and sweaty
  3. Wearing damp socks
  4. Direct contact with the skin of a person infected with Athlete’s Foot
  5. Indirect contact when a person comes in contact with things already exposed to the fungus. For example, infected clothing, socks, shoes, bedsheets, towels, swimming pool floors, communal showers
  6. People with a weak immune system can easily be infected with the fungus causing Athlete’s Foot

Athlete's Foot - In A Glance

  • Athlete’s Foot is a skin condition that affects the soles of the feet and the skin between the toes
  • it is a condition caused by a fungus called Trichophyton rubrum
  • warm, moist conditions are best suited for the fungus to grow
  • Athlete’s Foot can spread from person to person through direct contact
  • with proper care and hygiene Athlete's Foot can be cured
  • there are over the counter medicines that are effective to kill the fungus
  • if symptoms persist, contact your doctor
  • if you have diabetes, the infection may take a long time to leave the body system
  • proper-fitting shoes and breathable socks are essential if you have Athlete's Foot
  • wear clean socks and air shoes regularly to prevent a fungal infection

How to take care

  1. Keep your feet clean and dry.
  2. Avoid touching any other part of your body after touching the infected area.
  3. Wear properly fitting shoes and socks that can breathe.
  4. Make sure your feet are dry before putting on socks, stockings, or tights.
  5. Wear cotton socks that will absorb sweat and keep your feet dry.
  6. Use anti-fungal powder before wearing your socks.
  7. Please do not wear the same shoes every day; alternate shoes and air them out.
  8. Spray the insides of shoes with anti-fungal spray to kill any infection.
  9. Disinfect shoes thoroughly after the infection is cured.

Applying Medication to Infected Feet

Before applying any medication to the infected area, make sure that your hands are clean and dry.

Apply the medicine for a few days after the symptoms of the infection have disappeared. This helps to make sure that the fungal infection is fully cured.

Make sure to wash your hands with soap after applying the medication.

How To Prevent Athlete's Foot

  • Do not share soap bars or towels
  • Use clean, dry towels
  • Wash sheets and blankets regularly
  • Remove your shoes immediately after a workout
  • Air out your shoes after removing them
  • Do not share footwear
  • Do not wear plastic footwear
  • Wear sandals while walking near swimming pools or while showering before getting into the pool

When you go bowling, carry a small bottle of an anti-fungal spray. Spray inside the bowling shoes before wearing them.

Athlete's Foot is easier to prevent than cure; wearing clean and dry socks and properly fitting shoes will help to prevent Athlete's Foot to a great extent.


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This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2014 Nithya Venkat


Nithya Venkat (author) from Dubai on October 30, 2016:

FlourishAnyway your so right! Keep shoes out in the sun to keep it dry and prevent infection.

FlourishAnyway from USA on October 30, 2016:

This is a good reason to wear different shoes every day. Yuck.

Nithya Venkat (author) from Dubai on January 07, 2015:

tillsontitan thank you for reading and the vote ups. Many people do not get athlete's foot and am glad you never got it.

Mary Craig from New York on January 07, 2015:

I have, fortunately, never had athlete's foot nor known anyone who had it. Does that make me a surprising statistic?

Anyway, this was a good look at athlete's foot with some good instructions about how to avoid and/or treat it.

Voted up, useful, and interesting.

Nithya Venkat (author) from Dubai on January 06, 2015:

Paul Kuehn thank you for reading, vote and share. Am glad that this condition does not trouble you anymore. Take care.

Paul Richard Kuehn from Udorn City, Thailand on January 06, 2015:

I had athletes foot for many years in my life until it got to the point I had to go to a dermatologist for treatment. He put me on Lamasil oral pills and after three months the fungal infection was cleared up. Since living in a hot climate in Thailand where I seldom wear socks, my feet are dry and athletes foot hasn't returned to me. Voted up as interesting and useful and sharing with HP followers.

Nithya Venkat (author) from Dubai on June 16, 2014:

FlourishAnyway thank you and am glad you found this useful.

FlourishAnyway from USA on June 15, 2014:

This is useful information on an unpleasant condition. I understand that oftentimes athlete's foot and toenail fungus occur together. Yuck.

Nithya Venkat (author) from Dubai on May 27, 2014:

Midget38 thank you.

Midget38 on May 27, 2014:

Thanks for this!! Thank goodness I'm not prone to Athlete's Foot. Sharing.

Nithya Venkat (author) from Dubai on May 20, 2014:

ChitrangadaSharan thank you and yes it can take a long time to get cured.

Alicia C thank you, yes it is an unpleasant condition and can get worse if left untreated. Thank you for your visit.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on May 19, 2014:

Thanks for sharing the useful information, Vellur. Athlete's foot is an unpleasant condition, so it's good to know how to prevent and treat it.

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on May 19, 2014:

Very useful information shared by you, which will help many to deal with this problem. I know this is very painful and needs lot of care and attention. It takes a long time to get cured too, since we can not avoid using our foot or wearing shoes.

Thanks for sharing!

Nithya Venkat (author) from Dubai on May 19, 2014:

DDE thank you and am glad you understood.

billybuc thank you, it is very painful and just might take a long time to go.

always exploring airing out shoes definitely helps, thank you for stopping by.

Jackie Lynnley am glad you never faced this condition, thank you for stopping by.

Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on May 18, 2014:

I have never been faced with this thankfully but I had no idea all there is to know about it so thank you. I will certainly share all this knowledge with my family. ^

Ruby Jean Richert from Southern Illinois on May 18, 2014:

I had this once from a swimming pool. It is really difficult to get rid of. I didn't know about spraying the shoes or airing them outside. Thank you for the new info..

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on May 18, 2014:

Good information my friend. I had it way back in high school and it was no fun for sure.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on May 18, 2014:

I knew about athletes foot when my close friend had it at school and at that time did not quite understand it. Over the years, I heard and read more and now I have become more familiar from this hub. An excellent hub.

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