Do I Have Athletes Foot?
You may not have noticed before, but today when you were drying off after your shower you took the time to really dry between your toes and there it was: a small scaly patch with peeling skin. Blister? Psoriasis? Maybe, but more than likely you’ve developed athlete’s foot. This fungal infection is common and can affect anyone, athletic or not.
What Does It Look Like?
There are several types of this fungal infection, each with specific symptoms. Those small scaly patches, usually between your 4th and 5th toes, could indicate a toe web infection, where the skin peels and cracks can form. These areas may become further infected by bacteria and skin degeneration may occur. In a moccasin type infection, your foot may begin to hurt and the skin on your soles thickens and cracks. The infection can move to your toenails, which may become thick and crumbly and fall out. If fluid-filled blisters suddenly break out on the sole or other parts of your foot, you may have a vesicular type infection. This can lead to a bacterial infection in your foot.
With any of these types of infection, you may experience itching and stinging, or feel a burning sensation between your toes or on the sole of your foot. The area may also become red, a rash may form, or the skin may become very dry and cracked.
How to Treat Athletes Foot
You could try one of several over-the-counter creams, sprays, lotions, or powders designed to treat this condition. Make sure you wash and dry your feet thoroughly before applying them, and follow all directions carefully and faithfully for the best results. If you’ve tried home remedies and the problem persists or gets worse, it’s time to call My Chicago Foot Expert for an appointment. Dr. Stavros Alexopoulos will examine your foot and determine the best course of action. He may take a skin scraping to examine with a microscope, or send it to a lab for further analysis. This process will help to rule out other possible causes for your foot problem. If over-the-counter treatments are not giving you relief, he may prescribe stronger topical or oral medications. It is important to use or take these medicines as prescribed so that the infection is completely eradicated.
What You Can Do to Prevent Infection
Athlete’s foot is contagious, and you can pick up the fungus from contact with others who have the infection or with towels, linens, or moist areas where they have walked. The fungus is so prevalent that it is usually present on your skin most of the time, but only thrives in the right conditions: moist, warm, dark places. Wearing shoes and socks that don’t breathe gives it the ideal environment to grow. The most important thing you can do is to keep your feet clean and dry. Change your socks if your feet sweat, and alternate shoes so they can dry out completely before wearing again. Use a powder to keep your feet dry, and wear protective footwear when you are using public pools or gyms.
If all of your good habits, or home treatments have not been enough to stave off the infection, call My Chicago Foot Expert for help at (773) 561-8100. You can also schedule an appointment online. We provide excellent foot care in the Chicago area. Let us help your feet back to good health!