Learn about the causes of Athlete's Foot & find a practitioner in Auckland, Hamilton, Bay of Plenty, Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin to help you overcome Athlete's Foot within New Zealand.
Athlete's foot is a fungal infection often found between the toes but can occur anywhere on the foot. It is caused by cracks or broken skin on the foot becoming infected with a fungus. It is a contagious disease and symptoms include dry, itchy skin and a burning or stinging sensation.
Causes of athlete's foot
Athlete's foot, known medically as tinea pedis, is a fungal infection
of the feet caused by a fungi called dermatophytes. In certain
conditions, organisms found naturally on the foot multiply and cause
the skin to become infected. Dermatophytes are parasitic and feed off
these organisms to stay alive. The warm, dark and humid conditions of
the feet provide an ideal location for dermatophytes to grow.
The fungal infection can be spread by direct skin to skin contact or through indirect contact from contaminated clothing, towels or from swimming pools and communal showers/changing rooms. As such, athlete's foot is a contagious condition.
Athlete's foot commonly affects males and in particular those who play sport. This is due to infections being passed on through places where people are likely to walk bare foot such as showers and changing rooms. Sport also creates warm and moist skin around the feet which helps the fungi to grow. Sportsmen and sportswomen are also likely to wear tight-fitting training shoes which again encourages fungal growth.
Symptoms of athlete's foot
The common symptom of athlete's foot is a rash in-between the toes
which is itchy, scaly, red, dry and flaky. Other symptoms may include
cracked skin, oozing blisters, swelling of the skin or a burning
If the rash is severe, the skin can crack exposing raw and painful soft tissue leading to a secondary bacterial infection such as Cellulitis which in turn can result in blood poisoning.
The rash typically appears between the fourth and fifth toes and if untreated can spread to the underside of the feet or the toenails (which will become and dry and start to crumble). Touching or scratching the infected skin and then touching other areas of the body may cause the infection to spread there too.
Should athlete's foot spread to the hands, the resulting fungal infection is called tinea manuum. Symptoms are similar to athlete's foot with the palms and sides of the fingers commonly affected. If both athlete's foot and tinea manuum are treated, symptoms will typically last between one and ten days. Untreated, both conditions can last for many months.
Diagnosis of athlete's foot
Athlete's foot is usually a minor infection and self-diagnosis and treatment is possible. Should the condition not respond to over-the-counter remedies then you should visit your GP who may take a skin sample to determine the exact fungus that is causing the infection. Once this has been identified an appropriate treatment will be offered.