Today in Health & Wellness
HEALTH CONDITIONS
Athlete's Foot
Overview
Symptoms
Risk Factors
Commonly Prescribed Drugs
Treatment and Management
Home Remedies
Doctors to Consult
Overview

Common Name/Other Name

Alipunga (Fil.), Tinea pedis

Athlete's foot is a common condition caused by fungi called dermatophytes. These fungi thrive in warm, moist environments such as in places such as gyms, locker rooms, nail salons and clothing. Athlete's foot is contagious and may be transferred thru person to person contact. Moist or sweaty socks and shoes also encourage fungi to grow because it feeds on keratin, a protein found in nails, skin and hair. It can spread to your hands or other parts of the body if you scratch or pick at the infected parts of the feet.

It must be treated properly otherwise athlete's foot can be very stubborn. If left untreated, it may lead to bacterial infection which can cause foul smelling feet. Infection may also spread to one or more toenails causing disfigurement or worse, total destruction of the nails.

Symptoms
  • Soles of the feet are itching, burning and peeling
  • Blisters and rash at the bottom of the feet
Risk Factors
You are at higher risk of contracting athlete's foot if you:
  • Frequently wear damp socks or tight-fitting shoes.
  • Share mats, clothes or shoes with someone who has fungal infection.
  • Have a weak immune system.
  • Walk barefoot in public areas where infection may spread like communal shower rooms, swimming pools, saunas etc.
Commonly Prescribed Drugs
Antifungal cream and washes that contain miconazole, econazole, clotrimazole, terbinafine, and ketoconazole.
Treatment and Management
  • Keep feet dry and clean at all times by using powder, cotton socks, and open shoes.
  • Avoid walking barefoot in public places where there is a high possibility of contracting athlete's foot. Wear slippers or sandals to avoid contamination.
  • Bring personal instruments when going to the nail salon.
  • Wear cotton shocks that can absorb sweat and shoes that fit right with enough room for the feet to "breathe".
  • Avoid sharing shoes, socks or towels.
  • If possible, don't wear the same pair of shoes two days in a row to give the shoes time to air out and dry out.

 

Health Tips

  • Be extra cautious if you take an antibiotic. It can kill beneficial bacteria that normally control the fungus and may cause your athlete's foot to worsen.
  • Do not scrape off or tear flaking skin. It may cause the healthy skin to break and spread the infection.

Consult a doctor if:

  • The infection is spreading.
  • There are noticeable signs of bacterial infection such as increased pain, tenderness, redness or heat.
  • There is a discharge of pus.
  • It is accompanied by fever.
  • You have diabetes.
  • The symptoms do not improve after 2 weeks of treatment.
Home Remedies
  • Vinegar soaks. Soak feet in one part vinegar and tree parts water.
  • Clorox soaks. Bathe or soak feet in one bathtub of water with 1/4 cup of Clorox.
  • Rub cornstarch. Leave for 5-10 minutes and brush off with a clean towel. This will help absorb moisture on the feet.
  • Povidone/Iodine Soak. Mix a portion of Betadine with warm water and soak your feet two times a day for 20 minutes each. Dry completely afterwards.
  • Hydrogen Peroxide (Agua Oxigenada) Soak. Mix a pint of hydrogen peroxide into a gallon of clean, lukewarm water. Soak your feet every morning and night for 30 minutes as needed. Dry completely.
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