What Is Athlete’s Foot Disease?


Caused by a fungus named Trichophyton, this fungal infection called an Athlete’s foot mostly infects the upper skin layer of the foot. The fungus can affect the person if the skin conditions are right and will need a moist and warm environment for growth, like the inside of a shoe. For this reason, only 0.75% of people who walk barefoot are affected by the problem.


This common variant of fungal infection usually progresses between the toes. It results in stinging, burning, itching, and redness. It can also lead to flaking of the skin in some people. Even though the disease is contagious, it can be treated with OTC medication. However, people with a weakened immune system should consult a doctor in an affordable health clinic when an athlete’s foot develops.


Primary Catalysts Of Athlete’s Foot 

The fungus which leads to the progression of the athlete’s foot is closely related to other fungi which often infect the human nails, skin, and hair. However, under warm and moist conditions, the virus multiplies vigorously. Using tight shoes can trigger the condition as it can squeeze the toes together, resulting in ideal conditions for the virus to grow. As per the experts, using plastic shoes can more likely bring on the infection as it can moisten and warm the feet.


Both direct and indirect contact is equally capable of spreading this infection. Direct contact can happen when an uninfected person comes in contact with the infected area of a person with the disease. In indirect contact, the fungi can infect people from surfaces like clothing, shoes, towels, socks, bedsheets, etc that can be contaminated. It can spread around communal showers and swimming pools that are warm and humid.


Symptoms Of Athlete’s Foot 

When a person is infected, the skin on the foot can become itchy and there can also be a sensation of burning or stinging. The skin can also be dry, red, cracked, scaly, and flaky. The skin can crack and can result in itchy blisters, crusting, swelling, or oozing. Sometimes, bacterial infection can also occur with the infection. This is because severe athlete’s foot can lead to open sores that make the skin more vulnerable to bacteria.

The infection can spread from toe to toe when left untreated and in some rare cases, it can also spread to the hands. If you experience any symptoms of athlete’s foot, you need to visit a low income medical clinic in your area to get it diagnosed and treated.

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    About the Author

    Dr. Ghassan M. Al-Jazayrly, MD

    A graduate of University of Aleppo Faculty of Medicine, Dr. Al-Jazayrly or, as he is colloquially known: Dr. AJ, is an oncologist and hematologist of a Complete Care Community Health Center (CCCHC) with more than 36 years of experience. In recent years, he’s been involved with a non profit organization known as Every Woman Counts (EWC) which provides free breast and cervical cancer screening and diagnostic services to California’s underserved populations in order to eliminate health disparities for low-income individuals.

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