Athlete’s foot is a term often used to describe a common fungal skin infection found on the feet.
Athlete’s foot is caused by a tinea fungus that grows on or in the top layer of skin. Fungi (plural of fungus) grow best in warm, wet places, such as the area between the toes and can spread easily to other areas of the foot. The area between the fourth and fifth toes is usually the most common area affected, with soft, moist skin that peels and flakes off very easily. Often when the skin splits, it is uncomfortable and often accompanied by an unpleasant odour.
Patients usually complain of a very itchy area which is at its most severe immediately after removing footwear and socks. It is usually accompanied by a scaly, red rash commonly found between the toes. If left untreated, the area can become very sore, the skin may peel, and it may also fissure.
Will it go away by itself?
It is very possible that it can go away on its own, but if untreated, skin blisters and cracks caused by athlete’s foot can lead to fissures and sometimes severe bacterial infections. In some types of athlete’s foot, the toenails may be infected as well. All types of athlete’s foot can be treated, but symptoms often return after treatment if the cause is not addressed.
How do you get rid of it?
Treatment depends on the type and the severity of the infection. In many cases, it is easily treated at home using an over the counter antifungal cream, which kills or slows the growth of the fungus. If it does not resolve, then a podiatrist will be able to assess and determine a treatment plan including different steps you can take in order to prevent this from occurring again.