Athlete’s foot or tinea pedis is a skin infection of the feet. While it usually affects any part of the foot, the fungal infection may also involve the spaces between the toes, the bottom of the foot, the nails, and the hands. A type of athlete’s foot is moccasin foot or plantar athlete’s foot, which is caused by Tinea rubrum.
Causes and Epidemiology
Fungus is the major cause of athlete’s foot. According to Health Line, the condition can be acquired through direct contact with an infected person or surfaces that are contaminated with the fungus. It also takes place when the tinea fungus grows on the feet, especially in warm and moist environments. Thus, it can be harbored in locker room floors, showers, and around swimming pools.
As per the publication, people who are at risk of having athlete’s foot include those who visit public places barefoot, including showers, swimming pools, and locker rooms; sharing of shoes, towels, and socks; wearing tight-fitting and closed-toe shoes; keeping the feet wet for a prolonged period; having sweaty feet; and having a small injury (like nail injury) on the foot.
According to EMedicine, tinea pedis stands as the world’s most common dermatophytosis and 70 percent of the population will have the disorder at one point. It does not choose a racial or ethnic group; however, it affects males more than females. In terms of age, the prevalence of the condition varies, with puberty as the life stage with the most incidences.
Signs and Symptoms
Athlete’s foot presents various signs and symptoms, which includes a scaly red rash, which usually starts in between the toes, as per Mayo Clinic. It is usually accompanied by itching, which is worst after the person takes off his shoes and socks. According to the publication, blisters and ulcers are also presenting signs of the skin condition, though the moccasin variant leads to chronic dryness and scaling on the soles. It usually stretches to the sides of the foot, which makes it appear similar to dry skin and eczema. The fungi can also affect the hand if the person scratches the infected parts.
While athlete’s foot can be managed with anti-fungal agents, home remedies can also be part of treatment.
Cornstarch is one solution for athlete’s foot. According to Everyday Roots, cornstarch absorbs moisture, which is a driving force behind the growth of the fungi. As per the publication, browning the cornstarch first is better, since it efficiently absorbs moisture. To prepare, the person may need half cup of cornstarch, warm water, mild soap, a clean soft towel, and an oven or stovetop. the oven is preheated to 325 degrees and half cup of cornstarch is poured onto a plate. The amount should be enough to cover the feet when rubbed on. The cornstarch is baked for a few minutes or until it becomes light brown in color. The cornstarch is rubbed onto the feet and toes and it is left on for five to ten minutes, before it is brushed off with a clean towel.
Tea tree oil is another agent for athlete’s foot. According to Best Health Mag, the oil of the Australian tea tree acts as an effective antiseptic, as it modifies the skin pH. This makes hard for the fungi to thrive, grow, and multiply. The oil can be mixed with olive oil and the resulting mixture is applied on the affected area two times a day. To added, the olive oil also makes the skin soft and tender, to facilitate its proper absorption.
Athlete’s foot is not as grave as other medical conditions like cancer, but proper medical attention is also important to increase the person’s comfort, state of health, and well-being.