Athlete’s foot is one of the most common foot-related health problems. In fact, about 70% of people will develop athlete’s foot at some point during their life. At Colorado Foot and Ankle Sports Medicine in Parker, Colorado, double-board certified podiatrist Kevin Blue, DPM, FACFAS, provides diagnosis and treatment of athlete’s foot. To schedule an appointment, call the office or book a consultation online today.
Athlete’s foot is a fungal infection that affects the skin on top of the feet and between the toe. Trichophyton is the fungus that causes athlete’s foot. It’s highly contagious and usually found on floors and in clothing.
Most of the time, athlete’s foot responds to treatment with over-the-counter ointments and lotions. However, if you have a weakened immune system or diabetes, you’re more likely to experience severe complications. As a result, it’s important to seek professional medical help.
Athlete’s foot causes the skin between your toes to become irritated and itchy. As the fungal infection progresses, your skin may also become:
As your skin cracks, you might also notice oozing pus or the formation of blisters.
If your athlete’s foot is severe, you’re also at risk of developing a bacterial infection. A bacterial infection can spread from toe to toe, increasing your risk of more serious complications.
If you want to lower your risk of athlete’s foot, it’s important to keep your feet, shoes, and socks dry at all times.
Dr. Blue also recommends:
Washing your feet twice each day
If you spend time at public pools or inside locker rooms, you should also make sure to wear sandals or another type of footwear at all times. This prevents direct contact with the fungus that causes athlete’s foot.
To diagnose athlete’s foot, Dr. Blue carefully observes your feet and toes, looking for signs of redness, cracked skin, or general irritation. He also orders laboratory tests to rule out other conditions that present similar symptoms like psoriasis or a skin infection.
Lastly, Dr. Blue conducts a test called skin lesion potassium hydroxide. He scrapes a sample of infected skin from between your toes and places it in potassium hydroxide. This solution destroys human tissue cells but leaves fungal cells intact. Dr. Blue looks at your sample under a microscope to determine if you have athlete’s foot.
If you have a mild case of athlete’s foot, Dr. Blue might recommend treatment with an over-the-counter ointment or lotion. More serious cases may require prescription medications. Depending on your symptoms, Dr. Blue might recommend an antifungal spray, powder, cream, or liquid.
If your athlete’s foot doesn’t respond to topical medications, you might benefit from an oral antifungal medication. There are several types of oral antifungals, including griseofulvin, itraconazole, and terbinafine.
To explore your treatment options for athlete’s foot, schedule an appointment at Colorado Foot and Ankle Sports Medicine. Call the office to speak with a friendly team member or book a consultation online today.