Athlete’s Foot Treatment Nashville, TN
Care For Athlete's Foot - Memphis, TN
How to Recognize and How to Treat
What Is Athlete’s Foot?
Athlete’s foot is a common problem, especially in teens. (It’s rare before puberty). It is caused by various kinds of fungus. No, not a mushroom! But like mushrooms, these organisms love moist, warm environments. Just like, you guessed it, inside our sweaty shoes. Hey, maybe there’s something to that name, athlete’s foot. Who has the sweatiest feet but athletes working out and playing sports? While it is true that athlete’s foot is frequent among athletes, this condition can happen in just about anyone. And for some unfortunate folks, it can lead to even the most serious of health consequences.
Symptoms Of Athlete’s Foot
Cracked or peeling, itchy, white and maybe crumbly superficial skin. Often the underlying and surrounding skin is reddened. Blisters may form. Characteristically, the areas between and under the toes are most, and first, affected. Sometimes, it affects the soles of the feet, and the skin over the heels can get thick with large deep cracks and fissures. Unfortunately, once the foot is infected with fungus, the cracks and wounds can lead to acute bacterial infection. Sometimes even the smallest cracks can open the protective barrier we rely on. Bacterial infection is often painful, warm to the touch, and angry red, and sometimes leaks fluids or pus. Toenails involvement can occur as another infection site for these fungi.
How Is Athlete’s Foot Diagnosed?
Your doctor may perform testing such as a KOH prep, which involves scraping some of the affected area to place on a slide, treat it with a few drops of a special solution, and look at it under a microscope. A major advantage of the KOH preparation is the rapid availability of results, as the test can be performed by the evaluating clinician. Fungal culture is an alternative, albeit slower, method for diagnosis.
Tinea pedis is the medical term for athlete’s foot. The medical names of some common fungi involved are Trichophyton Rubrum, Trichophyton Interdigitale (formerly Trichophyton Mentagrophytes), and Epidermophyton Floccosum. You can easily get exposed to these organisms by walking with bare feet in locker rooms or swimming pools, or any crowded conditions with bare feet. Athletic facilities are a big source of spread. We all know how hot and humid Memphis gets. Living in Memphis is definitely a risk-factor! Other predisposing factors may include diabetes mellitus, seen often in the Memphis population (worth checking for if you get any fungal infection including athletes foot), and the wearing of occlusive footwear (causing that moist wet environment fungus loves).
Treatment and Prevention of Athlete’s Foot
There are many treatments available over the counter as well as by prescription. Anyone suffering from this condition should strive to keep their feet nice and dry. Even non-medicated foot powders can help with this, especially for prevention. Changing socks immediately if they become sweaty is a great preventive measure, and a must when you are dealing with symptomatic infection.
When you have a symptomatic case, medication treatment is usually required. Medication is very beneficial for getting faster relief of even the mildest case. Spray-on foot powder is often popular, as it is easy to apply. Names of some of the medications used include nystatin, tolnaftate, terbinafine, and clotrimazole. These ingredients are often used in name-brand products by different names. Generally, the generic versions work just as well. Ignore the big name on the package, and look at the active ingredients. Terbinafine cream or gel is often highly effective. Some severe cases need or may benefit from oral medication. Your doctor may recommend this and provide a prescription. These days, many busy people prefer a quick telemedicine consultation to confirm their condition and to get professional advice on their treatment.
Should You See A Doctor For Athlete’s Foot?
An uncomplicated case where you know what you are dealing with is often just fine to treat with over-the-counter medications. If you don’t know what you are dealing with, well. . . that’s one of the main reasons we need doctors. For proper diagnosis!
Patients with open wounds, and patients with diabetes or peripheral vascular disease, should most probably see their podiatrist or other health care provider. And certainly, if there is any concern that the skin affected by athlete’s foot has been infected with bacteria (warm, red, painful, pus, drainage, open wounds and fever are all symptoms of this) should visit (or televisit) a doctor right away for diagnosis and proper therapy. Treatments for bacterial complications like cellulitis range from topical antibiotics up to hospital admission for IV antibiotics, depending on severity and patient risk factors. Athlete’s foot may be just a nuisance for most, but in some patients it is the first step in a process that can lead to non-healing wounds, cellulitis, deeper foot infection, and even amputation and death. Proper foot care is especially essential for those with diabetes and those with vascular disease.