Tinea Pedis is commonly referred to as Athlete’s Foot, although the condition can take other forms. Generally caused by a dermatophyte fungus, Tinea Pedis treatments involve targeting the Trichophyton (T.) Rubrum, T. Interdigitale and Epidermophyton Floccosum fungi. As these are the three most common forms of the condition, Tinea Pedis treatment which kills these fungi is usually successful.
Once Tinea Pedis treatment is commenced, patients usually begin to notice a decrease in their symptoms. Prior to treatment, however, individuals may experience a range of symptoms as a result of the condition. These can include:
Although Tinea Pedis usually affects the feet, it can also spread to the hands and nails in some cases. Whilst standard Tinea Pedis treatment can also be used on these areas, additional treatment may be required if the infection is particularly stubborn.
Dry skin on the feet is not uncommon, but the skin may take on a scaly appearance when Tinea Pedis is present. In addition to this, individuals may find it difficult to dry their feet prior to Tinea Pedis treatment, with the inter-digital spaces remaining moist. When this happens, the patient’s skin typically begins to peel.
Due to the impact of the fungus, the skin on the feet can become red and inflamed when Tinea Pedis is present. Although this should reduce once Tinea Pedis treatment has started, this may be particularly uncomfortable for patients.
Whilst pustules and blisters are not common symptoms of a Tinea Pedis fungal infection, they can occur. Patients may be more likely to develop blisters and pustules if they do not take action and begin Tinea Pedis treatment as quickly as possible.
Furthermore, patients may face further complications if the symptoms of Tinea Pedis cause their skin to break. When skin is broken or peeling, it is unable to prevent germs and bacteria from entering the body. Patients could, therefore, contract a secondary infection before undergoing Tinea Pedis treatment.
Tinea Pedis is highly contagious, which explains why it is such a common condition. Generally, Tinea Pedis is spread in a number of ways, such as:
If someone with Tinea Pedis walks barefoot, spores of the fungus are released on to the ground and surrounding areas. When another person walks in the same area, their foot is affected by the spores and they can contract the condition, subsequently requiring Tinea Pedis treatment. Similarly, having direct contact with someone who has Tinea Pedis may cause the fungus to spread.
As the fungus thrives in hot or moist environments, many people contract the infection whilst using gyms, swimming pools and showers. As spores can survive and multiply in these types of areas, people may require Tinea Pedis treatment if they contract the condition after being exposed to these areas.
Although Tinea Pedis is usually contracted from contact with an infected person, individuals may develop the condition if they have wet or sweaty feet. If feet aren’t properly washed and dried, it is possible for the fungus to take hold and Tinea Pedis may occur. Due to this, athletes and exercise enthusiasts are particularly prone to Tinea Pedis, as they often spend a significant amount of time wearing trainers and sports shoes whilst they are working out. If the feet are unable to breathe and the individual sweats for a long period of time, Tinea Pedis may be more likely to occur.
In addition to this, existing injuries can enable the fungus to spread on to the skin. If someone has a cut on the skin of their foot, for example, the fungus may spread and Tinea Pedis treatment may be required.
Tinea Pedis treatment is generally fairly straightforward and may involve the following methods:
Individuals can purchase over-the-counter treatments, but they should have their condition diagnosed by a physician or podiatrist before they attempt to implement Tinea Pedis treatment themselves. These treatments are applied to the affected area and normally take the form of a cream or lotion, although powders may also be used in some instances.
If patients are unable to obtain relief using over-the-counter medications, prescription-strength topical solutions may be required. These are stronger than over-the-counter lotions and may, therefore, be more effective.
As well as using prescription solutions as a form of Tinea Pedis treatment, patients may also benefit from topical steroid medications. These can help to reduce the inflammation associated with Tinea Pedis and minimize the patient’s symptoms. Although steroid medication will not remove the infection itself, it can help to reduce the patient’s symptoms and relieve their pain and discomfort.
Generally, topical solutions work well as a form of Tinea Pedis treatment and most patients will find that their condition is fully resolved after this type of treatment. In most cases, regular applications of solution are required and patients should ensure they finish the course of treatment so that the fungus does not remain in or on the skin. If topical solutions are ineffective, however, oral anti-fungal medications may also be prescribed.
Similarly, if patients contract a secondary infection due to broken skin caused by their condition, they may be prescribed oral antibiotics in order to combat the additional infection.
Once the condition is present, Tinea Pedis treatment can’t be prevented. The condition will not reduce or diminish over time and the patient’s symptoms may worsen if they delay treatment. It may be possible for patients to prevent Tinea Pedis from occurring, however.
If individuals are careful not to share spaces with people who have Tinea Pedis, they reduce the risk of contracting the fungal infection. Using appropriate shoes at the gym, swimming pool and in showers can help to prevent the spread of Tinea Pedis, for example. Similarly, individuals should avoid having direct, skin-to-skin contact with anyone who has an active Tinea Pedis infection, even if they are undergoing Tinea Pedis treatment.
In addition to this, individuals should ensure that they are wearing appropriate footwear at all times and that their choice of footwear is not too restrictive. If feet become sweaty, individuals should wash them as soon as possible and ensure that the feet are kept dry at all times. By doing so, individuals may be able to prevent a fungal infection from occurring and reduce the need for Tinea Pedis treatment.