Athlete's foot is classified as a contagious fungal infection that affects the skin of the feet. Even though it is common in athletes, the infection can affect anyone. While surprising to learn, many people will develop athlete's foot at some point in time. Recent reports have shown an estimated 3 to 15 percent of the population have athlete's foot. It may be common, but most people do not really understand the infection. This guide will help you understand the signs and treatment options for athlete's foot.

Signs of Athlete's Foot

One of the first signs of athlete's foot is itchiness of the skin of the foot. You may experience the itchiness more in between and around the toes because the fungal growth will build up and spread in these areas first.

Stinging, burning, and overall pain and discomfort is also common if you have athlete's foot. This discomfort will increase over time, especially if you are constantly scratching your feet. Many people will also develop blisters on the feet.

The skin of your feet may also become dry and brittle. This dryness will eventually cause the skin to crack and peel, which can be even more uncomfortable.

Another sign of athlete's foot is a change in your actual toenails. The nails may appear dark yellow in color. They may also thicken and start to crumble. A severe case of athlete's foot may cause the toenails to pull away from the actual nail bed.

Treating Athlete's Foot

If you are experiencing any of the signs of athlete's foot, it is important to see your primary care doctor or a podiatrist quickly. Efficient treatment is not only necessary for relief, but also to protect the health of your skin.

Fortunately, there are many medications that can be purchased with or without a prescription.

Over-the-counter medications can be used topically to not only kill the underlying fungal growth, but to also reduce redness, inflammation, itchiness, and pain.

In more severe cases, doctors may prescribe a topical and oral anti-fungal medication that kills the fungus, stops it from spreading, and ease your pain and itchiness.

Prevention is your best weapon against athlete's foot, though. Try to keep your feet as dry as possible at all times. Do not share socks or flip flops with others. If you use a locker room or public shower/bath, wear shower shoes inside to protect your feet.

Living with athlete's foot is possible, but it can be uncomfortable. With proper understanding, you will know the signs, treatment options, and simple preventative measures.

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