Athlete's Foot is an infection of the skin caused by a fungus. Fungus is always living on our skin. Most of the time, this fungus is held in check by our immune system. Occasionally, however, when con ditions are right, the fungus can overwhelm our natural defenses and flare up, by either rapidly reproducing on the surface of the skin or by infecting tiny scapes or tears in the skin.
The most common symptoms of Athlete's Foot are redness with itching. Flaking skin on the bottom of the foot. Some forms of athlete's foot cause moist, white, peeling skin between the toes or small fluid-filled blisters on the arch. Other symptoms including burning and odor. if untreated, athlete's foot can contribute to fungal infection of the toenails and secondary bacterial skin infections. Even with diligent treatment some people are vulnerable to recurrences.
In addition to good foot hygiene, treatment of athlete's foot requires medication. Seventy to 80 percent of athlete's foot infections respond to topical , over-the-counter treatments. A doctor's care may be needed for stubborn cases of athlete's foot(those that do not respond to treatment within one or two weeks). He or she may run diagnostic lab tests to confirm the diagnosis and to decide if treatment with prescription medication is necessary.
Sloughing, or peeling skin between the toes can be a sign of a particularly stubborn form of athlete's foot that involves a bacterial infection as well as a fungal infection. This form is most commonly seen between the fourth and fifth toes. Treatment is the same as that for opther athlete's foot outbreaks: wash and thoroughly dry the feet and apply an antifugal powder on a daily basis.In some cases, placing swatches of cotton or lamb's wool between the toes is also helpful. Keeping the areas between the toes as dry as possible will promote healing.Sufferers should see a doctor if an outbreak does not respond within two weeks. A priscription medication may be required.