Fungi are remarkable little organisms, multiplying more quickly and causing far more trouble than their size would indicate. When they attack your feet, they can make you miserable. These unwelcome guests can be hard to get rid of and sometimes return to attack you again. That’s why, if you notice symptoms of athlete’s foot, it is important to act quickly—before the infection becomes too established.
What Athlete’s Foot Looks Like
Some people can be exposed to the fungus and never develop the infection, and others may be infected but not show any symptoms. For most people, though, it will start with redness and scaly patches between the toes that spread and form a burning, itchy rash—or even cracked blisters that “weep.” If left untreated, these cracks may lead to a serious bacterial infection. Another type of the infection appears on the soles and up the sides of the feet as extremely dry skin with whitish lines and cracked, peeling skin. If you have any of these signs, it is best to have your feet checked at Abbott Foot & Ankle Clinic.
How to Treat the Infection
Preventing this condition in the first place is preferable. You can discourage the growth of the fungus by keeping your feet and your footwear clean and dry. Wash and dry your feet daily, and use a powder to keep them dry throughout the day. Wear socks that draw the moisture away from sweaty feet, and change them often if necessary. Choose shoes that breathe and have enough room for air to circulate around your toes. Having an extra pair of shoes to trade off each day is also helpful, so they can dry out completely before wearing again. We recommend sanitizing all your footwear (done right in our office while you wait) and using an antifungal spray in your shoes 2-3 times each week.
Antifungal sprays or creams usually work quite well to get rid of this infection. Re-infection is common, however, so it is important to continue the therapy as prescribed for an extended period after the fungus apparently goes away. Occasionally, we may recommend an oral anti-fungal medication, but this is not ideal as these drugs may have side effects and require monitoring of liver function. If you have athlete’s foot and your nails are also discoloured, you may have a fungal infection in the nails, which is more difficult to cure than fungal infections of the skin.
Persistence Is the Key
Treatment depends on the type and extent of the fungal infection, so it is important to consult us before choosing a therapy. Once you begin, you need to stick with it, following the prescribed procedures every day to make sure the fungus is totally eradicated. Otherwise it lurks there, just waiting to make a comeback.
Whether you are an athlete who picked up the fungus in the gym shower, or from sharing a towel with an infected family member, don’t put up with itchy, burning, painful toes. Call Abbott Foot & Ankle Clinic in Collingwood, ON, today at 705-444-9929, and give that fungus a knock-out punch.