Athlete's Foot - Cause
Athlete's foot (tinea pedis) is a fungal infection of theskin of the foot. Most athlete's foot is caused by one of two types of fungus. * Trichophyton mentagrophytes often causes toe web or vesicular (blisterlike) infections. The infection appears suddenly, is severe, and is easily treated. * Trichophyton rubrum often causes moccasin-type infections. This condition lasts for a long time (chronic) and is difficult to treat. You get athlete’s foot when you come in contact with the fungus and it begins to grow on your skin. Fungi commonly grow on or in the top layer of human skin and may or may not cause infections. Fungi grow best in warm, moist areas, such as the area between the toes. Athlete's foot is easily spread (contagious). You can get it by touching the affected area of a person who has it. More commonly, you pick up the fungi from damp, contaminated surfaces, such as the floors in public showers or locker rooms. Although athlete's foot is contagious, some people are more likely to get it (susceptible) than others. Susceptibility may increase with age. Experts don't know why some people are more likely to get it. After you have had athlete's foot, you are more likely to get it again. If you come in contact with the fungi that cause athlete's foot, you can spread the fungi to others, whether you get the infection or not. How you treat athlete's foot (tinea pedis) depends on its type and severity. Most cases of athlete's foot can be treated at home using an antifungal medicine to kill the fungus or slow its growth. * Nonprescription antifungals usually are used first. These include terbinafine (Lamisil AT), miconazole(Micatin), clotrimazole (Lotrimin AF), and tolnaftate (Tinactin). Nonprescription antifungals are applied to the skin (topical medicines). * Prescription antifungals may be tried if nonprescription medicines are not successful or if you have a severe infection. Some of these medicines are topical antifungals, which are put * directly on the skin. Examples include naftifine (Naftin), butenafine (Mentax), and clotrimazole. Prescription antifungals can also be taken as a pill, which are called oral antifungals. Examples of oral antifungals include terbinafine (Lamisil),itraconazole (Sporanox), and fluconazole(Diflucan). For severe athlete's foot that doesn't improve, your doctor may prescribe oral antifungal medicine (pills). Oral antifungal pills are used only for severe cases because they are expensive and require periodic testing for dangerous side effects. Athlete's foot can return even after antifungal pill treatment. Although your symptoms may decrease or stop shortly after you begin using antifungal medicine, it is important to complete the full course of medicine. This increases the chance that athlete's foot will not return. Reinfection is common, and athlete's foot needs to be fully treated each time symptoms develop. Toe web infections
Toe web (interdigital) infections occur between the toes, especially between the fourth and fifth toes. This is the most common type of athlete's foot infection. * Treat mild to moderate toe web infections by keeping your feet clean and dry and using nonprescription antifungal creams or lotions. * If a severe infection develops, your doctor may prescribe a combination of topical antifungal creams plus either oral or topical antibiotic medicines. Moccasin-type athlete's foot infection
Moccasin-type athlete's foot causes scaly, thickened skin on the sole and heel of the...