Athlete’s foot is a fungal infection of the skin occurring mostly on the feet. It can be caused by several fungus types, some of them already live on healthy skin but do not become a problem until they multiply.
Causes & Sources
An infection usually occurs via contact – walking barefoot in public places like changing rooms, showers and swimming pools are common sites for picking up fungi.
Also, the condition of the feet can increase the likelihood of an infection. Fungal infections mostly occur on moist feet, especially between the toes.
But it is only moisture that is a hotbed for fungi. Athlete’s foot can also occur on dry and flaky skin due to a lack of natural protective oils. Untreated, athlete’s foot can spread, infect the whole foot and even the toenails. It is also possible that it spreads to other areas of the body.
How to recognize athlete’s foot
Large areas of the skin on the foot are red with a fine powdery scaly coating. The thickness of the sole skin may also increase.
Intense itching and burning are common symptoms, and the skin may peel and appear cracked in some cases. Blisters may develop in rare cases, filled with pus. It may affect either small areas or the whole foot.
An untreated fungal infection may lead to secondary diseases, as other germs can enter the skin and lead to purulent abscesses for example. Also, yeast fungi can enter the skin and lead to painful skin alterations.
Untreated athlete’s foot can spread, infect the toenails and even the whole foot. On top of that it is possible that the fungal infection spreads to other parts of the body.