Athlete's foot fungus is the term used to describe a fungal infection of the skin on the foot. The scientific name for the fungus that causes athlete’s foot is tinea pedis.
Tinea pedis is an infection of the foot caused by a microscopic fungus that lives on dead tissue of the hair, toenails, and outer skin layers (dermatophyte). These fungi thrive in warm, moist environments such as shoes, stockings, and the floors of public showers, locker rooms, and swimming pools.
Athlete's foot is transmitted through contact with a cut or abrasion on the bottom (plantar surface) of the foot. In rare cases, the fungus is transmitted from infected animals to humans.
Dermatophyte (skin) infections cause raised, circular pimples or blisters that resemble the lesions caused by ringworm. The infections are named for the part of the body they infect; therefore, tinea pedis refers to an infection of the feet.
Athlete's foot is the most common type of fungal infection. Prevalence of the condition is affected by personal hygiene and daily activity. Athlete's foot is most common in men from the teens to the middle age and in people with compromised immune systems.
There are four common forms of athlete's foot. Common symptoms include persistent itching of the skin on the sole of the foot or between the toes (often the fourth and fifth toes). As the infection progresses, the skin grows soft and the center of the infection becomes inflamed and sensitive to the touch. Gradually, the edges of the infected area become milky white and the skin begins to peel. A slight watery discharge also may be present.
Diagnosis is made by visual observation of the symptoms. Microscopic examination of skin scrapings is used to determine the type of fungus causing the infection and to rule out bacterial infection. Other tests include growing a fungal culture from skin scrapings and examining the patient's foot under an ultraviolet light.
Tinea infections may disappear spontaneously or than can persist for years. They are difficult to treat and often recur. There are some natural remedy for fungus treatment . Best results usually are obtained with early treatment before the fungal infection establishes itself firmly. Antifungal drugs may be used to fight the infection. If the infection is bacterial, oral antibiotics may be prescribed.
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