In this harmless state (athlete’s foot), fungus (tinea) develops in the skin between the toes – especially the fourth and fifth fingers. The skin becomes red, swollen and itchy. Because of sweat or water, the upper layer of skin becomes white and moist. The fungus can also affect other parts of the foot and nails; in this case, the nails are thicker and warmer. In some people, this disorder is not easy to eradicate.
The same kind of fungi can infect the skin on the groin and around the anus; tinea also acts on the scalp where it causes the lichen.
Athlete’s foot is a very common disorder, although only one in every 400 people per year find it so uncomfortable for him (or her) to go to the doctor. Men are more often affected than women.
What to do
If you have these symptoms, try advices mentioned in the self-help section. If they do not help, contact your doctor.
Self-help: apply cream, spray or powder against fungi (which can be obtained without a prescription); if the skin is moist, use antifungal powder. Some doctors believe that the maintenance of the feet in a dry state – for example, by wearing socks that absorb moisture and are made of natural and non-artificial fibers, and sandals or shoes with a porous sole and the upper part – we can solve the athlete’s foot, but not all recognize the value of these measures.
Professional help: your doctor will probably prescribe the anti-fungi preparation that is more effective than what you did. If the drug does not lead to improvement, taking anti-fungal tablets for 4-6 weeks usually helps.